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As the structure of the back is complex and the reporting of pain is subjective and affected by social factors, the diagnosis of low back pain is not straightforward. While most low back pain is caused by muscle and joint problems, this cause must be separated from neurological problems, spinal tumors, fracture of the spine, and infections, among others.
The vast majority of low back pain is mechanical in nature. In many cases, low back pain is associated with spondylosis, a term that to the general degeneration of the spine associated with normal wear and tear that occurs in the joints, discs, and bones of the spine as people get older. Some examples of mechanical causes of low back pain include:
Spinal fusion surgery, for instance: Involving the removal of worn-out or injured discs, then the fusing together of the vertebrae above and below that disc with metal screws and cages, this is the form of elective surgery that people spend the most on in the US, costing a total of $40 billion per year. The problem is, it rarely works.
There was a main effect of condition on lumbar posture (p = 0.006) and thoracolumbar posture (p = 0.014). In the lumbar region, the support and standard chair differed by 2.88° (95% CI; 1.01-4.75), with the lumbar support being closer to neutral than the standard chair. In the thoracolumbar region, the support and standard chair differed by -2.42° (95% CI; -4.22 to -0.62), with the standard chair being closer to neutral than the support device. The centre of pressure measure was significantly improved with the pillow (p = 0.017), however there were no subjective changes in comfort.
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There are many additional sources of pain, including claudication pain (from stenosis) myelopathic pain, neuropathic pain, deformity, tumors, infections, pain from inflammatory conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis), and pain that originates from another part of the body and presents in the lower back (such as kidney stones, or ulcerative colitis).
Finally, these factors all result in an overall enforcement of good posture. With the help of a lumbar support, your back will slowly strengthen and learn to keep good posture without you having to do anything other than sit down.
Table 2 provides details of the descriptive statistics for the CoP LSR. The results of the three-factor ANOVA for the entire sample of participants suggested that there was a significant effect of Condition (p = 0.017) and Epoch (0.028) but not Group (p = 0.095). The lack of any significant interaction effects, however, suggested that the effect of Condition was consistent over Epoch, in that the LSR was consistently lower in the lumbar support condition for both healthy and LBP groups than in the standard chair condition, suggesting greater comfort.
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As Ramin also told CBC radio, the psychologists she spoke to for the book talk about a cognitive shift that’s needed to “understand that yes when you start exercising there will be pain. There definitely will be because you are just as out of shape as all get out. But in the right hands, in the hands of a back whisperer, you can get through that and you can get strong and you can get your back muscles and the rest of your body balanced and you can straighten out your gait and you can straighten out your posture.”
The nerves that provide sensation and stimulate the muscles of the low back as well as the lower extremities (the thighs, legs, feet, and toes) all exit the lumbar spinal column through bony portals, each of which is called a foramen.
There is moderate quality evidence that suggests the combination of education and exercise may reduce an individual’s risk of developing an episode of low back pain. Lesser quality evidence points to exercise alone as a possible deterrent to the risk of the onset of this condition.
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.
Nerve irritation: The nerves of the lumbar spine can be irritated by mechanical pressure (impingement) by bone or other tissues, or from disease, anywhere along their paths — from their roots at the spinal cord to the skin surface. These conditions include lumbar disc disease (radiculopathy), bony encroachment, and inflammation of the nerves caused by a viral infection (shingles). See descriptions of these conditions below.
^ Shiri R, Karppinen J, Leino-Arjas P, Solovieva S, Viikari-Juntura E (January 2010). The association between smoking and low back pain: a meta-analysis. The American Journal of Medicine. 123 (1): 87.e7–35. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2009.05.028. PMID 20102998.
Degenerative disc disease: Causes and treatment options Degenerative disc disease happens when one or more intervertebral discs in the spine breaks down, as part of the normal aging process. Find out more. Read now
Vertebrae are the interlocking bones stacked on top of one another that make up the spine. Disks are areas of tissue that cushion the space between each vertebra. Disk injuries are a fairly common cause of back pain.
The study, published in The Journal of Clinical Pain, also suggests that patients who are positive about their back pain and feel in control of their symptoms go on to experience less back-related disability while receiving acupuncture.
Obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and lack of exercise can increase a person’s risk of back pain. People who smoke are more likely to experience back pain than others. Poor posture and weight gain in pregnancy are also risk factors for back pain. In general, fatigue can worsen 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.
February 26, 2018 • No, we’re not talking about squatting. We’re talking about a way to bend over that has nearly disappeared in our culture. And it could be one reason why back pain is so common in the U.S.
The US National Library of Medicine has information on a study done to determine whether a lumbar support pillow, outfitted with a cut-out to accommodate the bulk of posterior pelvic soft tissue volume, is more effective than a standard chair in promotion a neutral spine posture and improving subjective and objective measures of comfort in healthy individuals and patients with lower back pain.