Lumbago is a term for low back pain. Usually the cause of lumbago is strained or overloaded musculoskeletal tissues of the lower back. When a patient has low back pain because of overworked or overloaded soft tissues of the back, they are often called sprain and strain injuries. Sprain and strain injuries may resolve on their own, or a person's recovery may be facilitated by the use of anti-inflammatory medications, chiropractic adjustments, and massage therapy. Symptoms of lumbago (low back pain) include, sharp pain or a dull ache in the lower back, pain in the buttocks, leg pain, and nerve sensations radiating down the legs. These nerve sensations radiating from the back and into the feet may include weakness, burning, tingling, numbness, and loss of sensation. The nerve sensations affecting your feet and legs may be serious, and if you have them, you should get treated immediately. Lumbago symptoms will be grouped into one of two categories: sprain and strain and nerve root pressure symptoms.
The type, location, and severity of lumbago depend on what is causing it.
Back sprain or strain symptoms include:
- Muscle stiffness, muscle cramping, or muscle spasms
- Back pain that is mostly isolated in the buttocks and lower back. There may be a sudden onset of pain, or it may gradually develop over a longer period of time. The pain usually occurs in episodes, separated by periods where a person is asymptomatic. The pain is usually at its worst when the injury is re-aggravated, and the pain symptoms associated with the injury usually go away on their own within days. The good news is that these injuries heal on their own. The bad news is that sprain and strain injuries will usually reoccur throughout a person's lifetime.
Nerve-root-pressure symptoms include:
- Changes in nerve sensations. Degenerative chances, accident, or disease may cause something to impinge on the spinal chord itself and the nerve roots that send signals to our musculoskeletal tissues and skin of our buttocks and legs. These nerve sensations may strength or feelings in our legs
- Leg pain and mobility that travels the length of the legs - If you have leg pain that extends below the knee and into your feet, the problem is more likely nerve related than muscular. The most common nerve root injury is sciatica. Patients who experience sciatica have lumbago that begins in their buttocks, and travels down the back of the leg and as far as the feet and toes.
- Pain that affects one leg, or one side of the body. This nerve root symptom may have a gradual progression or a sudden onset. The pain may be burning or sharp, and the range of associated discomfort may range from mild to severe. Certain everyday behaviors such as getting out of bed or laughing may cause a sudden onset or increase pain.
- Pain that may be affected by exercise or posture. Depending on the cause of your lumbago (back pain), onset or severity of symptoms may be affected by your posture, choice of exercises or activities, and the way you bend or twist your body.