For most patients, treatment is about helping them manage the pain until it passes. Doctors have over the years prescribed bed rest, pills and, in extreme cases, surgery. Altogether these treatments exact a high cost. The U.S. spends more on lower back and neck pain than almost any other health condition, excepting diabetes and heart disease—topping $87 billion in 2013, according to an analysis of national health records conducted last year.
I won the Autumn Giveaway of a great seat cushion for people with lower back problems. I was, at first, slightly skeptical of what a seat cushion could do for someone with a bad back if you’re in a secretary chair all day tapping away at a keyboard. Happily, I was wrong and it actually helps more than I ever imagined. It keeps my lower back and hips square and, being gel filled and not just soft and squishy, it is comfortable for long-term sitting. It makes sure your posture is right and so it gets rid of most of the pressure on your lumbar region.
There is moderate quality evidence that suggests the combination of education and exercise may reduce an individual’s risk of developing an episode of low back pain. Lesser quality evidence points to exercise alone as a possible deterrent to the risk of the onset of this condition.
Three-factor repeated measures ANOVAs (with group, condition and epoch) were used to identify any significant main effects or their interactions on the lumbar and thoracolumbar angles. Similarly, a three-factor repeated measures ANOVA was used to identify any significant main effects or their interactions on the Least Squares Radius (LSR). There were two levels of group (healthy and LBP), three levels of condition (standing, lumbar support and standard chair), and three time intervals (epochs 1, 2 and 3).
^ a b American College of Physicians, Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question, Choosing Wisely: an initiative of the ABIM Foundation, American College of Physicians, archived from the original on 1 September 2013, retrieved 5 September 2013
Fusion – two vertebrae are joined together, with a bone graft inserted between them. The vertebrae are splinted together with metal plates, screws or cages. There is a significantly greater risk for arthritis to subsequently develop in the adjoining vertebrae.
Researchers have been questioning the costs for a long time, however, and increasingly, the medical community is considering a much simpler solution. Mounting evidence suggests that exercise is among the best remedies because it is able to reduce pain, improve mobility and prevent future discomfort. “[Back pain is] not the only thing that’s been overmedicalized,” says back pain specialist Daniel C. Cherkin of the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute.* “But it’s probably the poster child for how things can go wrong in terms of patient outcomes and cost to society.”
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 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.
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Congenital insensitivity to pain HSAN Type I II congenital sensory neuropathy III familial dysautonomia IV congenital insensitivity to pain with anhidrosis V congenital insensitivity to pain with partial anhidrosis Neuralgia Pain asymbolia Pain disorder Paroxysmal extreme pain disorder Allodynia Chronic pain Hyperalgesia Hypoalgesia Hyperpathia Phantom pain Referred pain
Getting a massage is another simple strategy I recommend to help ease not only your back pain (and other types of pain), but anxiety as well. Massage offers real health benefits that are being recognized even by conventional hospitals, making it a standard therapy for surgery patients. Massage releases endorphins that help induce relaxation, relieve pain, and reduce levels of stress chemicals, such as cortisol and noradrenaline. It also reverses the damaging effects of stress by slowing your heart rate, respiration, and metabolism and lowering raised blood pressure.
A risk factor is something which increases the likelihood of developing a condition or disease. For example, obesity significantly raises the risk of developing diabetes type 2. Therefore, obesity is a risk factor for diabetes type 2.
HAMSTRINGS: A 2012 study in the Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology concluded there is no evidence to recommend passive hamstring stretching as a means of reducing LBP during prolonged standing.
Unlike foam, the buckwheat hulls will not lose their shape or degrade over time. Because the hulls don’t compress, the pillow will provide you with stable support. Another great thing about this pillow is its ability to circulate air and keep you cool and dry during use.
All in all, this makes Sweet Relief’s offering very versatile and user friendly. However, the mesh support does mean you have to carry around an additional attachment making it slightly less portable. Some customer reviews also complain about poor support although the majority (91%) give it 4 stars or more for an excellent rating of 4.6. Add in the lifetime warranty offered by the manufacturer for the foam cushion and you have a definite contender for the best lumbar support in the market.
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.
^ Shmagel, Anna; Krebs, Erin; Ensrud, Kristine; Foley, Robert (2016-09-01). Illicit Substance Use in US Adults With Chronic Low Back Pain. SPINE. 41 (17): 1372–1377. doi:10.1097/brs.0000000000001702. ISSN 0362-2436.
Vergara M, Page A, Sancho JL. Analysis of lumbar flexion in sitting posture: location of lumbar vertebrae with relation to easily identifiable skin marks. Int J Ind Ergonom. 2006;36:937–942. doi: 10.1016/j.ergon.2006.07.006. [Cross Ref]
Surgery may be useful in those with a herniated disc that is causing significant pain radiating into the leg, significant leg weakness, bladder problems, or loss of bowel control. It may also be useful in those with spinal stenosis. In the absence of these issues, there is no clear evidence of a benefit from surgery.
^ Sprouse R (September 2012). Treatment: current treatment recommendations for acute and chronic undifferentiated low back pain. Prim. Care. 39 (3): 481–6. doi:10.1016/j.pop.2012.06.004. PMID 22958557.
A complete medical history and physical exam can usually identify any serious conditions that may be causing the pain. During the exam, a health care provider will ask about the onset, site, and severity of the pain; duration of symptoms and any limitations in movement; and history of previous episodes or any health conditions that might be related to the pain. Along with a thorough back examination, neurologic tests are conducted to determine the cause of pain and appropriate treatment. The cause of chronic lower back pain is often difficult to determine even after a thorough examination.
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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.
About 80% of Americans are expected to suffer from at least one episode of lower back pain in their lifetime, and millions with chronic pain are already lost in the industry, subjected to pseudo-interventions, or taking unnecessary and addictive opioids like Vicodin or Oxycontin, then doubling down on the drugs as their tolerance and the pain escalates. (In some cases, the increased pain is actually caused by the opioids.)
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Anterolateral system Pain management Anesthesia Cordotomy Pain scale Pain threshold Pain tolerance Posteromarginal nucleus Substance P Suffering OPQRST Philosophy of pain Cancer pain Drug-seeking behavior