“People in pain are poor decision-makers,” says the investigative journalist Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, author of a new book, Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting on the Road to Recovery.
Exercises: In acute back pain, there is currently no evidence that specific back exercises are more effective in improving function and decreasing pain than other conservative therapy. In chronic pain, studies have shown a from the strengthening exercises. Physical therapy can be guided optimally be specialized therapists.
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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.
Do you have lower back pain? If not, you probably will, and sooner than you think. It’s one of the most common afflictions in the U.S., with roughly 85 percent of the population suffering from back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is also the second most common reason for seeing a doctor in the U.S., following coughs and other respiratory infections. These statistics are similar in other countries.
This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 11/01/2016
Lower back pain, also called lumbago, is not a disorder. It’s a symptom of several different types of medical problems. It usually results from a problem with one or more parts of the lower back, such as:
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Another common operation, decompression surgery, or a discectomy, has better evidence to support its outcomes, especially to resolve leg pain, Ramin acknowledges. But she says even this cheaper and less invasive procedure, which eases pain by removing bone or tissue that’s putting pressure on a spinal nerve, may not be necessary for many patients.
Chronic back pain. Usually defined as lower back pain that lasts over 3 months, this type of pain is usually severe, does not respond to initial treatments, and requires a thorough medical workup to determine the exact source of the pain.1
For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network (BRAIN) at:
It began like many other spring mornings on my leafy college campus. Birds were singing outside the dormitory windows, and the sun was shining. As I started to sit up, however, panic hit me: I couldn’t get out of bed. Any effort to prop myself up on my elbows or shift my feet and legs met with waves of pain that rolled up my body.
Herbal medicines, as a whole, are poorly supported by evidence. The herbal treatments Devil’s claw and white willow may reduce the number of individuals reporting high levels of pain; however, for those taking pain relievers, this difference is not significant. Capsicum, in the form of either a gel or a plaster cast, has been found to reduce pain and increase function.
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:
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Emerging technologies such as X-rays gave physicians new diagnostic tools, revealing the intervertebral disc as a source for back pain in some cases. In 1938, orthopedic surgeon Joseph S. Barr reported on cases of disc-related sciatica improved or cured with back surgery. As a result of this work, in the 1940s, the vertebral disc model of low back pain took over, dominating the literature through the 1980s, aiding further by the rise of new imaging technologies such as CT and MRI. The discussion subsided as research showed disc problems to be a relatively uncommon cause of the pain. Since then, physicians have come to realize that it is unlikely that a specific cause for low back pain can be identified in many cases and question the need to find one at all as most of the time symptoms resolve within 6 to 12 weeks regardless of treatment.
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After a thorough review, your doctor probably has come to one or two conclusions as to what is causing your back pain and other symptoms. To obtain more information about your back problem, and to help confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may order an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI. Sometimes lab tests are ordered too. Keep in mind that an accurate diagnosis is essential to a well-developed treatment plan.
Most people have experienced back pain sometime in their lives. The causes of back pain are numerous; some are self-inflicted due to a lifetime of bad habits. Other back pain causes include accidents, muscle strains, and sports injuries. Although the causes may be different, most often they share the same symptoms.
The lumbar support pillows on our list all include memory foam, which allows the pillow to conform to the natural curvature of your back and continue to provide the support you need. You’ll find a range of lumbar support pillows to make the time spent in your office chair much more comfortable.
Our final top 10 pick, the NeoTech Care brace, helps reduce lower back pain by reducing strain via the elastic side panels. Plus, the highly breathable brace material reduces moisture, decreasing your chance of seating. And, you can easily adjust the brace by using the Velcro fasteners.
Twenty eight male participants with and without a history of low back pain sat in a standard office chair and in a chair with the lumbar support pillow for 30 minutes. Lumbar and thoracolumbar postures were measured through electromagnetic markers. Comfort was determined based on the least squares radius of centre of pressure shifting, measured at the buttock-chair interface as well as reported discomfort through visual analog scales. Chair support effects were assessed through ANOVA methods. The study was approved by the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College research ethics board.
^ van Middelkoop M, Rubinstein SM, Verhagen AP, Ostelo RW, Koes BW, van Tulder MW (2010). Exercise therapy for chronic nonspecific low-back pain. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 24 (2): 193–204. doi:10.1016/j.berh.2010.01.002. PMID 20227641.
A lumbar cushion is designed as a support pillow to add support to the lower lumbar back area. It is created to reduce or relieve lower back pain when sitting for long times. It is contoured to fit the natural curve of your lower back when you are sitting. It is not soft and spongy as pillows for beds or sofa cushions. Bed ridden people benefit from support as well as others who need lumbar support.
Spinal laminectomy (also known as spinal decompression) is performed when spinal stenosis causes a narrowing of the spinal canal that causes pain, numbness, or weakness. During the procedure, the lamina or bony walls of the vertebrae, along with any bone spurs, are removed. The aim of the procedure is to open up the spinal column to remove pressure on the nerves.
If you have lower back pain, you are not alone. About 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work days. In a large survey, more than a quarter of adults reported experiencing low back pain during the past 3 months.