Chiropractors and physical therapists recommend lumbar support pillows or cushions to relieve lower back pain when sitting long-term or driving for hours on end. It will help support you with your posture when you tend to slump over at the lower back area when sitting. Most ergonomically designed office chairs simply do not work to support the lumbar area of your back. Use it for your chair, in your recliner, sofa, wheelchair, and vehicles.
Medication – back pain that does not respond well to OTC painkillers may require a prescription NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug). Codeine or hydrocodone – narcotics – may also be prescribed for short periods; they require close monitoring by the doctor.
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Muscle or ligament strain. Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement may strain back muscles and spinal ligaments. If you’re in poor physical condition, constant strain on your back may cause painful muscle spasms.
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Imaging is not typically needed in the initial diagnosis or treatment of back pain. However, if there are certain red flag symptoms present plain radiographs (x-ray), CT scan, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be recommended. These red flags include:
Bone scan – a bone scan may be used for detecting bone tumors or compression fractures caused by brittle bones (osteoporosis). The patient receives an injection of a tracer (a radioactive substance) into a vein. The tracer collects in the bones and helps the doctor detect bone problems with the aid of a special camera.
THE TAKEAWAY: You are not doomed by your MRI. Many people with abnormal results are pain free. According to a 2009 research review published in The Lancet, clinicians should refrain from routine, immediate lumbar imaging in patients with LBP without features suggesting a serious underlying condition. For you, that means asking your doctor about what other diagnostic avenues he or she will use besides an MRI. Especially if you’re hearing about your MRI results and the word “surgery” comes up.
Millions such bad decisions, she argues, have fueled a $100-billion-per-year back pain industry in the US—one that’s largely selling Americans wrong and even dangerous responses to back discomfort. These include unnecessary painkillers, injections, surgeries, and chiropractic “adjustments.”
^ Dionne CE (July 2005). Psychological distress confirmed as predictor of long-term back-related functional limitations in primary care settings. Journal of Clinical Epidemiology. 58 (7): 714–8. doi:10.1016/j.jclinepi.2004.12.005. PMID 15939223.
Traction involves the use of weights and pulleys to apply constant or intermittent force to gradually “pull” the skeletal structure into better Some people experience pain relief while in traction, but that relief is usually temporary. Once traction is released the back pain tends to return. There is no evidence that traction provides any longterm benefits for people with low back pain.
^ Baron, R; Binder, A; Attal, N; Casale, R; Dickenson, AH; Treede, RD (July 2016). Neuropathic low back pain in clinical practice. European Journal of Pain. 20 (6): 861–73. doi:10.1002/ejp.838. PMC 5069616 . PMID 26935254.
It is important that the back be flush, because this is what provides the support for the lower back. Overall, the lumbar back support should keep the spine in a very natural position. It should not overly accentuate the inward curve, nor should it feel unsupported.
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^ Ebadi, S.; Henschke, N.; Nakhostin Ansari, N.; Fallah, E.; van Tulder, MW. (2014). Therapeutic ultrasound for chronic low-back pain. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 3: CD009169. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD009169.pub2. PMID 24627326.