Lumbago is a seldom used term to mean mild to severe low back pain. The pain can be acute or chronic and affects young and old people. Years ago doctors associated lumbago with rheumatism seemingly brought on by exposure to cold damp surroundings. Poor posture, sudden movement, coughing and sneezing were also thought to inspire episodes of lumbago. Not to discredit the reputations of yesterday's doctors, but medicine has since greatly advanced and the term lumbago has been replaced with accurate diagnostic terms.
There are many things that cause low back pain or lumbago. Listed below are some of the more common conditions, or diagnostic terms:
• Herniated Disc (sometimes called a slipped disc)
• Osteoarthritis or Spondylosis (spinal arthritis)
• Osteoporosis (brittle bone disease, spinal fracture)
• Rheumatoid Arthritis (progressive, sometimes destructive arthritis)
• Scoliosis (abnormal curvature of the spine to the left or right)
• Spinal Stenosis (compression of the spinal nerves)
• Spinal Tumor (benign or malignant/cancer)
Listed below are common symptoms of lumbago. Keep in mind that the primary symptom is low back pain.
• Low back pain may radiate into the buttocks, back of the thigh, into the groin.
• Back pain (lumbago) may be aggravated during movement. Pain from bending forward, backward or side-to-side may limit activity.
• Spinal muscle spasms cause the back to feel stiff and sore.
• Back pain and muscle spasm can be so acute that posture is affected. The patient may appear to be listing to one side.
• Lumbago may cause tingling sensations to be felt in the low back, buttocks, and legs.
Rarely does lumbago cause serious symptoms that require immediate medical care. However, the following warning signs are good to know: loss of bladder or bowel control, leg numbness, or loss of leg strength.
See Your Doctor
Your doctor can help you find solutions to control low back pain and prevent future episodes of lumbago. Treatments include chiropractic care, medications, physical therapy, and multidisciplinary therapies including spinal injections and alternative medicine (acupuncture).