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.
^ Hayden JA, van Tulder MW, Malmivaara A, Koes BW (2005). Exercise therapy for treatment of non-specific low back pain. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3): CD000335. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD000335.pub2. PMID 16034851.
Part of the problem is that today’s lifestyle often includes long periods of sitting – at work, during the commute to and from work, at home watching TV or at the computer, watching kids’ soccer games, and so on. And it’s in this sitting position that poor postural habits tend to develop – hunching over, slouching in the chair, etc.
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Starting off our list is the Mueller Adjustable Back Brace. If you need lower lumbar support, definitely check this brace out. It’s recommended to help relieve sprains, strains, and lower back muscle spasms. Plus, it can help provide relief from previous injuries or strenuous activities.
Sitting in an upright chair while watching TV or using a computer can cause painful pressure on the lumbar area of your back. Back support cushions can help relieve back pain even while sitting in your favorite chair at home. Lumbar support cushions might provide just the right amount of support for you, and cushion your lower back. Therapeutic and affordable, these chair accessories come in a large variety, including memory foam cushions and roll pillows for customized comfort.
No more stressing to find the perfect pillow combination – with this one lumbar pillow, a room can take on a whole new look. Inspired by the geometric patterns used by the Zapotec tribes of the Oaxaca region, its structural designs and brilliant hues add the perfect pop of color to your bed or couch.
Complaints of low back pain are one of the most common reasons people visit doctors. For pain that has lasted only a few weeks, the pain is likely to subside on its own. Thus, if a person’s medical history and physical examination do not suggest a specific disease as the cause, medical societies advise against imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. Individuals may want such tests but, unless red flags are present, they are unnecessary health care. Routine imaging increases costs, is associated with higher rates of surgery with no overall benefit, and the radiation used may be harmful to one’s health. Fewer than 1% of imaging tests identify the cause of the problem. Imaging may also detect harmless abnormalities, encouraging people to request further unnecessary testing or to worry. Even so, MRI scans of the lumbar region increased by more than 300% among United States Medicare beneficiaries from 1994 to 2006.
Without the lumbar support, maintaining correct posture is more difficult. The lumbar spine and the muscles in your lower back have to work harder to support the natural curvature and alignment. When you have sat for a long period of time you tend to slouch, as the muscles holding the spine in position become weak. A chair with proper lumbar support will save the muscles surrounding the spine from being overworked. This support is really important for those with desk jobs where you sit for the majority of the day.
Subacute low back pain. Lasting between 6 weeks and 3 months, this type of pain is usually mechanical in nature (such as a muscle strain or joint pain) but is prolonged. At this point, a medical workup may be considered, and is advisable if the pain is severe and limits one’s ability to participate in activities of daily living, sleeping, and working.
Foraminotomy is an operation that “cleans out” or enlarges the bony hole (foramen) where a nerve root exits the spinal canal. Bulging discs or joints thickened with age can cause narrowing of the space through which the spinal nerve exits and can press on the nerve, resulting in pain, numbness, and weakness in an arm or leg. Small pieces of bone over the nerve are removed through a small slit, allowing the surgeon to cut away the blockage and relieve pressure on the nerve.
Posture when sitting – a good seat should have good back support, arm rests and a swivel base (for working). When sitting try to keep your knees and hips level and keep your feet flat on the floor – if you can’t, use a footstool. You should ideally be able to sit upright with support in the small of your back. If you are using a keyboard, make sure your elbows are at right-angles and that your forearms are horizontal.
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 infections, stones, and traumatic bleeding of the kidney (hematoma) are frequently associated with low back pain. Diagnosis can involve urine analysis, sound-wave tests (ultrasound), or other imaging studies of the abdomen.
Discography may be used when other diagnostic procedures fail to identify the cause of pain. This procedure involves the injection of a contrast dye into a spinal disc thought to be causing low back pain. The fluid’s pressure in the disc will reproduce the person’s symptoms if the disc is the cause. The dye helps to show the damaged areas on CT scans taken following the injection. Discography may provide useful information in cases where people are considering lumbar surgery or when their pain has not responded to conventional treatments.
