Medically reviewed by George Krucik, MD, MBA Raastad J, Reiman M, Coeytaux R, Ledbetter L, Goode AP. The association between lumbar spine radiographic features and low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2015 Apr. 44 (5):571-85. [Medline].
Va Va Boom Flint In between your vertebrae are rubbery cushions called spinal discs. These discs, which act as shock absorbers, are a little bit like jelly donuts. They have a softer inside with a tougher exterior. There are also a number of ligaments attached to your spine, connecting those stacking vertebrae to each other and to other bones. Beyond that, there are tendons attaching bones to surrounding muscles. Then there are the muscles of your back themselves.
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Viewing all 11 Products Red flags do not confirm that something horrible is going on, just that it’s time to talk to a doctor. And the absence of red flags is not remotely a guarantee that you’re in the clear — but it’s a good start.
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All Spine Conditions Family The adolescent athlete may also suffer from low back pain that is caused by growth-related problems such as scoliosis and Scheuermann’s kyphosis. These problems may or may not be related to athletic activity, but they can affect an athlete’s ability to perform up to his or her standards.
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Back to Main Menu Emerging technologies such as X-rays gave physicians new diagnostic tools, revealing the intervertebral disc as a source for back pain in some cases. In 1938, orthopedic surgeon Joseph S. Barr reported on cases of disc-related sciatica improved or cured with back surgery. As a result of this work, in the 1940s, the vertebral disc model of low back pain took over, dominating the literature through the 1980s, aiding further by the rise of new imaging technologies such as CT and MRI. The discussion subsided as research showed disc problems to be a relatively uncommon cause of the pain. Since then, physicians have come to realize that it is unlikely that a specific cause for low back pain can be identified in many cases and question the need to find one at all as most of the time symptoms resolve within 6 to 12 weeks regardless of treatment.
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Loafers In most episodes of low back pain, a specific underlying cause is not identified or even looked for, with the pain believed to be due to mechanical problems such as muscle or joint strain. If the pain does not go away with conservative treatment or if it is accompanied by “red flags” such as unexplained weight loss, fever, or significant problems with feeling or movement, further testing may be needed to look for a serious underlying problem. In most cases, imaging tools such as X-ray computed tomography are not useful and carry their own risks. Despite this, the use of imaging in low back pain has increased. Some low back pain is caused by damaged intervertebral discs, and the straight leg raise test is useful to identify this cause. In those with chronic pain, the pain processing system may malfunction, causing large amounts of pain in response to non-serious events.
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