Online Encyclopedia

LUMBAGO

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 121 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LUMBAGO, a term in medicine applied to a painful ailment affecting the muscles of the lower part of the back, generally regarded as of rheumatic origin. An attack of lumbago may occur alone, or be associated with rheumatism in other parts of the body. It usually comes on by a seizure, often sudden, of pain in one or both sides of the small of the back, of a severe cutting or stabbing character, greatly aggravated on movement of the body, especially in attempting to rise from the recumbent posture and also in the acts of drawing a deep breath, coughing or sneezing. So intense is the suffering that it is apt to suggest the existence of inflammation in some of the neighbouring internal organs, such as the kidneys, bowels, &c., but the absence of the symptoms specially characteristic of these latter complaints, or of any great constitutional disturbance beyond the pain, renders the diagnosis a matter of no great difficulty. Lumbago seems to be brought on by exposure to cold and damp, and by the other exciting causes of rheumatism. Sometimes it follows a strain of the muscles of the loins. The attack is in general of short duration, but occasionally it continues for a long time, as a feeling of soreness and stiffness on movement. The treatment includes that for rheumatic affections in general (see RHEUMATISM) and the application of local remedies to allay the pain.
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