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What does Lumbago mean?

You may use the term lumbago or you may have never heard of it – so what exactly is it?

Lumbago is a general word for lower back pain. The lower back is referred to as the lumbar spine, hence the term lumbago. It is estimated that 80% of Americans will experience lower back pain in their lifetime.

Many physicians and health care professionals consider lumbago to be an outdated term, and it not used very much anymore. Current medical journals are not using “lumbago” but it is still used colloquially.

Why don’t we use “lumbago” anymore?

It is an older word, and has been phased out because medical practitioners find it too vague and ambiguous. Physicians today try to use more specific terminology – lower back pain is still an umbrella term, but the root cause needs to be determined.

Causes of lower back pain

More specific words for the various conditions that cause lower back pain are preferred. Some potential causes of lower back pain include:

  • muscle strain
  • Nonspecific – Pain that is confined to the back only, and whose cause is not yet determined.
  • Sciatica – Pain from the sciatic nerve, the symptoms include lower back pain, shooting pain or burning sensation in leg, and numbness or weakness in leg.
  • Spinal Stenosis – A condition in which the spinal canal narrows and becomes compressed, putting pressure on nerves and the spinal cord. It usually occurs in people over age 50, and can cause pain in the neck, legs, and arms as well.
  • Osteoarthritis – This type of arthritis happens over time due to wear and tear on the joints. Rheumatoid arthritis can also contribute to lower back pain.
  • Herniated disc – When the jelly-like center of a disc in the spinal column slips out. This could be because of trauma, injury, or aging and general wear and tear. It is also called a slipped disc or bulging disc.
  • Facet Joint pain – Arthritis can occur in the lumbar facet joints, causing lower back pain.
  • Acute back pain – You may know this better as “throwing out your back.” This is sharp pain but it usually clears up on its own.
  • Other conditions such as kidney disease, appendicitis, or bladder infection

General lower back pain can also occur because of pressure on the lower back from sitting too long or leading a sedentary lifestyle. Your spine is a column, and when you sit for too long, there is pressure on the lumbar (lower) portion of your spine.

The best way to prevent lower back pain is to live a healthy lifestyle. Of course some back pain is due to aging or wear and tear, but leading an active lifestyle while maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking can help immensely.

If you are experiencing back pain, contact us or call 253-841-8939.

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