Experiencing burning in the lower back is scary and can come from an assortment of different causes. Burning sensations are components of many lower back pain syndromes, with patients complaining of a variety of uncomfortable symptoms including the feeling or actual production of heat in the lumbar spinal region. Burning is not always indicative of particular causes of low back ache, but some diagnoses have shown themselves to be associated with burning far more than others.
This patient guide helps to clarify the reasons for burning in the lower back. We will examine the causes of these burning sensations, as well as the actual expressions themselves. If you have experienced the feeling of heat being present in the lumbar vertebral column, this article is geared specifically for you.
Patients who report burning in the lower back most often do so in combination with other expressions, such as tightness, pulling sensations, general lower back pain, tingling, numbness or weakness. Many patients also cite sciatica symptoms to be present in their legs. A minority of patients might report symptoms above the lumbar level as well, including burning, pain and tightness in the neck, upper back, middle back or in the upper appendages.
Burning sensations usually do not typically entail the production of actual heat, but in some select instances, the patient might actually be able to tangibly feel heat within the muscles of the lumbar paraspinal anatomy. Most burning sensations are felt deep within the anatomy and do not produce any noticeable heat at the skin level. Instead, these feelings are often experienced at or near the depth of the spine, although this does not necessarily mean that they are related to actual skeletal issues. Remember, the musculature of the back is multi-layered. Soft tissues exist very deep inside the anatomy and actually surround and support the spine. Therefore, patients with deep pain or burning feelings should never assume that their pain is due to any spinal pathology. Most cases of lumbar burning turn out to be muscular in nature.
Burning sensations can be associated with virtually the full gamut of lower back pain diagnoses. This is because burning can be a direct result of certain injuries or degenerative processes in the muscular and spinal anatomies, or it can be a collateral consequence of injury or degeneration. Burning back pain might also be linked to a disease process or a completely nonstructural causation, such as the common incidence of ischemic-related discomfort in the lumbar spinal region. Below we detail some of the more common diagnoses that might produce burning sensations directly or indirectly:
Muscular injury and repetitive strain are common causes of burning feelings, along with general soreness and limited use. Muscular causation of burning usually follows a known trauma and should resolve within several days to several weeks time. Sometimes, chronic burning is a result of postural or ergonomic causations.
Burning in the lower back is often associated with neurological compression syndromes, particularly when they first occur. Many patients with foraminal stenosis suffer tingling, burning and pain as initial symptoms. If true nerve compression is indeed occurring, then the symptomatic expression will typically progress away from pain and more towards numbness and weakness in the innervated areas of the body. Usually, this means the symptoms will spread to the legs, buttocks or groin when burning exists in the lower back early in the evolution of the compressive neuropathy syndrome.
Chemical radiculitis caused by leaking ruptured intervertebral discs is often cited as producing a burning sensation as the irritating nucleus proteins contact nearby nerve tissues. This variety of burning can endure for a very long time until the proteins are naturally neutralized and absorbed by the body, but this process can be speeded up considerably with the use of targeted flushing injections once a correct diagnosis has been rendered.
Ischemia is a common culprit for lower back pain, burning and various neurological manifestations. All the tissues in the body require oxygen to function properly and when deprived of this necessary commodity, they will suffer a diversity of agonizing symptoms. Oxygen deprivation-related symptoms are virtually always linked to the mindbody processes and can be successfully addressed using knowledge therapy, the most enlightened form of alternative medicine for back pain.
Some neuromuscular disease processes and general health issues, such as diabetes and certain sexually transmitted diseases, can create feelings of burning in the lower back. Diabetic neuropathy is a very typical source of symptoms and often defies diagnosis in people with borderline severities of the condition. Herpes virus is known to inhabit the lumbar spinal nerve roots when dormant and can cause burning and other symptoms, particularly in times when the virus wakes up and expresses itself outwards towards the skin level.
Burning sensations should always be reported to treating care providers to help them in their diagnostic evaluation efforts. Burning may or may not be relevant to the overall complaint, but should always be considered and factored into the complete clinical presentation of the lumbar pain circumstances. Diagnosticians are advised to consider all possible causes for burning in the lower back before beginning treatment for any particular condition, particularly those which are now considered normal and generally asymptomatic, like most mild to moderate degenerative changes in the spine.
There are no treatments that specifically target burning sensations, but proper intervention can relieve all the symptoms of many causative conditions. However, in order for treatment to be effectual, the diagnosis must be accurate and the therapy must target the actual origin of pain. This is unfortunately the reason why so many therapies fail to deliver satisfying results for patients. The diagnosis is not accurate and therefore the treatment, be it drugs, chiropractic, exercise or surgery, is not focused on the real and true source of suffering. Sadly, we see this happen more often in symptomatic complaints that involve an assortment of expressions, including burning.
We recommend that all patients who experience burning in the lumbar spine should carefully report the exact nature of their symptoms to their doctors. We also advise that patients get involved in their own care by researching the possible reasons for their pain, given their own case-specific onset and progression scenarios. Knowledge is one of the most effective forms of medicine in the general healthcare sector. Patients who arm themselves well with proper research are far less likely to become casualties of misdiagnosis and unnecessary, dangerous treatment interventions. Educating patients is and has always been our primary mission here at The Cure Back Pain Network. Please enjoy our thousands of expertly-written, completely free articles to help you to advance your relief efforts when seeking out a back pain cure.