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Pain in the waist: causes and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Frequently, large numbers of people complain of pain in the waist, which can appear from problems in the lower back known as the lumbar region. This area comprises five lumbar vertebrae called L1, L2, L3, L4, and L5, which are responsible for supporting most of the upper body’s weight.

Some of the causes of waist pain can be serious to require medical treatment, while others can last for hours and go away independently.

Pain in the waist is a frequent reason for consultation with the doctor and is one of the main reasons a worker is absent from his workday. For more information, keep reading this article by FastlyHealon about the causes of pain in the waist and its treatment.

Muscle strain and sprains

Muscle strain causes tendon or muscle tears. Sprains occur due to overstretching or tearing of the ligaments. Both conditions can occur from lifting a heavy object the wrong way or doing an improper stretch.

Muscle strain and sprains can give rise to pain in the waist to reach the back.


The first thing you should do is go to the doctor. He will be the one to decide the therapy to follow after carrying out the corresponding medical evaluation. Initially, drug treatment will be based on:

  • Pain relievers and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: such as ibuprofen, relieve pain and inflammation.
  • Muscle relaxant: to relieve muscle contracture in the lumbar region.
  • Massages: with them, it is possible to increase blood flow in the area in question and relax the back muscles. The latter is done by stimulating the release of endorphins that act as a natural pain reliever in the body.
  • Chiropractic: through this manual stimulation, it is possible to loosen the tense muscles of the lumbar area, facilitating pain relief.

Wear of the vertebral discs

This is one of the most common causes of waist pain due to the loss of elasticity that occurs as we age. The vertebral discs provide height, allow flexion, and can be flexed effortlessly.

As the discs deteriorate, they lose this elasticity, which causes pain in the waist or lower back.


In this case, the doctor will decide whether conservative treatment is sufficient or if surgery is required.

In conservative treatment, it will be indicated:

  • Ice and heat application.
  • Physiotherapy.
  • Medications: pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, and steroids.
  • Epidural injections.

The surgical treatment is to perform some surgeries according to their symptoms. These procedures include:

  • Intervertebral disc replacement surgery: It is possible to replace the vertebral disc to eliminate pain.
  • Arthrodesis surgery of the lumbar vertebrae: through it, movement is stopped in the place where there is pain.


Osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis occurs due to cartilage wear after years of use. Injury to the vertebral discs due to a narrowing of the vertebral spaces causes an increase in pressure on the joints, causing inflammation in the area.

When this inflammation occurs between the spaces of the lumbar vertebrae, low back pain occurs.


Once osteoarthritis appears, the recommendations of the specialist doctor must be followed. Here are some of them:

  • Avoid being overweight.
  • Do not use repetitively the joints that are affected by osteoarthritis.
  • Maintain good posture when taking a position, especially during the workday.
  • Practice physical exercise.
  • Pharmacological treatment with analgesics, anti-inflammatories, as well as chondroprotective. The latter are drugs indicated to protect cartilage and reduce the pain of osteoarthritis.
  • Intra-articular steroid infiltration to reduce inflammation. To this extent, you can use glucocorticoids or cortisone.

If the above treatment is unsuccessful, the doctor will recommend a simple surgical resolution to correct the joint. Otherwise, it will indicate more advanced procedures, including prosthetic placement.

For more information, see the Lumbar article osteoarthritis: what it is, symptoms and treatment.


This alteration occurs due to compression of a nerve root of the spinal cord, which causes inflammation and injury in the area of ​​reduction and pain in the waist or lumbar region, a tingling sensation or numbness that can be reflected in other places where the nerve goes.

Radiculopathy can occur from spinal stenosis, a ruptured or herniated spinal disc compressing a nerve.


In this case, the doctor will indicate a treatment based on physiotherapy, analgesics, and anti-inflammatory drugs. If this indicator does not result and the pain persists, the doctor will suggest surgical resolution after evaluation.

Herniated vertebral discs

The rupture or herniation of the vertebral discs can occur due to compression of the same. These slip out of place, thus causing a herniated disc. If that were not enough, they could break, causing pain in the waist.


There are two types of treatment for herniated discs. The first is the conservative one, which is based on modifying physical activities to reduce pain, in addition to taking medications such as:

  • Analgesics.
  • Muscle relaxants.
  • Cortisone injections.
  • The application of physiotherapy to relieve pain.

If conservative treatment is unsuccessful, the orthopedic surgeon will indicate surgical resolution.


The nostalgia compresses the sciatic nerve, passing through the lower member on its back, reaching the gluteus. This generates a sharp burning pain that begins in the buttock and radiates throughout the leg.


Initially, the doctor will indicate pain relievers, physical therapy, and oral or epidural corticosteroids. If the condition worsens, the specialist will recommend surgical resolution.


The practice of a sport, a car accident, or a fall can cause injuries to the ligaments, tendons, and even the muscle and cause pain in the waist as a result of the trauma, which can cause nerve compression.


If your waist pain results from an accident, trauma, or the improper practice of a sport, you should go to a trauma doctor. He will be in charge of recommending drug treatment based on analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs or rehabilitation therapy, considering the symptoms you present.

Skeletal disorders

Conditions such as scoliosis or lordosis cause lower back or waist pain. The first condition is a curvature of the spine that causes pain during adulthood, while the second is a curvature that is abnormally accentuated in the lumbar region.


Non-surgical treatment is usually carried out based on exercises, a corset to correct posture, and analgesics to relieve pain.


The spondylolisthesis occurs by displacing a lumbar vertebra from its usual place, causing the pinched nerves to emerge from the vertebral holes. It causes discomfort in the lumbar region, such as paresthesia, in addition to pain in the waist.


The treatment of this alteration is very similar to that of the ailments described in the lumbar region that cause pain in the waist. The first recommendation that your doctor will give you will be the application of heat or ice to reduce pain in the abdomen and take analgesics, applying physical therapy, and steroid injections at the epidural level.

Fortunately, in the vast majority of cases, the application of this treatment is satisfactory for the resolution of this pathology. Due to this, there are very few occasions where a surgical explanation is resorted to.

Lumbar spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is characterized by narrowing the spine, creating pressure on the nerves and spinal cord, and causing pain at the waist and numbness walking. Over time, weakness may occur in both lower limbs, accompanied by sensory loss.


Treatment of spinal stenosis varies according to its location and the severity of the symptoms you present. The doctor will start treatment with:

  • Medications: pain relievers such as ibuprofen and naproxen in addition to tricyclic antidepressants. These are used to relieve chronic pain.
  • Anticonvulsants: pregabalin and gabapentin are indicated to reduce pain caused by nerve damage.
  • Physiotherapy.
  • Steroid injections.
  • Lumbar decompression: this procedure is used to increase the spinal canal space and, in this way, eliminate the impingement of the nerve root that is causing pain in the waist or specifically in the lumbar region.
  • Invasive treatment: this is the surgery that is performed when the previous treatments do not work.

Less common causes of waist pain

There are some less common causes of pain in the waist, such as:

  • Spinal infections.
  • Vertebral tumors
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm: This consists of the dilation of the main artery of the abdomen.
  • Urinary tract disorders such as kidney stones and infections.
  • The pelvic region’s pathology includes ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease, or ovarian cancer.
  • Herpes zoster, also known as shingles

Finally, each of these pathologies can cause pain in the lumbar area, specifically the waist. Once this symptom appears, you should go to the doctor to determine the cause of the pain and have an accurate diagnosis.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Pain in the waist: causes and treatment, we recommend that you enter our category of Bones, Joints, and Muscles.

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