What is lumbago?

Lumbago is a term used to describe generalized low back pain. The exact cause of lumbago or back pain is often unknown. Many individual experience back pain at some point in their lives and usually have varying causes.

Note: the material posted on this page on lumbago and back pain is for educational purposes only. To learn to recognize and manage these emergencies along with other muscular emergencies register for a first aid and CPR course today.

Overview on lumbago

It is important to note that lumbago is a term utilized to describe low back pain. The exact cause of this condition is often unknown. It is important to note that the back pain can abruptly occur after lifting objects or in a gradual manner through overuse such as repeated movements while decorating, gardening or even without any obvious reason at all. In some cases, it can occur after sustaining injuries during certain sports.

Lumbago-low back pain

There is pain in the lower area of the back that does not radiate down the legs.


  • There is pain in the lower area of the back that does not radiate down the legs.
  • Stiffness in the back particularly in the morning.
  • Pain can be constant and described as achy or can be piercing when engaging in certain movements or positions.

If the individual experiences any of these symptoms, it simply indicates lumbago.

What are the causes?

Lumbago or low back pain can be instigated by various factors that tend to vary significantly from one individual to another, depending on how the pain started.

Abrupt onset

  • Facet joint pain
  • Lumber disc herniation
  • Spondylolysis
  • Muscle strains

Steady onset

  • Sacroiliac joint pain
  • Postural issues such as scoliosis and lordosis
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Spinal canal stenosis
  • Muscular trigger points or myofascial pain that occurs in the buttocks or paravertebral muscles
  • Poor workstation setup or incorrect driving position

Treatment for lumbago

The individual should rest preferably in bed if the pain is severe. Take note that the psoas position is often the most comfortable position. This involves lying on the back with the knees bent upwards.

As for cases that involves gradual onset, it is recommended to apply warmth such as applying a hot water bottle or instruct the individual to take a warm bath. In cases that involve abrupt onset where there is tissue damage, cold therapy is usually recommended for the initial 2-3 days. A doctor or sports injury professional should be consulted so that an accurate diagnosis of the issue can be made.

When a doctor is consulted

The doctor will determine the possible cause and provide advice regarding the posture as well as exercises to engage in. In some cases, ultrasound or TENS will be used. Even sports massage techniques will be performed to manage lumbago.

A full rehabilitation and strengthening program will be started. Anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxants and pain medications can be prescribed by the doctor. In addition, traction or joint manipulation techniques will be carried out.

Remember that lumbago often vanishes only to return again later. Once this occurs, the individual should consider a full rehabilitation program and back education program.