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Lower Left Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes And Treatments

Lower Left Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes And Treatments

Back pain, regardless of the cause, is an incredibly common medical problem. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that 60-80% of adults will experience back pain at one point in their lives. And anyone who has gone through a “back attack” knows just how painful and debilitating this condition can be – it is no wonder that it is a leading cause of missed work days globally.

There are a number of underlying reasons for lower left back pain, which is actually more common than right lower back pain. It is important to understand what these causes are because it will affect the way the problem is treated.

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To further alleviate lower back pain, you can’t miss the following posts:

Lower Right Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes And Treatments

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5 Effective Yoga Exercises For Lower Back Pain

5 Stretches For Lower Back Pain Relief

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Symptoms Associated with Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain itself can vary from a dull, throbbing ache to pain that is sharper and more stabbing. Sometimes, the type of pain can alternate between the two. Also, depending on the cause of the problem, there can be other signs and symptoms that accompany back pain, including pain that can radiate to the hip or down the leg, nausea and/or vomiting, fever and changes in urination (such as pain while urinating or having to urinate more frequently than normal).

It is important to report these extra signs and symptoms to your doctor, because it can help to diagnose and then begin to treat the problem.

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Common of Causes of Lower Back Pain

Left lower back pain can happen for a number of reasons, but the most common causes are listed below:

  • Pregnancy. The weight of the growing baby and the increased levels of estrogen and relaxin which loosen back ligaments both can lead to lower back pain during gestation.
  • Lower back strain. This is one of the most common causes of back pain and is usually considered to be a stretch injury or due to overuse of muscles.
  • Herniated discs or other vertebral problems. The spine is made up of a series of vertebrae connected by the spinal cord. If the vertebrae are damaged, bulge out or if the cartilage between them wears down, this can put pressure on the nerves and cause a lot of pain.
  • Shingles. This infection, which can happen to anyone who has had chicken pox, gets into the nervous system and can often cause pain and raised, red wheals on the back and sides.
  • Kidney problems. Kidney infections or the formation of kidney stones can also cause severe lower back pain.

Let’s take a look at how these different problems can be treated.

Treatments for Lower Back Pain

Once the underlying cause of the left lower back pain is diagnosed, a plan of care can be developed that will help resolve the problem. Below are treatments for the common causes for lower back pain:

  • Pregnancy. Pregnant women who work on their posture, sleep on their side with a pillow between their knees, and do pelvic exercises and other stretches can find some relief.  Warm or cold applications can also alleviate the pain.
  • Lower back strain. Rest is the most important way to help with lower back strain, but over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and cold applications can also help.
  • Vertebral problems. A combination of physical therapy with pain medications and steroids can help improve the situation. However, sometimes surgery might be necessary.
  • Shingles. Antiviral medications like acyclovir as well as pain medications can help, but often this problem can come back, especially if someone has a weakened immune system from illness.
  • Kidney problems. Kidney infections will need to be treated with antibiotics and an increase in fluids, while medications to help pass kidney stones, pain medication and even surgery can alleviate the problem with kidney stones.

In short, back pain is statistically likely to happen to most adults in their lifetime – and the experience can be excruciating. However, understanding the underlying causes of this pain can help a doctor make a diagnosis so that treatments to resolve the problem can begin. Diagnosis is incredibly important, because as you can see from the article above, treatments will vary widely depending on the underlying cause.

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Brian Wu

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

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B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

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It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and black tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here:

11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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