There are a number of ways to classify low pain with no consensus that any one method is best. There are three general types of low back pain by cause: mechanical back pain (including nonspecific musculoskeletal strains, herniated discs, compressed nerve roots, degenerative discs or joint disease, and broken vertebra), non-mechanical back pain (tumors, inflammatory conditions such as spondyloarthritis, and infections), and referred pain from internal organs (gallbladder disease, kidney stones, kidney infections, and aortic aneurysm, among others). Mechanical or musculoskeletal problems underlie most cases (around 90% or more), and of those, most (around 75%) do not have a specific cause identified, but are thought to be due to muscle strain or injury to ligaments. Rarely, complaints of low back pain result from systemic or psychological problems, such as fibromyalgia and somatoform disorders.
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^ a b c d e Lutz GK, Butzlaff M, Schultz-Venrath U (August 2003). Looking back on back pain: trial and error of diagnoses in the 20th century. Spine. 28 (16): 1899–905. doi:10.1097/01.BRS.0000083365.41261.CF. PMID 12923482.
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.
Some other brand standards include Icy Hot or Tiger Balm. The effectiveness and side effects of each brand can vary from user to user. You may experience skin irritation with certain brands. Be sure to patch test (apply a small amount and wait 24 hours to see if you experience any side effects) before doing a complete application.
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Back braces and belts provide adjustable lumbar support where the tension can be tightened to fit your needs. Some have adjustable elastic side pulls and side panels and some have thermoplastic inserts with hook, loop, or Velcro® closures. Read more about best back braces here.
Other problems may occur along with low back pain. Chronic low back pain is associated with sleep problems, including a greater amount of time needed to fall asleep, disturbances during sleep, a shorter duration of sleep, and less satisfaction with sleep. In addition, a majority of those with chronic low back pain show symptoms of depression or anxiety.
The use of lumbar supports in the form of wide elastic bands that can be tightened to provide support to the lower back and abdominal muscles to prevent low back pain remains controversial. Such supports are widely used despite a lack of evidence showing that they actually prevent pain. Multiple studies have determined that the use of lumbar supports provides no benefit in terms of the prevention and treatment of back pain. Although there have been anecdotal case reports of injury reduction among workers using lumbar support belts, many companies that have back belt programs also have training and ergonomic awareness programs. The reported injury reduction may be related to a combination of these or other factors. Furthermore, some caution is advised given that wearing supportive belts may actually lead to or aggravate back pain by causing back muscles to weaken from lack of use.
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Back pain can be divided into non-radicular pain and radiculopathy. Radiculopathy occurs when there is irritation in the nerve root, causing neurologic symptoms, such as numbness and tingling. Disk herniation and foraminal stenosis are the most common causes of radiculopathy. Non-radicular back pain is most commonly caused by injury to the spinal muscles or ligaments, degenerative spinal disease, or a herniated disk. Spondylosis, or spinal degeneration, occurs when the intervertebral disc undergoes degenerative changes, causing the disc to fail at cushioning the vertebrae. The space between the vertebrae becomes more narrow, resulting in compression and irritation of the nerves.
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Treatment for low back pain generally depends on whether the pain is acute or chronic. In general, surgery is recommended only if there is evidence of worsening nerve damage and when diagnostic tests indicate structural changes for which corrective surgical procedures have been developed.
Exercise therapy is effective in decreasing pain and improving function for those with chronic low back pain. It also appears to reduce recurrence rates for as long as six months after the completion of program and improves long-term function. There is no evidence that one particular type of exercise therapy is more effective than another. The Alexander technique appears useful for chronic back pain, and there is tentative evidence to support the use of yoga. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) has not been found to be effective in chronic low back pain. Evidence for the use of shoe insoles as a treatment is inconclusive. Peripheral nerve stimulation, a minimally-invasive procedure, may be useful in cases of chronic low back pain that do not respond to other measures, although the evidence supporting it is not conclusive, and it is not effective for pain that radiates into the leg.
Egoscue Exercises, a series of stretches and special exercises that help restore your muscular balance and skeletal alignment. I often spend at least one hour or more doing an Egoscue exercise called “The Tower.” It’s simple – you only need to lie on the floor and allow your pelvis and thoracic spine to relax. I found this exercise tremendously helpful for treating my chronic low back pain, which is now gone.
Low back pain (LBP) is a common disorder involving the muscles, nerves, and bones of the back. Pain can vary from a dull constant ache to a sudden sharp feeling. Low back pain may be classified by duration as acute (pain lasting less than 6 weeks), sub-chronic (6 to 12 weeks), or chronic (more than 12 weeks). The condition may be further classified by the underlying cause as either mechanical, non-mechanical, or referred pain. The symptoms of low back pain usually improve within a few weeks from the time they start, with 40-90% of people completely better by six weeks.
The usefulness of many red flags are poorly supported by evidence. The most useful for detecting a fracture are: older age, corticosteroid use, and significant trauma especially if it results in skin markings. The best determinant of the presence of cancer is a history of the same.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Pain: Hope Through Research. https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Hope-Through-Research/Pain-Hope-Through-Research. June 9, 2017.
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THE TAKEAWAY: Attempts to “release” or inhibit the Psoas through manual techniques is misguided. Stretching your hip flexors (illiacus, rectus femoris) is okay, but doing so isn’t stretching your psoas. Also, remember that tight hip flexors have not been shown to be associated with excessive lumbar lordosis, anterior pelvic tilt, or as a cause of LBP.
One of the best tactics to help treat back pain is to see a qualified chiropractor. I am an avid supporter of the chiropractic philosophy, which puts great emphasis on your body’s innate healing wisdom and does not rely on “Band-Aids” like drugs and surgery.
PELVIC TILT: Many health professionals believe that anterior pelvic tilt and increased lumbar lordosis indicate abdominal weakness and overly strong (or tight) hip flexors. But, according to a 2004 study in the Internet Journal of Allied Health Science and Practice, there is no relationship between lumbar lordosis and isometric strength of the trunk flexors, trunk extensors, and hip flexors and extensors. Several other studies have also had similar findings.