• Low back pain or lumber pain is a common disorder involving the muscles and bones of
the back (musculoskeletal disorders).
• It affects about 40% of people at some point in their lives.
• Low back pain (often abbreviated as LBP) may be classified by duration as acute (pain
lasting less than 7 weeks), or chronic (more than 7 weeks).
• It is a worldwide problem
• 60 – 90% of adults experience back pain at some point in their life.
- incidence age 35- 55 y.o.
- 90% resolve in 6 weeks
- 7% become chronic
- M/ F equally affected
• 5th Leading reason for medical office visits
• 2nd to respiratory illness as reason for symptom-related MD visits
• #1 Cause and #1 Cost of work related disability
• The structures surrounding and supporting the vertebrae can be sources of low back pain
• The lumbar (or lower back) region is made up of five vertebrae (L1-L5), sometimes
including the sacrum.
• In between these vertebrae are fibrocartilaginous discs, which act as cushions, preventing
the vertebrae from rubbing together while at the same time protecting the spinal cord.
• Stability of the spine is provided by the ligaments and muscles of the back and abdomen.
Small joints called facet joints limit and direct the motion of the spine.
• The muscles run up and down along the back of the spine, and are important for
keeping the spine straight and stable during many common movements such as sitting,
walking and lifting.
• A problem with these muscles lead to the LBP. The problem with the muscles continues
even after the pain goes away, and is probably an important reason why the pain comes
• An intervertebral disc has a gelatinous core (pulposus) surrounded by a fibrous ring
CAUSES OF LOW BACK PAIN
There are many potential causes of LBP back pain. Physical, chemical and emotional
stressors all contributing factors, while some of the more common predisposing factors
Postural alterations (forward head carriage, rounded shoulders etc)
Lack of muscle tone
Emotional stress can trigger back pain
Traumas such as accidents, knocks and falls
Pregnancy increases the mechanical load on the back and pelvis, and woman are
especially prone to back pain later on in their pregnancy.
• Disc Herniation
Tears in the annulus
Herniation of nucleus pulposus
Most common manifestaion of chronic LBP
Poor lifting techniques especially whilst bending and
rotating the low back
With age and repeated efforts, the lower lumbar discs
lose their height and water content (“bone on bone”)
Abnormal motion between the bones leads to pain
• Fever – possible infection
• Vertebral tenderness - not specific and not reproducible between examiners
• Limited spinal mobility – not specific (may help in planning P.T.
• If sciatica or pseudoclaudication present – do straight leg raise
• Positive test reproduces the symptoms of sciatica – pain that radiates below the knee (not
just back or hamstring)
• Ipsilateral test sensitive – not specific: crossed leg is insensitive but highly specific
• L-5 / S-1 nerve roots involved in 95% lumbar disc herniations
SYMPTOMS OF LOW BACK PAIN
• There are many different types of symptoms associated with back pain. Back pain may be
localised in the low back or it can radiate into the buttocks, groin or legs.
• Patients often report pain to be:
• Shooting or Electrical
TYPES OF LBP
• Acute LBP
• Chronic LBP
This is associated with some types of activities that can cause undue stress on the tissue
of lower back. Include
o Prolong standing
o Weight lifting
o Pregnancy e.t.c
• There may be RADICULOPHATY also knwn as SCIATICA
DIAGNOSIS OF ACUTE LBP
STRAIGHT LEG RAISE TEST
The straight leg raise test is positive if pain in the
sciatic distribution is reproduced between 30 and
70 passive flexion of the straight leg.
Dorsiflexion of the foot exacerbates the pain
TRATMENTS FOR ACUTE LBP
• Muscle relaxants
• Spinal manipulation
• Delay referral until pain persists >3 weeks
• 50% will improve b/f this time period
• Avoid heavy lifting, trunk twisting, vibrations
• Alternative Tx: acupuncture and massage
• Surgery- ineffective unless:
• sciatica, pseudoclaudication, spondylolisthesis
• Chronic LBP is the pain of the lower part of the back that last for three(3) month without
• Degenerative dx of the disc
• Occurring after injury
• Systemic dx like
MANAGEMEENT OF CHRONIC LBP
• Conservative treatment which include;
• Muscle relaxant
• Physical therapy
• If conservative rx is not successful, the following surgical interventions may be needed;
• Spinal fusion with or without instrumentation
DIAGNOSIS OF CHRONIC LBP
Straight leg raised test
X-ray for Low Back Pain
Several conditions can affect the low back. The following conditions should be assessed using x-
o Altered spinal curvature
o Disc Disease
o Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease)
o Soft tissue calcifications
o Congenital anomalies
• Shows bone (e.g., fractures) very well
• Good in acute situations (trauma)
• Sagittal reconstruction is mandatory
• Soft tissues (discs, spinal cord) are poorly visualized
• CT-myelogram adds contrast in the CSF and shows the spinal cord and nerves contour better
Shows tumors and soft tissues (e.g.,
herniated discs) much better than CT
1. Vertebral body
2. Spinal cord
3. Conus medullaris
4. Intervertebral disc
5. Filum terminale
6. Subarachnoid space
THERAPY: CHRONIC LBP
• Intensive exercises help (hard to maintain)
• Anti-depressant therapy useful if depressed
• Long term opioids – not recommended
• Referral to pain center
• Massage therapy is promising
• Therapeutic goals – optimize daily function
NURSING MANAGEMENT OF PATIENT WITH LBP
• Maintain proper alignment
• Flat bed rest
• Assurance and explanation
• Watch for headache
• Health education
• Physical therapy
• Effective methods to prevent low back pain have not been well developed.
• Medium-firm mattresses are more beneficial for chronic pain than firm mattresses.
• Exercise is important for preventing back pain. Through exercise you can:
Improve your posture
Strengthen your back and improve flexibility
• It is also very important to learn to lift and bend properly.
LIFTING TECHNIQUE SUGGESTED TO AVOID LOW BACK PAIN
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