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What is a lumbago?

A acute, another name for lumbago refers localized pain in the lower back is what is commonly called the “back strain” caused by an unfortunate gesture. This condition is muscular and has nothing to do with the kidneys. There are two types of low back pain: chronic low back pain (long and difficult to treat) and acute low back pain (also known as lumbago) . Lumbagos are usually mild, but often painful. In most cases, resting and medication are sufficient to treat it.

What are the causes of lumbago?

Lumbago is most often caused by damage to the intervertebral discs, dampers located between the vertebrae and aging with age. This damage to the disc causes irritation or a slight compression of a nerve. This phenomenon, already painful by itself, triggers in reaction a strong muscle contraction to block the lumbar region, and a lumbago appears.


The  lumbago  may notably occur following:

  • to a false movement, sometimes innocuous;
  • a sudden effort;
  • when carrying a  heavy load . It is in this last case that the lumbago most frequently occurs;
  • often when a gesture is not made in a good posture.

What are the risk factors for lumbago?

People who have one or more of the   following risk factors are more likely to be affected by  lumbago  :

  • Poor postural hygiene, that is to say, the lack of knowledge of the gestures protecting the back,
  • Excess weight
  • Physical inactivity,
  • Demanding physical work (heavy loads, exposure to vibrations),
  • A pregnancy that causes a greater back arch,
  • Inadequate abdominal or back muscles
  • Age,
  • The stress,
  • Shift or repetitive work,
  • Sports or professional activities that increase the risk of false movements,
  • A history of back trauma, scoliosis, deformities of the spine.

All these risk factors favor the transition to chronicity of lumbago.

How to recognize a lumbago?

The  back pain  is manifested by a  sudden and severe pain in the lower back , the lumbar, occurred during an effort, yet sometimes minimal. Sometimes the pain goes up the buttocks and extends to one thigh (or both). The pain is similar to that felt in case of sciatica. Moreover, if this pain goes beyond the knee, it is called sciatic pain or lombosciatic pain.

What to do in case of lumbago?

The  severity of a lumbago  is not proportional to the pain. If it is true that the pain is intense and appears suddenly, it disappears spontaneously in 90% of cases in 6 to 8 weeks, knowing that a part, almost half, disappears in 48 hours; 10% become chronic low back pain.

The basic treatment is based on:

–  Moderation of movements , guided by pain. Rest is recommended, but not bed rest, because it causes a muscle loss, slowing factor of healing and recurrence. It is therefore best to move as far as possible by avoiding gestures that may wake up pain. That said, the first 24 to 48 hours it is possible to stay in bed if the pain is very intense. This bed rest should not last longer.

– The administration of paracetamol or acetaminophen . The latter is used for its analgesic properties: it helps to reduce pain. The recommended dose of paracetamol varies between 500 mg and 1 g depending on the intensity of the pain, at a frequency of 3 or 4 times a day. It is best to respect a minimum interval of 4 hours between each shot.

– The  anti-inflammatory drugs and aspirin  may be used, but they are not much more effective than paracetemol (acetaminophen) and present significantly more side effects.

– Osteopathy  is a help to reduce the duration of the crisis. It is recommended to consult a well-trained osteopath in a school of osteopathy, preferably physiotherapist or doctor. ANSES (National Health Safety Agency) recognizes the short-term interest of osteopathy in acute low back pain.

If the sudden pain in the lower back is accompanied by sudden incontinence or on the contrary, an inability to urinate, insensibility or anesthesia in the legs, fever, burning while urinating, chills, you must immediately call a doctor urgently and stay in bed.


How to prevent a lumbago?

The best way to prevent a lumbago is to reduce the risk factors: keep your back as much as possible, bend your knees before carrying a heavy load … The practice of a sports activity is recommended to strengthen the lumbar and abdominal area. Simple means introduced into everyday life can reduce the frequency of recurrences.

The physical therapy should be considered. It can be used to strengthen the affected area, to stretch to gain flexibility, and more importantly, to learn to move non-aggressively for the back, to motivate yourself to practice regular exercises in daily life to prevent recurrence.

The gentle exercises in the pool are a good way to help prevent the recurrence of a lumbago.

Complementary approaches to lumbago

There are several complementary solutions to relieve lumbago or to make them disappear completely.


The heat helps to relax the muscles. It will thus have the same action as a muscle relaxant and promote muscle relaxation so as to release the lumbar region.

You can use a hot water bottle, a hot towel or you can dive into a hot bath.

Osteopathy and chiropractic

Among the most effective methods of treating lumbago, there is osteopathy and similar approaches such as chiropractic . Indeed, the osteopaths will be able to intervene in case of acute pain to relieve it: the more the care is fast, the risk of recidivism is high.


The acupuncture could also be effective against lumbago. Nevertheless, the ANSES (National Health Security Agency) claims that no studies have been found attesting to the effectiveness of acupuncture in acute low back pain.


Official recommendations note that no studies have been identified in the literature concerning homeopathy in the treatment of acute low back pain. Nevertheless, homeopathy presents no risk, it has no contraindications.

As part of a lumbago, here are some examples of treatment:

– Every three hours in 15 CH granules of Arnica montana , Ruta Graveolens and Rhus Toxicodendron. The doses will be spaced as the symptoms improve.

– If lumbago is accompanied by sciatica, taking Kalium bichromicum (for left sciatica) or Gnaphallium (for right sciatica) may be suitable for two granules in 9 CH five times a day.

– Finally, for chronic pain, Calcarea Fluorica in 9 CH, at the rate of three granules five times a day for two days then two granules three times a day for ten days.

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