Vergara M, Page A, JL. Analysis of lumbar flexion in sitting posture: location of lumbar vertebrae with relation to easily identifiable skin marks. Int J Ind Ergonom. 2006;36:937–942. doi: 10.1016/j.ergon.2006.07.006. [Cross Ref]
Most people have experienced back pain sometime in their lives. The causes of back pain are numerous; some are self-inflicted due to a lifetime of bad habits. Other back pain causes include accidents, muscle strains, and sports injuries. Although the causes may be different, most often they share the same symptoms.
Back sprain or strain – Back pain typically begins on the day after heavy exertion or an activity that requires twisting. Muscles in the back, buttocks and thighs are often sore and stiff. The back may have areas that are sore when touched or pressed.
Even though back pain can affect people of any age, it is significantly more common among adults aged between 35 and 55 years. Experts say that back pain is associated with the way our bones, muscles and ligaments in our backs work and connect together.
2016 — Minor update: Clarification of the significance of some previously cited science, Ferreira et al. [Section: Core strengthening has failed to live up to the hopes and dreams of therapists and patients.]
This study did not include female participants as it has been shown that the female sitting posture is different from that of males . While it would be interesting to study the effect of the lumbar support pillow on female participants, controlling for gender effects helped reduce the complexity of the analysis and the need for a much larger sample size. Moreover, the foundations of the chair were constrained, lowering arm rests and fixing the base to prevent rolling, to limit alternate strategies for changing comfort other than postural shifts with respect to the seat pan. Finally, while shorter term (30 minutes) static postural environments are reportedly adequate to determine comfort levels , the results may not generalize to longer seated exposure.
And, of course, if you’ve had an accident with forces that may have been sufficient to fracture your spine, please seek thorough medical assessment promptly, including an X-ray to look for a fracture. You need an X-ray to ensure that your spine is not actually broken.
True numbness is not just a dead/heavy feeling (which is common, and caused even by minor muscular dysfunction in the area), but a significant or complete lack of sensitivity to touch. You have true numbness when you have patches of skin where you cannot feel light touch. Such areas might still be sensitive to pressure: you could feel a poke, but as if it was through a layer of rubber. Most people have experienced true numbness at the dentist. BACK TO TEXT
The low point of the article is definitely the advice to try to find a “back whisperer.” Back pain is too difficult a problem for anyone to have that role, no matter how expert and experienced. I think the idea of a back whisperer dangerously promotes false hope.
So, how is low back pain treated? As described above, the treatment very much depends on the precise cause of the low back pain. Moreover, each patient must be individually evaluated and managed in the context of the underlying background health status and activity level.
Prolotherapy – the practice of injecting solutions into joints (or other areas) to cause inflammation and thereby stimulate the body’s healing response – has not been found to be effective by itself, although it may be helpful when added to another therapy.
If infection, such as a spinal epidural abscess, is the source of the back pain, surgery may be indicated when a trial of antibiotics is ineffective. Surgical evacuation of spinal hematoma can also be attempted, if the blood products fail to break down on their own.
To obtain a subjective measure of comfort and to get an idea of how the pillow would affect comfort in other areas of the body, individuals were asked to complete a body map questionnaire . They reported their level of discomfort in various areas of the body according to a visual analog scale (VAS) at baseline and after sitting in the chair with the lumbar support and without. Participants were asked to mark along a 100 mm line where their level of discomfort is “right now”, 0 mm being “none” and 100 mm being the “worst possible”. VAS measures were collected for the neck, upper back/back of shoulders, mid back, low back, buttocks, thighs and lower legs.
When other therapies fail, surgery may be considered an option to relieve pain caused by serious musculoskeletal injuries or nerve compression. It may be months following surgery before the patient is fully healed, and he or she may suffer permanent loss of flexibility.
NINDS-funded studies are contributing to a better understanding of why some people with acute low back pain recover fully while others go on to develop chronic low back pain. Brain imaging studies suggest that people with chronic low back pain have changes in brain structure and function. In one study, people with subacute back pain were followed for one year. Researchers found that certain patterns of functional connectivity across brain networks correlated with the likelihood of pain becoming chronic. The findings suggest that such patterns may help predict who is most likely to transition from subacute to chronic back pain. Other research seeks to determine the role of brain circuits important for emotional and motivational learning and memory in this transition, in order to identify new preventive interventions.
Sitting: Chairs of appropriate height for the task at hand with good lumbar support are preferable. To avoid putting stress on the back, chairs should swivel. Automobile seats should also have adequate low-back support. If not, a small pillow or rolled towel behind the lumbar area will provide adequate support.
2012 — Science: More science, and a few substantial new footnotes fielding common concerns and questions. [Section: Core strengthening has failed to live up to the hopes and dreams of therapists and patients.]
Nucleoplasty, also called plasma disc decompression (PDD), is a type of laser surgery that uses radiofrequency energy to treat people with low back pain associated with mildly herniated discs. Under x-ray guidance, a needle is inserted into the disc. A plasma laser device is then inserted into the needle and the tip is heated to 40-70 degrees Celsius, creating a field that vaporizes the tissue in the disc, reducing its size and relieving pressure on the nerves. Several channels may be made depending on how tissue needs to be removed to decompress the disc and nerve root.
Spinal manipulation: Osteopathic or chiropractic manipulation appears to be beneficial in people during the first month of symptoms. Studies on this topic have produced conflicting results. The use of manipulation for people with chronic back pain has been studied as well, also with conflicting results. The effectiveness of this treatment remains unknown. Manipulation has not been found to benefit people with nerve root problems.
Jump up ^ Pinto, RZ; Maher, CG; Ferreira, ML; Hancock, M; Oliveira, VC; McLachlan, AJ; Koes, B; Ferreira, PH (18 December 2012). Epidural corticosteroid injections in the management of sciatica: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine. 157 (12): 865–77. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-157-12-201212180-00564. PMID 23362516.