Stress or injury involving the back muscles, including back sprain or strain; chronic overload of back muscles caused by obesity; and short term overload of back muscles caused by any unusual stress, such as lifting or pregnancy
Bony encroachment: Any condition that results in movement or growth of the vertebrae of the lumbar spine can limit the space (encroachment) for the adjacent spinal cord and nerves. Causes of bony encroachment of the spinal nerves include foraminal narrowing (narrowing of the portal through which the spinal nerve passes from the spinal column, out of the spinal canal to the body, commonly as a result of arthritis), spondylolisthesis (slippage of one vertebra relative to another), and spinal stenosis (compression of the nerve roots or spinal cord by bony spurs or other soft tissues in the spinal canal). Spinal-nerve compression in these conditions can lead to sciatica pain that radiates down the lower extremities. Spinal stenosis can cause lower-extremity pains that worsen with walking and are relieved by resting (mimicking the pains of poor circulation). Treatment of these afflictions varies, depending on their severity, and ranges from rest and exercises to epidural cortisone injections and surgical decompression by removing the bone that is compressing the tissue.
Back pain is pain in any region of the back. It is divided into neck pain (cervical), middle back pain (thoracic), lower back pain (lumbar) or coccydynia (tailbone or sacral pain) based on the segment affected. The lumbar area is the most common area for pain, as it supports most of the weight in the upper body. Episodes of back pain may be acute, sub-acute, or chronic depending on the duration. The pain may be characterized as a dull ache, shooting or piercing pain, or a burning sensation. Discomfort can radiate into the arms and hands as well as the legs or feet, and may include numbness, or weakness in the legs and arms.
ComfiLife’s contoured memory foam cushion provides relief from back pain by maintaining the natural curvature of the lower spine. It’s made from high-density memory foam, with a breathable 3D mesh covering. Thanks to an elastic strap, it’s suitable for use in cars, office chairs, and recliners.
Back pain is generally treated with non-pharmacological therapy first, as it typically resolves without the use of medication. Superficial heat and massage, acupuncture, and spinal manipulation therapy may be recommended.
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In most cases of low back pain, medical consensus advises not seeking an exact diagnosis but instead beginning to treat the pain. This assumes that there is no reason to expect that the person has an underlying problem. In most cases, the pain goes away naturally after a few weeks. Typically, people who do seek diagnosis through imaging are not likely to have a better outcome than those who wait for the condition to resolve.
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Dr. Jerome Groopman has written brilliantly about back pain, from personal experience. In How Doctors Think he puts back pain in the context of how medical thinking is influenced by marketing and money, giving us a somewhat chilling insiders’ view of the surgical treatment of back pain. In The Anatomy of Hope, he tells his own story of super severe back pain. It has a happy ending! Both books are also otherwise worthwhile. “Marketing, Money, and Medical Decisions,” a chapter in the book How doctors think, by Jerome Groopman. Groopman, writing from personal experience with chronic back pain and a spinal fusion surgery, discusses back pain as intelligently as any medical expert I’ve come across, but he does so in a way that will fascinate patients. In this chapter, his discussion of back pain is placed in the context of how medical thinking is influenced by marketing and money, giving us a somewhat chilling insiders’ view of the surgical treatment of back pain.
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2016 — Upgrade: Added much more information about non-Rx pain-killers, and greatly improved information about opioids (and linking to much more information). [Section: Pain medications (and even alcohol) can be useful.]
Jump up ^ Anheyer, D; Haller, H; Barth, J; Lauche, R; Dobos, G; Cramer, H (6 June 2017). Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction for Treating Low Back Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine. 166 (11): 799–807. doi:10.7326/M16-1997. PMID 28437793.
A CT scan is an X-ray procedure that combines many X-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional and three-dimensional images of internal organs and structures of the body. A CT scan is a low-risk procedure. Contrast material may be injected into a vein or the spinal fluid to enhance the scan.
Jump up ^ 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.
One of the best tactics to help treat back pain is to see a qualified chiropractor. I am an avid supporter of the chiropractic philosophy, which puts great emphasis on your body’s innate healing wisdom and does not rely on “Band-Aids” like drugs and surgery.
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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.
Your symptoms and the physical examination may give your doctor enough information to diagnose the problem. However, with back pain, your doctor may only be able to tell you that the problem is not serious. If your doctor determines that your back pain is caused by muscle strain, obesity, pregnancy or another cause that is not urgent, you may not need any additional tests. However, if he or she suspects a more serious problem involving your vertebrae or spinal nerves, especially if your back pain has lasted longer than 12 weeks, you may need one or more of the following tests:
2017 — Science update: An important follow-up on August’s major massage evidence update, I’ve now added a summary of the evidence for trigger point massage. Although the topic is not covered in detail here, much study went into making this summary possible. [Section: The evidence for massaging back pain.]
National Collaborating Centre for Primary Care (January 13, 2011), ACR Appropriateness Criteria low back pain, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, American College of Radiology, retrieved 9 September 2012
Driving – it is important to have proper support for your back. Make sure the wing mirrors are properly positioned so you do not need to twist. The pedals should be squarely in front of your feet. If you are on a long journey, have plenty of breaks – get out of the car and walk around.
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.