When we are at work, it is common to spend long periods time sitting in a chair. We tend to develop poor posture when we sit and we do a lot of it – at work, watching TV, sitting at a computer, sitting at a child’s sports game or recital, etc. Our bodies learn to hunch and slouch which creates poor posture.
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Most back pain is relieved within a few days to a couple of weeks with simple treatment. When back pain persists beyond 2 to 4 weeks — which is chronic, persistent back pain — further medical evaluation is required. This evaluation focuses on a careful assessment of the patient’s medical history and a thorough physical examination to identify, if possible, a precise cause of the pain. In rare cases, cancer or an infection is found. More commonly, the pain is related to the spinal joints, discs, or supporting muscles of the back.
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
On any given day, almost 2% of the entire US work force is disabled by back pain. In people under 40 years of age, back pain is the most common reason for the inability to perform daily tasks. It also is the direct cause of enormous healthcare expenses, with estimates as high as $60 billion annually.
This is a picture of my vegetable garden box 10 x 6-feet in size. The dirt is 2 feet above ground. When you stand on the ground with a shovel in the dirt 2 feet above you and try to dig or turn over the soil, you can compress your lower discs. I did it! So, off to the chiropractor I went. I was put on my front side to have the table decompress my lower lumbar area. It felt good, and I had things to do for myself at home now and I continue with my own therapy saving me money and time.
TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) – a popular therapy for patients with chronic (long-term) back pain. The TENS machine delivers small electric pulses into the body through electrodes that are place on the skin.
The thinking on how to treat lower back pain has shifted several times in the past few decades. For example, physicians long suspected bed rest would be the ideal way to recuperate. Then a series of studies in the 1980s and 1990s revealed that resting actually slowed recovery.
As to which form of exercise to try first, there are not enough head-to-head comparisons to pick a winner, nor is there consensus on whether a specific form of exercise is a bad choice, per se. The lower back is so central to the body that even adding a daily walk through the park can give the region a needed workout.
Whether sitting down or standing, put your thumbs at the base of your rib cage, positioning your pinkies at the pointy bones at the front of your waist. Think of the space between your fingers as a measuring stick.
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SPINAL STENOSIS: While this condition has historically been thought to be an inevitable cause of LBP, a 2006 study in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation found that a narrowed spinal canal does not (alone) cause back pain.
Cayenne cream – Also known as capsaicin cream, this is a spice made from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
Because many different conditions may cause back pain, a thorough medical history will be performed as part of the examination. Some of the questions you are asked may not seem pertinent to you but are very important to your doctor in determining the source of your pain.
If you’ve ever groaned, Oh, my aching back!, you are not alone. Back pain is one of the most common medical problems, affecting 8 out of 10 people at some point during their lives. Back pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain. Acute back pain comes on suddenly and usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Back pain is called chronic if it lasts for more than three months.
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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.
These “truths” are held as indisputable to the practitioners who promote them. They base their expertise on personal experience and anecdotal results. It’s human nature: If someone you know benefited from seeing a chiropractor, they will always (loudly) proclaim their chiropractor a genius. Same for your friends who got positive results from a doctor, physical therapist, acupuncturist, massage therapist, or personal trainer.
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The Xtreme Comforts Back and Lumbar Cushion is designed to prevent unhealthy sitting positions by providing the proper support to maintain the natural curve of the spine. The design helps increase blood flow, prevents muscle fatigue and back tightness, and allows you to sit comfortably without pain. At 13 inches wide, the cushion design includes unique four-point quick snap straps that allow the cushion to be secured to any chair. The cushion is made from 100 percent Deluxe Body Active Memory Foam that conforms to your individual shape while maintaining uniform density. The cushion cover is crafted from 100 percent bamboo, providing superior air circulation and breathability to keep your back cool. The cover is removable and can be washed in the machine with cold water.
Ramin wasn’t fully aware of spinal surgery’s poor rates of success when she decided to see a back surgeon for her own chronic back and leg pain nearly a decade ago. Then a freelance journalist, having just published a book on memory in middle age, she was frustrated and baffled by her own lack of progress, and her questions led her stumbling into a public health story that would take more than 600 interviews and eight years to write.
The lumbar spine, or low back, is a remarkably well-engineered structure of interconnecting bones, joints, nerves, ligaments, and muscles all working together to provide support, strength, and flexibility. However, this complex structure also leaves the low back susceptible to injury and pain.
The author is often asked for her thoughts on certain forms of exercise, such as yoga or pilates, which she also covers on her website. What she tells people, repeatedly, is that “movement is essential.”
Disc degeneration remains a key cause of chronic low back pain and the pain often persists despite surgery. NIH-funded basic science and preclinical studies are investigating molecular-level mechanisms that cause discs in the spine to degenerate, as well as protective mechanisms involved in disc remodeling that may diminish with advancing age. Such studies may help identify future therapeutic strategies to block degenerative mechanisms or promote remodeling processes. NIH also is funding early research on stem cell approaches to promote disc regeneration and rejuvenate cells of the nucleus pulposus, the jelly-like substance in the center of intervertebral discs that loses water content as people age.
Kidney stones are solid masses of crystalline material that form in the kidneys. Symptoms of kidney stones can include pain, nausea, vomiting, and even fever and chills. Kidney stones are diagnosed via CT scans and specialized X-rays. Treatment of kidney stones involves drinking lots of fluids and taking over-the-counter pain medications to medical intervention including prescription medications, lithotripsy, and sometimes even surgery.
Many health experts from various fields of medicine agree that emotional and psychological trauma has effects on a person’s risk of acquiring chronic pain. One example is Dr. John Sarno, a psychiatrist who uses mind-body techniques to treat patients with severe low back pain. He specializes in helping individuals who already had surgery for low back pain but did not get any relief.
^ a b Rubinstein SM, Terwee CB, Assendelft WJ, de Boer MR, van Tulder MW (12 September 2012). Spinal manipulative therapy for acute low-back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 9: CD008880. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD008880.pub2. PMID 22972127.
M-Pranesh A, Rakheja S, Demont R. Influence of support conditions on vertical whole-body vibration of the seated human body. Ind Health. 2010;48:682–697. doi: 10.2486/indhealth.MSWBVI-25. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
If the pain is still not managed adequately, short term use of opioids such as morphine may be useful. These medications carry a risk of addiction, may have negative interactions with other drugs, and have a greater risk of side effects, including dizziness, nausea, and constipation. The effect of long term use of opioids for lower back pain is unknown. Opioid treatment for chronic low back pain increases the risk for lifetime illicit drug use. Specialist groups advise against general long-term use of opioids for chronic low back pain. As of 2016, the CDC has released a guideline for prescribed opioid use in the management of chronic pain. It states that opioid use is not the preferred treatment when managing chronic pain due to the excessive risks involved. If prescribed, a person and their clinician should have a realistic plan to discontinue its use in the event that the risks outweigh the benefit.