Almost all adults (60-90%) suffer from low back pain (LBP) once in a while. When the pain persists for less than a month we speak of acute low back pain. When it persists for 1 to 3 months we speak of sub-chronic low back pain. When the pain persists for more than three months we speak of chronic low back pain.
In half of the population suffering from acute LBP, the pain fades away within a week and in 95% of the people, the pain disappears within 3 months. In principle, the prognosis of acute and sub-chronic LBP is encouraging, even though the pain occasionally returns in most patients.
There are various types of low back pain. Different terms are used for these, such as crick, lumbago and low back pain.
The vertebral column consists of 33 vertebras that protect the spinal cord and provide the torso with stability. The lower part of the vertebral column is called the lumbar vertebral column. This vertebral column is usually where low back pain originates. The reason that people often experience low back pain is partially related to our upright posture, which has biologically not yet matured fully. From an evolutionary point of view, we began walking upright too soon. Now our entire weight hangs from this vertebral column and most of the pressure presses on the lower part of the vertebral column.
Low back pain is generally divided into mechanical low back pain and low back pain caused by compression (thus, due to a hernia). Mechanical low back pain is often the result of straining the vertebral column. Arthritis of the vertebral column joints can also play a role in this. Often, the pain is caused by very subtle injuries to the joints between consecutive vertebras (facet joints), intervertebral discs, ligaments or vertebral column muscles. Pain caused by compression results from pressure on the nerves or from irritation of the nerves in another way. This is usually the result of ruptured or bulging intervertebral discs.
Signs and symptoms
- Pain can develop suddenly.
- Pain can also increase slowly and gradually.
- Back pain that sometimes radiates severely to the leg and sometimes even to the foot.
- Pain can become worse and worse and can even become chronic. We then speak of chronic LBP
In some people with low back pain we can point to a specific cause. This might be a hernia (bulging of the intervertebral discs towards a nerve root, resulting in compression of the nerve root) or a strong shift of the vertebras or severe arthritis.
However, in some patients with chronic LBP we cannot indicate a clear cause. We then speak of non-specific low back pain. Often, an X-ray, CT scan or MRI scan will indicate arthritis or symptoms of degeneration (degenerative disorders).
Pain that is only limited to the back is called lumbago. However, most cases include radiation of the pain through the buttocks to the leg and often even to both legs. In such cases we speak of lumbar radiculopathy, also known as sciatica. Sometimes there is radiation of the pain without back pain—we then speak of sciatica. Usually, a hernia is the underlying cause.
Treatment of this low back pain with PEA has been proven to be effective. PEA significantly decreases the pain without the side-effects that might occur with other analgesics. Various clinical trials have shown that treatment with PEA generally decreases the pain in two to three weeks.
PEA is a 100% natural remedy. In order to get the most out of PEA, it is recommended to use PEA for at least two months. If after one month, you have the feeling that PEA is not working optimally, you can double the dosage. The use of PEA over a period of two months is a realistic evaluation period. After these two months, you can determine the follow-up treatment. After all, some patients might respond more slowly because the effects of PEA occur through the natural mechanism of the body.
The two most common PEA products on the market are PeaPure, produced by JP Russel Science Ltd, which is a supplement that can be ordered worldwide and PEA tablets, produced by Epitech Group S.r.l., an Italian preparation available in pharmacies in Italy and Spain, among others places.
Below you will find several tips to decrease the likelihood of low back pain:
- Make sure you do not sit or stand in the same posture for a long time.
- Make sure you sleep on a suitable, not too soft mattress and make sure you wear proper footwear. For instance, do not walk too long on slippers.
- Make sure you sleep with a good pillow so that the neck vertebras are not bent during the night.
- Try to loose weight if you are overweight, which results in frequent back complaints. Overweight especially strains the lower vertebras and sustains low back pain.
- Strengthen your back muscles by power training, for example at a gym.
If you nevertheless suffer from low back pain, there are a few important tips, besides using the natural analgesic PEA:
- Exercise helps you rid of your complaints sooner. Lack of exercise means being out of form! You must continue to exercise despite the pain. Choose a relaxed form of exercise: walking, biking or swimming. When the pain decreases you can begin to exercise more. A physical therapist can guide and support you in this process.
- Bending over quickly or lifting heavy things is bad when you have low back pain. Do not carry heavy grocery bags and lift your child yourself as little as possible.
- Get out of bed in the following way: first roll onto your side, move your legs to the side of the bed and with your arms push yourself up sideways.
- Usually, bed rest is not necessary, but sometimes you have no choice, such as when you suffer from lumbago. Do not stay in bed for more than two days, otherwise your muscles will weaken. It might be helpful to lie on your back with pillows under your knees.