^ Hendrick P, Te Wake AM, Tikkisetty AS, Wulff L, Yap C, Milosavljevic S (October 2010). The effectiveness of walking as an intervention for low back pain: a systematic review. Eur Spine J. 19 (10): 1613–20. doi:10.1007/s00586-010-1412-z. PMC 2989236 . PMID 20414688.
Women may have acute low back pain from medical conditions affecting the female reproductive system, including endometriosis, ovarian cysts, ovarian cancer, or uterine fibroids. Nearly half of all pregnant women report pain in the lower back or sacral area during pregnancy, due to changes in their posture and center of causing muscle and ligament strain.
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Treatment for back pain depends on what kind of pain you have, and what is causing it. It may include hot or cold packs, exercise, medicines, injections, complementary treatments, and sometimes surgery.
The treatment of lumbar strain consists of resting the back (to avoid reinjury), medications to relieve pain and muscle spasm, local heat applications, massage, and eventual (after the acute episode resolves) reconditioning exercises to strengthen the low back and abdominal muscles. Initial treatment at home might include heat application, acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and avoiding reinjury and heavy lifting. Prescription medications that are sometimes used for acute low back pain include anti-inflammatory medications, such as sulindac (Clinoril), naproxen (Naprosyn), and ketorolac (Toradol) by injection or by mouth, muscle relaxants, such as carisoprodol (Soma), cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), methocarbamol (Robaxin), and metaxalone (Skelaxin), as well as analgesics, such as tramadol (Ultram).
Myofascial pain is characterized by pain and tenderness over localized areas (trigger points), loss of range of motion in the involved muscle groups, and pain radiating in a characteristic distribution but restricted to a peripheral nerve. Relief of pain is often reported when the involved muscle group is stretched.
Increasing general physical activity has been recommended, but no clear relationship to pain or disability has been found when used for the treatment of an acute episode of pain. For acute pain, low- to moderate-quality evidence supports walking. Treatment according to McKenzie method is somewhat effective for recurrent acute low back pain, but its benefit in the short term does not appear significant. There is tentative evidence to support the use of heat therapy for acute and sub-chronic low back pain but little evidence for the use of either heat or cold therapy in chronic pain. Weak evidence suggests that back belts might decrease the number of missed workdays, but there is nothing to suggest that they will help with the pain. Ultrasound and shock wave therapies do not appear effective and therefore are not recommended. Lumbar traction lacks effectiveness as an intervention for radicular low back pain.
Perhaps the most common device for lumbar support in use today is the computer or office chair. Chairs of this type often feature a back and seat that is structured to conform to the proper alignment of the lower back and relieve stress on the muscles located in the area. These chairs are extremely helpful for people who spend the majority of their work day at a desk or in a cubicle. People who perform most of their tasks on a computer can especially benefit from chairs that provide adequate back support.
Remember, though, that just because you exercise regularly doesn’t mean that you can justify your long hours spent sitting. In fact, even if you’re fairly physically active, you may still succumb to back pain and other health problems if you spend most of your day behind a desk or on the couch. This phenomenon is called the active couch potato effect. In order to avoid this, you must make it a habit to break the pattern of sitting as frequently as possible. Dr. Goodman says:
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.
Fortunately, you can take measures to prevent or relieve most back pain episodes. If prevention fails, simple home treatment and proper body mechanics often will heal your back within a few weeks and keep it functional for the long haul. Surgery is rarely needed to treat back pain.
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