To learn more about the dangers of too much sitting and the importance of regularly getting out of your chair, I recommend you to see my interview with Dr. Joan Vernikos, author of Sitting Kills, Moving Heals and former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division. Dr. Vernikos, who was one of the primary doctors that ensured the health of the astronauts as they went into space, gives a very intensive explanation on how you can simply and easily counteract the ill effects of sitting.
In the United States 85 to 90% of people experience back pain at some time during their lives. Back pain is the second most common reason people visit their family doctors (just after upper respiratory infections).
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Many studies have shown hamstring tightness to be related to LBP as a symptom, not the cause. According to Carl DeRosa, Ph.D. and author of Mechanical Low Back Pain, “Many people appear to have tight hamstrings. But, their hamstrings are not tight, their CNS (central nervous system) is causing them to contract their hamstrings to minimize unwanted stress and to protect their spine. You could make someone more symptomatic by stretching hamstrings.”
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Discuss when back pain started, what you were doing when pain began, current pain severity and characteristics (eg, stabbing, burning), how pain may have changed since it began, and other questions. Your doctor wants to learn as much about your pain and symptoms before he examines you—while the exam may provoke pain, your doctor doesn’t want to make the process intolerable!
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So what are the common symptoms of back pain? The symptoms of upper back pain are quite varied and may include muscle spasms, discomfort while inhaling, weakness in the arms, restricted neck movements, and a pinching feeling between the shoulder blades. These upper back symptoms could be an indication of an injury to a disc which is in the upper part of the spine.
Strengthening exercises, beyond general daily activities, are not advised for acute low back pain, but may be an effective way to speed recovery from chronic or subacute low back pain. Maintaining and building muscle strength is particularly important for persons with skeletal irregularities. Health care providers can provide a list of beneficial exercises that will help improve coordination and develop proper posture and muscle balance. Evidence supports short- and long-term benefits of yoga to ease chronic low back pain.
OPTP (Orthopedic Physical Therapy Products) is known for its loyalty to the round shape of the McKenzie orthopaedic roll, producing it for nearly 30 years. The cushion features a foam construction available in the option of standard density or firm density depending on your preference. The roll is designed to sit along the curve of the lower spine keeping your upright.
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^ French, SD.; Cameron, M.; Walker, BF.; Reggars, JW.; Esterman, AJ. (2006). Superficial heat or cold for low back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (1): CD004750. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004750.pub2. PMID 16437495.
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Sit in a chair with good lumbar support and proper position and height for the task. Keep shoulders back. Switch sitting positions often and periodically walk around the office or gently stretch muscles to relieve tension. A pillow or rolled-up towel placed behind the small of the back can provide some lumbar support. During prolonged periods of sitting, elevate feet on a low stool or a stack of books.
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^ van Middelkoop M, Rubinstein SM, Verhagen AP, Ostelo RW, Koes BW, van Tulder MW (2010). Exercise therapy for chronic nonspecific low-back pain. Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol. 24 (2): 193–204. doi:10.1016/j.berh.2010.01.002. PMID 20227641.
Bending your back initially is unavoidable, but when you bend your back try not to stoop or squat, and be sure 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.
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Cauda equina syndrome – the cauda equine is a bundle of spinal nerve roots that arise from the lower end of the spinal cord. People with cauda equine syndrome feel a dull pain in the lower back and upper buttocks, as well as analgesia (lack of feeling) in the buttocks, genitalia and thigh. There are sometimes bowel and bladder function disturbances.
Several NIH-funded clinical trials and other studies in patients aim to improve treatment options and prevention strategies for chronic low back pain, as well as add to the evidence base about existing treatments. A multi-year multicenter study called the Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT) compared the most commonly used surgical and nonsurgical treatments for patients with the three most common diagnoses for which spine surgery is performed: intervertebral disc herniation, spinal stenosis, and degenerative spondylisthesis. SPORT represented the largest clinical investigation to date looking at treatment results for these disabling and costly causes of chronic low back pain.
Low back pain is not a specific disease but rather a complaint that may be caused by a large number of underlying problems of varying levels of seriousness. The majority of LBP does not have a clear cause but is believed to be the result of non-serious muscle or skeletal issues such as sprains or strains. Obesity, smoking, weight gain during pregnancy, stress, poor physical condition, poor posture and poor sleeping position may also contribute to low back pain. A full list of possible causes includes many less common conditions. Physical causes may include osteoarthritis, degeneration of the discs between the vertebrae or a spinal disc herniation, broken vertebra(e) (such as from osteoporosis) or, rarely, an infection or tumor of the spine.
Low back pain can cause a wide variety of symptoms and signs depending on the precise cause of the pain as reviewed above. Symptoms that can be associated with low back pain include numbness and/or tingling of the lower extremities, incontinence of urine or stool, inability to walk without worsening pain, lower extremity weakness, atrophy (decreased in size) of the lower extremity muscles, rash, fever, chills, weight loss, abdominal pains, burning on urination, dizziness, joint pain, and fatigue.
CORE STABILITY: According to Comerford, “The Transverse Abdominis (TvA) has never been shown to be off or weak, even in patients with LBP. It’s only been shown to activate 50-90 milliseconds late only in people with LBP. We know through the research that the TvA timing delay is NOT the cause of the pain, but a symptom of it.”
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Home care is recommended for the initial treatment of low back pain. Bed rest remains of unproven value, and most experts recommend no more than two days of bed rest or decreased activity. Some people with sciatica may benefit from two to fours days of rest. Application of local ice and heat provide relief for some people and should be tried. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are useful for controlling pain.
Twenty eight male participants with and without a history of low back pain sat in a standard office chair and in a chair with the lumbar support pillow for 30 minutes. Lumbar and thoracolumbar postures were measured through electromagnetic markers. Comfort was determined based on the least squares radius of centre of pressure shifting, measured at the buttock-chair interface as well as reported discomfort through visual analog scales. Chair support effects were assessed through ANOVA methods. The study was approved by the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College research ethics board.
^ Epidural Corticosteroid Injection: Drug Safety Communication – Risk of Rare But Serious Neurologic Problems. FDA. 23 April 2014. Archived from the original on 24 April 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
Lumbar support is just that—support for the lower back lumbar vertebrae to support the muscles and bones. We can have lumbar support in our office and home chairs, and some cars and trucks have built-in lumbar support for the driver at the bottom end of the seat back that is adjustable. For long trips, a lumbar support is essential. But what do you do if your vehicle does not have a lumbar support or your passengers would be more comfortable with support? A lumbar cushion will help give you the support your lower spine needs to be pain free.
Hot and Cold Therapy: Many people seek immediate relief from severe back pain, by placing a hot water bag on the area. This normally gets rid of the pain within a short while. It has been seen that applying an ice pack on the back can also bring about the same results.
The support itself can be adjusted up or down to provide your back with the precise support it needs. The breathable mesh fabric allows air to flow through the support, keeping you comfortable all day long.
If you see a doctor for back pain, he (or she) may use terms such as thoracic, lumbar, lumbosacral, or sacrum. The point is, back pain is a large topic covering many different regions (or levels) of the spine.