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^ Fast Facts About Back Pain. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. National Institute of Health. September 2009. Archived from the original on 5 June 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2013.

Diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH or Forestier’s disease) is a form of degenerative arthritis. It is characterized by calcification along the sides of the vertebrae of the spine. Symptoms include stiffness and pain in the upper and lower back. Anti-inflammatory medications are used to treat DISH.

The straight leg raise test can detect pain originating from a herniated disc. When warranted, imaging such as MRI can provide clear detail about disc related causes of back pain (L4–L5 disc herniation shown)

“We’re sitting for 50 to 60 hours per week,” she says. We sit at our desks, in our cars, at the dinner table, and we sit to write email messages from bed at night. “We think three hours of exercise on the weekend will undo the problems that creates,” she laments. Even standing desks aren’t the easy out, as standing the wrong way all day can lead to different issues. Her mantra: “The best posture for sitting is always the next posture.”

Nick Tumminello is the 2016 NSCA Personal Trainer of the Year and the owner of Performance University, which provides practical fitness education for fitness professionals worldwide. He is the author of Strength Training for Fat Loss and Building Muscle and Performance (both books published by Human Kinetics) and has produced 15+ DVDs. He writes a very popular blog at www.NickTumminello.com.

Some people seem to benefit from the use of ice or heat. Their use, although not proven effective, is not considered to be harmful. Take care: Do not use a heating pad on high or place ice directly on the skin.

NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.

Massage therapy may give short-term pain relief, but not functional improvement, for those with acute lower back pain.[30] It may also give short-term pain relief and functional improvement for those with long-term (chronic) and sub-acute lower pack pain, but this benefit does not appear to be sustained after 6 months of treatment.[30] There does not appear to be any serious adverse effects associated with massage.[30]

It is important to stay away from poor quality lumbar supports. A bad lumbar cushion can actually do far more damage than good, even if you don’t suffer from pre-existing back problems. If your lumbar support is poorly shaped or made with low quality materials, it will not offer the support you need, and also won’t last long.

Bending your back initially is unavoidable, but when you bend your back try not to stoop or squat, and be to tighten your stomach muscles so that your pelvis is pulled in. Most important, do not straighten your legs before lifting; otherwise you will be using your back for most of the work.

Shape—can be the conventional pillow-type cushions or wedge shapes where the top part is wider than the narrower bottom. The wedge is good for some people in the car. Some brands are heated for addition comfort to the lumbar area.

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