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Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 19320
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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I am a 54 woman experiencing lower back pain. This is most

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I am a 54 woman experiencing lower back pain. This is most severe first thing in the morning when I wake up and it is very uncomfortable to (say) lie in bed reading or dozing. It seems to go away eventually once I am walking around and I can still exercise/go to the gym without any problems. Occasionally I feel it when I am sitting so I think it is bought on by inactivity. I can't think of what may have caused it - I am quite fit, do regular exercise and have practised the Alexander Technique for many years so my posture, as far as I'm aware, is good. I tend to sleep on my back mostly or sometimes to the side but haven't been doing anything differently. The only thing that I have done out of my normal routine is three days of intensive painting (of windows) where I was bending over for long periods however this was several weeks ago now and I didn't notice any pain at the time or even for about a week afterwards. I have also had some bowel problems (albeit I tend to have this anyway without the back problems). Do you know what may be causing this pain or how I can prevent it? Is it better to leave off going to the gym for a few days to rest my back? Thanks.
Hello from JustAnswer.

The most common cause of pain such as you describe is arthritis in the back, and the most common form of arthritis in the back is the wear and tear type of arthritis, which is called osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis. Many people notice that arthritis symptoms are worse when first awakening in the morning and notice that activity or warmth (such as a hot bath or shower) seems to ease symptoms.

It is also true that degenerative changes in the spine (arthritis or disc disease) is far and away the most common cause of back pain.

In addition to the activity and warmth, it also would be reasonable to use an over the counter anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen or naproxen. As for the gym, it is reasonable to avoid activities that place particular strain on the back, such as heavy lifting (free weights or machines), but it may help to perform exercises that stretch the back, and after the acute exacerbation, exercises that strengthen the back may also be helpful.

If I can provide any further information, please let me know.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I would have thought that the 'wear and tear' type of arthritis would gradually start - is it normal that I would suddenly experience this type of back pain?

Yes, it is common for degenerative problems that obviously have been developing over years to suddenly cause significant symptoms.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Does this mean that it will gradually worsen or will it (or could it) go away after time?

It can follow many patterns. It may cause symptoms that gradually worsen, but it also may cause symptoms that come and go. The use of an anti-inflammatory medicine during flare-ups may be all that is needed to get the symptoms to ease.

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