Lower-back pain comes in many types and is one of the more common complaints for elderly and sports enthusiasts. Sciatic is the area at the base of the spine, pain may radiate from the hips into the lower back, or you may experience muscle pain from lifting or straining. Lumbago is another common complaint for pregnant women, and women with jobs requiring repetitive bending and lifting, and sitting at a desk for long hours. Definition of lumbago The pain you feel in your back, at about the top to mid-hip area is called lumbago. Your lower back right above the hips to about mid-spine is called the lumbar region. The pain may be mild to extreme and in some cases cause immobility. Chronic lumbago is described as lasting more than three months and is consistent each day. You should seek medical help if your pain is chronic and interferes with your life. Milder cases may be easily treated at home without seeing a doctor. However, you should err on the side of caution and seek medical advice. Symptoms Lumbago symptoms vary from person to person and the cause of the pain. Back pain is never completely isolated to one area. Any or all of the following symptoms may occur: Areas of persistent pain include the hips, buttocks, thighs near the hips, groin, and lower back. The muscles across your lower back may cramp, spasm, or ache contributing to a stiff neck and upper back. Bending over to pick something up can cause a sharp pain across the lower back and into the hips. Sitting may cause mild to sever pain. You may find yourself adjusting the way you sit and walk to alleviate the pain surrounding your lower back and hips. Numbness or tingling may occur in the lower back muscles, buttocks, and upper thighs. Other symptoms may appear that are not listed here. Pain may be characterized as irritating, aches, stiffness with aches, or severe enough to limit movement. Causes There seems to be an unlimited number of causes for lumbago and general back pain. Sitting at a chair without lower back support, lifting objects from the floor without kneeling, bending over for long periods of time, and repetitive bending and straightening all lead to tension within the muscles causing pain and stiffness. Pregnant women in the later trimesters will experience some form of back pain due to the misalignment of the back to allow for the growth of the fetus. Arthritis, slipped discs, degeneration, falls, slipping and twisting, weakened back muscles, and sharp, quick motions may strain the muscles and contribute to lumbago. Lack of exercise is another cause for back problems. The muscles weaken and do not support the back properly. Posture while sitting and standing will also contribute to lower back pain. Treatment options The type of treatment you select will depend on the cause and severity of your lumbago. Seek medical attention for accidents. Your treatment options range from home remedies to medication and/or physical therapy. Over the counter, pain relief may be sufficient. Herbal and homeopathic remedies are available for the milder lower-back pain. Heat and cold are a common prescription to treat back pain. The lumbar muscles respond to cold packs and heating pads. Electric heating pads are available. A pad that can be heated or frozen may be a better economic choice. Many pads are filled with plant material such as rice or cherry pits and cotton fabric making them washable.