Back pain is a common health issue today that affects at least eight out of 10 people. It is a prevalent problem among Americans. In fact, statistics from the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) reveal that at least 31 million Americans experience lower back pain at any given time.
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Supports recovery from lower back problems, helps with most sitting pain due to sciatica, herniated discs, tailbone injuries, pregnancy back pain, hip pain, hemorrhoids and other spinal issues. Provid…
Hot or cold packs have never been proven to quickly resolve low back injury; however, they may help ease pain and reduce inflammation for people with acute, subacute, or chronic pain, allowing for greater mobility among some individuals.
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The mean (SD) age for the healthy and LBP groups were 26.3 ± 2.1 years and 27.8 ± 6.1 years, The mean (SD) height and weight for the healthy and LBP groups were 174.6 ± 13.5 cm and 176.0 ± 9.7 cm (height) and 81.8 ± 11.8 kg and 80.7 ± 12.3 kg (weight), respectively. Furthermore, the mean (SD) of the intensity of the LBP in the patient group were 3.4 (1.6) out of 10 on the VAS. The posture data for only 25 participants were used (11 healthy individuals and 14 patients with LBP) as it was determined during data analysis that the markers had moved during collection for three participants and the data were not accurate. The comfort data from all 28 participants were used for analysis.
X-ray is often the first imaging technique used to look for broken bones or an injured vertebra. X-rays show the bony structures and any vertebral misalignment or fractures. Soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments, or bulging discs are not visible on conventional x-rays.
DG participated in the study design, data collection, analysis and manuscript writing. JT participated in the study design, analysis and manuscript writing. ST carried out the data collections, processing and reviewed the manuscript. DS carried out the analysis and reviewed the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Shingles (herpes zoster) is an acute infection of the nerves that supply sensation to the skin, generally at one or several spinal levels and on one side of the body (right or left). Patients with shingles usually have had chickenpox earlier in life. The herpes virus that causes chickenpox is believed to exist in a dormant state within the spinal nerve roots long after the chickenpox resolves. In people with shingles, this virus reactivates to cause infection along the sensory nerve, leading to nerve pain and usually an outbreak of shingles (tiny blisters on the same side of the body and at the same nerve level). The back pain in patients with shingles of the lumbar area can precede the skin rash by days. Successive crops of tiny blisters can appear for several days and clear with crusty inflammation in one to two weeks. Patients occasionally are left with a more chronic nerve pain (postherpetic neuralgia). Treatment can involve symptomatic relief with lotions, such as calamine, or medications, such as acyclovir (Zovirax), for the infection and pregabalin (Lyrica) or lidocaine (Lidoderm) patches for the pain.
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.
^ Chou R, Qaseem A, Snow V, et al. (October 2007). Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain: a joint clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society. Annals of Internal Medicine. 147 (7): 478–91. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-147-7-200710020-00006. PMID 17909209.
The gluteus medius is sandwiched between the glute maximus and minimus and lies in and around the hip area. The role of the muscle is to abduct your hip or lift your leg out to the side in either standing or side lying and to keep your pelvis level whenever you take a step. Prolonged sitting during the day as well as an unequal weight distribution when standing are two of the most common reasons for this muscle to get weak and imbalanced.
Acupuncture, which originates from China, consists of inserting fine needles and specific points in the body. Acupuncture can help the body release its natural painkillers – endorphins – as well as stimulating nerve and muscle tissue.
Chronic back pain is defined as pain that persists for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute low back pain has been treated. About 20 percent of people affected by acute low back pain develop chronic low back pain with persistent symptoms at one year. In some cases, treatment successfully relieves chronic low back pain, but in other cases pain persists despite medical and surgical treatment.
Anyone who has endured back pain knows it is an erratic dictator. It takes hold of your psyche, demanding your attention and devotion before all else—before you can plan a hike, return to a work routine, pick up your child for a hug. So when someone offers to make that dictator disappear, it’s hard to resist—no matter what the price.