In the U.S., the peak age for back pain is between 25 and 45 — in fact, it’s the number one cause of disability for people under 45. Americans spent $33.4 billion in 2008 treating the condition, not counting the estimated $66.6 billion lost in wages and decreased productivity. Many people turn to back support belts as an option to prevent or alleviate their pain.
Lower back pain is often due to a muscle strain or muscle sprain, both of w…treatmentEpidural Steroid Injections: Risks and Side Effects conditionsNeck Cracking and Grinding: What Does It Mean? conditionsWhat is Piriformis Syndrome?
Imaging tests are not warranted in most cases. Under certain circumstances, however, imaging may be ordered to rule out specific causes of pain, including tumors and spinal stenosis. Imaging and other types of tests include:
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For persistent low back pain, the short-term outcome is also positive, with improvement in the first six weeks but very little improvement after that. At one year, those with chronic low back pain usually continue to have moderate pain and disability. People at higher risk of long-term disability include those with poor coping skills or with fear of activity (2.5 times more likely to have poor outcomes at one year), those with a poor ability to cope with pain, functional impairments, poor general health, or a significant psychiatric or psychological component to the pain (Waddell’s signs).
Mechanical pain. By far the most common cause of lower back pain, mechanical pain (axial pain) is pain primarily from the muscles, ligaments, joints (facet joints, sacroiliac joints), or bones in and around the spine. This type of pain tends to be localized to the lower back, buttocks, and sometimes the top of the legs. It is usually influenced by loading the spine and may feel different based on motion (forward/backward/twisting), activity, standing, sitting, or resting.
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Chiropractors and physical therapists recommend lumbar support pillows or cushions to relieve lower back pain when sitting long-term or driving for hours on end. It will help support you with your posture when you tend to slump over at the lower back area when sitting. Most ergonomically designed office chairs simply do not work to support the lumbar area of your back. Use it for your chair, in your recliner, sofa, wheelchair, and vehicles.
The vast majority of low back pain is mechanical in nature. In many cases, low back pain is associated with spondylosis, a term that refers to the general degeneration of the spine associated with normal wear and tear that occurs in the joints, discs, and bones of the spine as people get older. Some examples of mechanical causes of low back pain include:
Sciatica pain radiates from the lower back toward the feet. Sciatica may feel like a cramp in the leg, burning, tingling, pins and needles, or numbness. Learn about sciatica causes, exercises, treatment and pain relief.
Foundation Training focuses on your core – the part of your body connected to your pelvis, whether above or below it. These include your hamstrings, glutes, and adductor muscles. Foundation Training teaches all these muscles to work together through integrated chains of movement, which is how you’re structurally designed to move, as opposed to compartmentalized movements like crunches.
The Sweet Relief™ Lumbar cushion has 100% premium memory foam with an elastic adjustable strap at the back for attaching to your car seat and chairs. The strap extends from 20- to 36-inches and the cushion can be used with or without the strap. The back support of mesh is included with the cushion. The bonus mesh back support provides great support and air flows through it to keep you comfy and cool. Use the two together or separately.
When we stand, the lower back is functioning to support the weight of the upper body. When we bend, extend, or rotate at the waist, the lower back is involved in the movement. Therefore, injury to the structures important for weight bearing, such as the bony spine, muscles, tendons, and ligaments, often can be detected when the body is standing erect or used in various movements.
If back pain is severe, your doctor may try other medications that focus on different parts of the pain response, such as gabapentin or amitriptyline, a tricyclic antidepressant. The latter may work better for nerve-related pain.
^ Dubinsky, R. M.; Miyasaki, J. (2009). Assessment: Efficacy of transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation in the treatment of pain in neurologic disorders (an evidence-based review): Report of the Therapeutics and Technology Assessment Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology. 74 (2): 173–6. doi:10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181c918fc. PMID 20042705.
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Back pain can have many underlying reasons, but often no specific cause will be found and the pain will stop. This chapter will review many of the causes of back pain and proper evaluation and diagnosis. Please be sure to discuss your individual symptoms as well as the suggested treatments with your health-care professional to determine the appropriate diagnostic and treatment plan for your circumstances.
The neoprene belts found in pharmacies or sporting goods stores, the other hand, are more common. If you regularly do heavy lifting on the job, your employer may encourage you to wear one. While they may help prevent back pain, they won’t help you heal. If you have back issues already, talk to your doctor or physical therapist about the best model for your needs.
Traction involves the use of weights and pulleys to apply constant or intermittent force to gradually “pull” the skeletal structure into better alignment. Some people experience pain relief while in traction, but that relief is usually temporary. Once traction is released the back pain tends to return. There is no evidence that traction provides any longterm benefits for people with low back pain.
Degenerative bone and joint conditions: As we age, the water and protein content of the body’s cartilage changes. This change results in weaker, thinner, and more fragile cartilage. Because both the discs and the joints that stack the vertebrae (facet joints) are partly composed of cartilage, these areas are subject to wear and tear over time (degenerative changes). Degeneration of the disc is called spondylosis. Spondylosis can be noted on X-rays of the spine as a narrowing of the normal disc space between the vertebrae. It is the deterioration of the disc tissue that predisposes the disc to herniation and localized lumbar pain (lumbago) in older patients. Degenerative arthritis (osteoarthritis) of the facet joints is also a cause of localized lumbar pain that can be detected with plain X-ray testing. These causes of degenerative back pain are usually treated conservatively with intermittent heat, rest, rehabilitative exercises, and medications to relieve pain, muscle spasm, and inflammation.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has identified 11 red flags that doctors look for when evaluating a person with back pain. The focus of these red flags is to detect fractures (broken bones), infections, or tumors of the spine. Presence of any of the following red flags associated with low back pain should prompt a visit to your doctor as soon as possible for complete evaluation.
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The research regarding support belts isn’t conclusive. But you’ll likely experience the benefits when you wear one properly, according to your doctor’s instructions. Some issues that back support belts target include:
March 17, 2016 • Standing desks have been touted as the answer for health problems caused by sitting all day. But the evidence that the high desks improve health — or that they are even used much — is weak.
In the elderly, atherosclerosis can cause weakening of the wall of the large arterial blood vessel (aorta) in the abdomen. This weakening can lead to a bulging (aneurysm) of the aorta wall. While most aneurysms cause no symptoms, some cause a pulsating low back pain. Aneurysms of certain size, especially when enlarging over time, can require surgical repair with a grafting procedure to repair the abnormal portion of the artery.
Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis that causes chronic inflammation of the spine. The tendency to develop ankylosing spondylitis is genetically inherited. Treatment incorporates medications, physical therapy, and exercise.
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Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.