Waist is the abdominal area that is located between the hips and the rib cage. We often hear people complaining about waist pain after a hard day's work. This mainly happens because of poor sitting posture. People sitting on chairs that provide inadequate support to the lower back area, are vulnerable to this form of backache. However, there are quite a few waist pain treatment options, that can provide relief to this part of abdomen.
Apart from inappropriate postures and overuse, there are other factors such as spinal stenosis (due to arthritis) and spondylosis that can contribute to waist pain. Other causes are given below:
Sciatica: The sciatic nerve travels from the hip area, moves along the back area of both the legs and then ends at the feet. The roots of this nerve are found in the lower spine. When these nerve roots are subjected to undue pressure, the resulting pain may travel all the way down to the legs. The compression of the nerve is mainly attributed to displacement of a part of the discs (tough elastic tissues that lie between the bones of the lower spine) from their original position. The displaced disc partially compresses the nerve roots that are lying over it. Sciatica pain is persistent and is felt anywhere between the hip area and the feet.
Pregnancy: Waist pain during pregnancy is common and occurs because of the growing uterus putting pressure on the sciatic nerve. In other words, the sciatic nerve has to face the brunt of the expanded uterus, which ultimately leads to lower back pain.
Muscle Spasms: The term 'muscle spasms' refers to involuntary contraction of certain muscle groups. When this phenomenon occurs in the lower back area, it can cause waist pain. This involuntary muscle movement usually continues for a few seconds, but sometimes can last up to several minutes.
Kidney Problems: Formation of kidney stones or renal diseases characterized by infection of the filtering units of the kidneys can also cause waist pain. As the kidneys lie in the lower back region, any issues with these vital organs is bound to cause mild to moderate waist pain. Some kidney stone patients complain about sharp pain in the lower abdomen that travels all the way down to the groin area.
Taking rest as much as possible and avoiding activities like lifting heavy weights, is the mainstay of the treatment. Depending upon the underlying cause, the doctor may opt for the following treatment options:
Medications: Involuntary contraction of muscles located near the waist area, can bring a lot of discomfort. To reduce symptoms and episodes of muscle spasms, the patient is advised to take muscle relaxants such as baclofen (lioresal) and diazepam (valium). Nerve damage resulting from herniated disc may be treated with nerve pain medications such as tramadol (Ryzolt) and duloxetine (Cymbalta).
Heat Therapy and Injections: Anti-inflammatory medications are commonly prescribed to treat sciatic nerve pain. Pain relievers and muscle relaxants, available over the counter, can contribute immensely to manage the pain effectively. Application of heat therapy or cold packs can also work to reduce sciatica pain. Sometimes, epidural steroid injections are administered to decrease the inflammation of nerve, that is subjected to excessive pressure due to slipped or herniated disc. Surgical intervention becomes necessary, when sciatica does not respond to other forms of treatment and the pain worsens with time. Surgery involves taking out the part of the disc that is putting pressure on the nerve.
Massage: Sometimes, a simple massage is all that is required to get relief from waist pain. A soothing massage is an easy home remedy that can work wonders to reduce discomfort in the lower back region. Applying smooth gentle strokes along the backbone increases blood flow, reduces spasmodic activity and relaxes the muscles to ease waist pain, which in turn helps to heal the injuries. With a regular massage, chronic waist pain may become more easy to manage.
Physical Therapy: As aforementioned, chronic back pain is often the result of herniated or slipped disc. Techniques that restore the displaced disc back to its original position, have to be practiced to get long-term relief. The compressed part of the nerve has to be decompressed to achieve long-lasting relief. Spinal decompression techniques, that include muscle balance therapy and mechanic pelvic traction, can work wonders to align the disc properly, thereby helping to stop waist pain permanently. They are explained below:
Mechanical Pelvic Traction
This is an equipment designed to promote stretching of the back. Also referred to as back stretcher, the equipment has considerably improved the quality of life for many patients. Patients who had a hard time completing their day-to-day routine due to back pain, didn't face any problem after undergoing mechanical pelvic traction therapy. In this form of treatment, one has to lie on the table of the equipment. With feet clamped to the table, the patient rests in an inverted position (upside down). This method not only stretches the vertebral muscles but also helps to increase the gap between the bones of the spine. This widened gap between vertebral bones pulls the herniated discs back to their normal position, in turn relieving the pressure on the nerve. This will contribute to reduce waist pain.
Many times, stiff muscles in the waist area are the primary reason behind this abdominal discomfort. To overcome decreased flexibility in muscles, many doctors recommend muscle therapy. Muscle therapy involves doing a set of exercises that stretch the back area. Best waist exercises like hip rolls, waist twists and anterior pelvic thrust, help to flex the muscles of the waist area. In the hip rolls, one is supposed to rotate the waist in clockwise and anti-clockwise direction. In pelvic thrust, one has to first lie on the mattress. Now start lifting the legs until they make an angle of 90 degrees with the back. Keeping the legs straight, lift the pelvis area and be in this position for few seconds. This exercise stretches the waist area and reduces the stiffness of the muscles.
Disc Decompression Traction: Use of disc traction belts have proved useful in repositioning the herniated disc back to its original place. This procedure can help to correct herniation in disc, thereby providing relief from chronic back pain. As aforementioned, reducing the pressure on the herniated disc is the key to restore its normal position. The disc traction belts that are designed for this purpose come with attached handles. After wearing this belt around your waist area, one has to simply pull those handles so that the belt moves in the downward direction. The downward force exerts an opposite force on the spine (stack of bones). This allows the spine to stretch, crucial to relieve pressure on the compressed herniated disc. With regular use of disc traction belts, the pressure over the bulging disc reduces considerably over time. Eventually the displaced disc moves back and relieves pressure on the pinched nerve. Moreover, the traction belt strengthens and improves the flexibility of back muscles. Besides using this belt, you may be advised to do certain exercises to decompress the spine. All this contributes in preventing back pain in the long run.
Spinal Cord Stimulation: Initial studies show that exposing the spinal cord to a series of electrical pulses may help to manage chronic waist pain. To create these electrical pulses, it is necessary to implant a small pulse generator into the back. The electrical pulses generated from the device mask the nerve signals that allow the brain to perceive pain. Commercial battery operated devices are also available that produce low-voltage electric current, which is transmitted through the painful site using electrodes. The current interferes with the nerve impulses coming from the affected area to nullify the pain.
Ultrasound Therapy: Allowing high frequency sound waves (not audible to human hear) to pass through the affected area may be instrumental in lowering your waist pain. These high-pitched sound waves improves blood circulation and alleviates muscle tension in the affected area. This work to ease pain and inflammation of the associated tissues. With portable ultrasonic devices available in the market, relieving waist pain has been so easy before.
Acupuncture: Recent research has shown that this ancient Chinese healing technique could be useful to improve waist pain. In fact, new study suggest it is a better alternative to medications. As we all know, in this technique, the practitioner inserts a series of needles at varying depths into specific points of your skin. This method of placing needles at strategic points is believed to correct the disturbed flow of energy. Acupuncture is thought to clear the blockages and allow the energy to flow freely. This may ease the pain and promote good health.
As far as diagnosing kidney problems is concerned, blood and urine tests followed by CT scan of lower abdominal region may help to evaluate kidney health. A point to note that waist exercises as a part of waist pain treatment program, have to be included only when the patient is comfortable enough to bear the stretches. The patient should consult a doctor before starting any exercise routine. The doctor will examine the condition of the patient and then decide whether his body is fit for physical therapy.