Lumbar strain (acute, chronic): A lumbar strain is a stretch injury to the ligaments, tendons, and/or muscles of the low back. The stretching incident results in microscopic tears of varying degrees in these tissues. Lumbar strain is considered one of the most common causes of low back pain. The injury can occur because of overuse, improper use, or trauma. Soft-tissue injury is commonly classified as acute if it has been present for days to weeks. If the strain lasts longer than three months, it is referred to as chronic. Lumbar strain most often occurs in people in their 40s, but it can happen at any age. The condition is characterized by localized discomfort in the low back area with onset after an event that mechanically stressed the lumbar tissues. The severity of the injury ranges from mild to severe, depending on the degree of strain and resulting spasm of the muscles of the low back. The diagnosis of lumbar strain is based on the history of injury, the location of the pain, and exclusion of nervous system injury. Usually, X-ray testing is only helpful to exclude bone abnormalities.
A few studies suggest that psychosocial factors such as on-the-job stress and dysfunctional family relationships may correlate more closely with back pain than structural abnormalities revealed in X-rays and other medical imaging scans.
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.
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.
^ Patel ND, Broderick DF, Burns J, et al. ACR Appropriateness Criteria Low Back Pain. Available at https://acsearch.acr.org/docs/69483/Narrative/. American College of Radiology. Accessed Dec 12, 2017.
Imaging is indicated when there are red flags, ongoing neurological symptoms that do not resolve, or ongoing or worsening pain. In particular, early use of imaging (either MRI or CT) is recommended for suspected cancer, infection, or cauda equina syndrome. MRI is slightly better than CT for identifying disc disease; the two are equally useful for diagnosing spinal stenosis. Only a few physical diagnostic tests are helpful. The straight leg raise test is almost always positive in those with disc herniation. Lumbar provocative discography may be useful to identify a specific disc causing pain in those with chronic high levels of low back pain. Similarly, therapeutic procedures such as nerve blocks can be used to determine a specific source of pain. Some evidence supports the use of facet joint injections, transforminal epidural injections and sacroilliac injections as diagnostic tests. Most other physical tests, such as evaluating for scoliosis, muscle weakness or wasting, and impaired reflexes, are of little use.
I purchased and now use a TENS unit for back pain. By using the TENS, I have stopped going to the chiropractor and my lower back pain is gone. I also use a massage cushion in my chair when using my computer and you can see some of the best ones here. I did not finish the digging; I had a kid in the neighborhood do that for me. I did, however, being pain free, plant my seeds, tomato plants, and bell peppers. One thing about this type of gardening is that there are no weeds and no bending over! By the way, I designed this and built it myself with the men in the neighborhood watching me. Girls can do anything!
Surgery is seldom considered for acute back pain unless sciatica or the cauda equina syndrome is present. Surgery is considered useful for people with certain progressive nerve problems caused by herniated discs.
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Plain X-rays are generally not considered useful in the evaluation of acute back pain, particularly in the first 30 days. In the absence of red flags, their use is discouraged. Their use is indicated if there is significant trauma, mild trauma in those older than 50 years of age, people with osteoporosis, and those with prolonged steroid use. Do not expect an X-ray to be taken.
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.
Braces: Aspen Medical Products is unable to sell directly to patients. Our braces require a prescription from a physician and only licensed healthcare practitioners are authorized to purchase. To find out if an Aspen brace is right for you, please talk to your doctor.
Be mindful that these life-threatening side effects of painkillers are not restricted to prescription NSAIDs like Celebrex, but may also come from over-the-counter drugs like aspirin, Advil, and Motrin.
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The MemorySoft™ Company is a privately owned family business located in Chicago, Illinois, USA. You will find a measure of relief from this premium black mesh fabric for coolness against your lower lumbar back area. This keeps your back cool and never sweaty. The cover is removable and can be washed. Ergonomically designed in the USA, it provides for comfort and therapeutic benefits.
In the elderly, atherosclerosis can cause weakening of the wall of the large arterial blood vessel (aorta) in the abdomen. This weakening can lead to a bulging (aneurysm) of the aorta wall. While most aneurysms cause no symptoms, some cause a pulsating low back pain. Aneurysms of certain size, especially when enlarging over time, can require surgical repair with a grafting procedure to repair the abnormal portion of the artery.
Bulging or ruptured disks. Disks act as cushions between the bones (vertebrae) in your spine. The soft material inside a disk can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve. However, you can have a bulging or ruptured disk without back pain. Disk disease is often found incidentally when you undergo spine X-rays for some other reason.
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Made with non-flattening therapeutic, odorless memory foam, the lumbar cushion by RelaxBack includes an adjustable strap you can use to secure the cushion to your office chair. This keeps the cushion in the perfect position to give your back the support it needs. The velour cover is removable and easily machine washable to ensure cleanliness of the cushion. The cushion measures 14.6 x 3.6 x 13.5 inches and has a side handle for comfortably transporting the cushion around the office or to and from home.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has identified 11 red flags that doctors look for when evaluating a person with back pain. The focus of these red flags is to detect fractures (broken bones), infections, or tumors of the spine. Presence of any of the following red flags associated with low back pain should prompt a visit to your doctor as soon as possible for complete evaluation.
As to which form of exercise to try first, there are not enough head-to-head comparisons to pick a winner, nor is there consensus on whether a specific form of exercise is a bad choice, per se. The lower back is so central to the body that even adding a daily walk through the park can give the region a needed workout.
To be sure, some of those surgeries were required to treat dire conditions and the threat of paralysis. As Ramin writes, surgeons “do essential things: They repair traumatic injuries; they excise spinal tumors; they fix congenital abnormalities.” Such procedures are not the bread and butter for most spinal surgeons, she found, except for the elite few who tend to work at academic medical centers. Spinal surgeons more often treat people diagnosed with pain that’s labelled something like “nonspecific,” “axial,” or “functional.”