Intervertebral disc degeneration is one of the most common mechanical causes of low back pain, and it occurs when the usually rubbery discs lose integrity as a normal process of aging. In a healthy back, intervertebral discs provide height and allow bending, flexion, and torsion of the lower back. As the discs deteriorate, they lose their cushioning ability.
There are many different conditions that cause or contribute to low and lower back pain. Many involve nerve compression (eg, pinched nerve) that may generate pain and other symptoms. Types of spinal disorders include trauma-related and degenerative; meaning age-related. Some of these spinal problems are listed below.
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design with the essential elements required in a spinal brace to effectively relieve pain. Utilizing Aspen’s foundational inelastic design, elastic qualities have been incorporated for a tailored and comfortable fit. This innovative combination, coupled with Aspen’s patented compression system, provides effective low back pain relief for the active patient.
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Low back pain can be caused by tumors, either benign or malignant, that originate in the bone of the spine or pelvis and spinal cord (primary tumors) and those which originate elsewhere and spread to these areas (metastatic tumors). Symptoms range from localized pain to radiating severe pain and loss of nerve and muscle function (even incontinence of urine and stool) depending on whether or not the tumors affect the nervous tissue. Tumors of these areas are detected using imaging tests, such as plain X-rays, nuclear bone scanning, and CAT and MRI scanning.
I am a science writer & amateur athlete in Vancouver, Canada. I’ve been writing about low back pain for over a decade, in part to understand & manage my own chronic pain problems, including rare but nasty episodes of back pain. ~ Paul Ingraham
By the spring of 2016, Missi Brandt had emerged from a rough few years with a new sense of solidity. At 45, she was three years sober and on the leeward side of a stormy divorce. She was living with her preteen daughters in the suburbs of St. Paul, Minnesota, and working as a flight attendant. Missi felt ready for a serious relationship again, so she made a profile on OurTime.com, a dating site for people in middle age.
Whether you choose a full-seat back cushion or a smaller back support, always ensure the material is flush against the small of your back. The support shouldn’t be pressing into your sides or pinching any nerves, as this can cause more damage over time.
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Cayenne cream – Also known as capsaicin cream, this is a spice made from dried hot peppers. It alleviates pain by depleting the body’s supply of substance P, a chemical component of nerve cells that transmits pain signals to your brain.
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.
When you hear the word core, you picture six-pack abs. But your core is composed of much more: Back, side, pelvic, and buttock muscles all work together, along with your abs, to allow you to bend, twist, rotate, and stand upright. Your core is like a crane that supports all of your movements, Dr. Moyad says. Unlike crunches, which focus solely on abdominal muscles, core exercises — lunges, squats, planks, and others — strengthen several spine-supporting muscle groups at once.
Maybe you’re backwards! About 1 person in 10,000 has mirror-image organs. Situs inversus (also called situs transversus or oppositus) is a congenital condition in which the major visceral organs are reversed or mirrored from their normal positions.
Most people — and most health care — believe that back pain is usually caused mainly by structural problems, either injury or degeneration of the spine. This idea is not supported by the scientific evidence.24 Indeed, just the opposite is more the case: “The evidence that tissue pathology does not explain chronic pain is overwhelming (e.g., in back pain, neck pain, and knee osteoarthritis).”25
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Artificial disc replacement is considered an alternative to spinal fusion for the treatment of people with severely damaged discs. The procedure involves removal of the disc and its replacement by a synthetic disc that helps restore height and movement between the vertebrae.
Infection of the discs (septic discitis) and bone (osteomyelitis) is extremely rare. These conditions lead to localized pain associated with fever. The bacteria found when these tissues are tested with laboratory cultures include Staphylococcus aureus and Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB bacteria). TB infection in the spine is called Pott’s disease. These are each very serious conditions requiring long courses of antibiotics. The sacroiliac joints rarely become infected with bacteria. Brucellosis is a bacterial infection that can involve the sacroiliac joints and is usually transmitted in raw goat’s milk.
2017 — Science update: Updated references for debunking of TENS for back pain. Added ultrasound to the section. [Section: A few more snack-sized reality checks: brief comments on other treatments to avoid.]
At the start of the 20th century, physicians thought low back pain was caused by inflammation of or damage to the nerves, with neuralgia and neuritis frequently mentioned by them in the medical literature of the time. The popularity of such proposed causes decreased during the 20th century. In the early 20th century, American neurosurgeon Harvey Williams Cushing increased the acceptance of surgical treatments for low back pain. In the 1920s and 1930s, new theories of the cause arose, with physicians proposing a combination of nervous system and psychological disorders such as nerve weakness (neurasthenia) and female hysteria. Muscular rheumatism (now called fibromyalgia) was also cited with increasing frequency.
When comparing VAS scores between the lumbar support and standard chair conditions, a difference was seen only in the neck region in the LBP group (p = 0.045). The VAS was lower with the lumbar support than with the standard chair. However, due to the potential inflation of Type I error (falsely concluding a significant effect) due to the testing being done at seven different sites for each group, when proper adjustment is made for multiple testing using Holm’s method, the neck region does not achieve statistical significance. The unadjusted means and standard deviations for the VAS scores for level of discomfort are summarized in Tables 3 and and44.
Most of us (about 8 in 10 people) will have a bout of nonspecific low back pain at some point in our lives. The severity can vary. However, it is difficult to quote exact figures as to outlook. This is partly because it is so common and many people with back pain do not consult a doctor. Roughly, it is thought that:
There are thousands of low back pain books — what’s special about this one? The problem is that 90% of doctors and therapists assume that back pain is structural, in spite of mountains of scientific evidence showing … exactly the opposite. Only a few medical experts understand this, and fewer still are writing for patients and therapists. Supported by 444 footnotes, this tutorial is the most credible and clarifying low back pain information you can find. Ships with a free copy of PainScience.com’s trigger point tutorial! Add it to your shopping cart now ($19.95) or read the first few sections for free!
During a discectomy, your surgeon will remove the ruptured portions of a disc while preserving the unaffected areas. Then, the disc wall is treated to prevent the soft nucleus from escaping again and causing subsequent pain. In microendoscopic discectomies, an endoscope (tiny camera) allows surgeons to carefully guide the procedure via a larger monitor.
The lumbar portion of the spine bears the most body weight and also provides the most flexibility, a combination that makes it susceptible to injury and wear and tear over time. This is why low back pain is so prevalent.