Cauda equina syndrome is a serious but rare complication of a ruptured disc. It occurs when disc material is pushed into the spinal canal and compresses the bundle of lumbar and sacral nerve roots, causing loss of bladder and bowel control. Permanent neurological damage may result if this syndrome is left untreated.
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A considerable percentage of patients with back pain experience both occasional bouts of more intense pain as well as more-or-less continuous mild back pain, making it harder for the doctor to determine whether they have acute or chronic back pain.
Disclaimer: The entire contents of this website are based upon the opinions of Dr. Mercola, unless otherwise noted. Individual articles are based upon the opinions of the respective author, who retains copyright as marked. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the research and experience of Dr. Mercola and his community. Dr. Mercola encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified health care professional. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using products based on this content.
All in all, a lumbar cushion does an excellent job of promoting good posture and helping relieve the stresses of prolonged sitting. That said, it is just as important to instil good sitting habits if you suffer from lower back pain. Take regular breaks and stretch for short periods to loosen the muscles and ligaments. Moreover, it is vitally important to adjust your chair and desk in a neutral position that provides support and keeps you upright. By inculcating these practices along with recommended lumbar support cushions, back pain will be a thing of the past.
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It is extremely difficult to the potentially disabling belief among the lay public that low back pain has a structural mechanical cause. An important reason for this is that this belief continues to be regularly reinforced by the conditions of care of a range of ‘hands-on’ providers, for whom idiosyncratic variations of that view are fundamental to their professional existence.”
A weakness in Dr. John Sarno’s (otherwise interesting) writing about back pain17 is that he tends to give patients the idea that recovery from low back pain is all a mind game. That’s going too far. “The biology of pain is never really straightforward, even when it appears to be.” (Moseley)
Lower-back pain, or pain in the part of the back between the ribs and the legs, is one of the most common complaints of discomfort. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a major reason for missed work. While most back twinges go away on their own after a few days, many people suffer from chronic back pain.
2012 — Science update: Clarified information about pelvic tilt, and beefed it up with some more science. [Section: Are you crooked? The alignment theories: short legs, pelvic tilts, and spinal curves.]
Whether you want to read for a forthcoming exam or review some work documents in bed, you need a comfortable pillow. Comfort is one of the important reasons why you should go for the best reading pillow because if whatever you buy does not provide it you will not be able to sit in bed for long. Many things will affect the comfort of the backrest pillow, and they include things like the size, firmness and filling type.
Lying down minimizes stress on the lumbar spine; however, staying sedentary for more than a day or two can actually prolong and worsen pain. In a new study from Sweden, back pain sufferers who remained active recovered more quickly and felt less depressed than those who took it easy. Low-impact activities like walking and swimming boost blood flow to back muscles while relieving pain and stiffness, Dr. Venesy says. Yoga, with its emphasis on stretching and strengthening, may be one of the most effective spine soothers. After three months of weekly sessions, 60 percent of back-pain sufferers who participated in an Archives of Internal Medicine study reported less discomfort, and 40 percent were able to cut back on pain meds.
The presence of certain signs, termed red flags, indicate the need for further testing to look for more serious underlying problems, which may require immediate or specific treatment. The presence of a red flag does not mean that there is a significant problem. It is only suggestive, and most people with red flags have no serious underlying problem. If no red flags are present, performing diagnostic imaging or laboratory testing in the first four weeks after the start of the symptoms has not been shown to be useful.
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Jump up ^ 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.
These assessments help determine where the pain comes from, how much you can move before pain forces you to stop and whether you have muscle spasms. They will also help rule out more-serious causes of back pain.
2011 — Rewritten: Improved and expanded. In particular, intramuscular stimulation (IMS) was “demoted.” I am disillusioned with it and no longer want to promote it without strong caveats. [Section: “Medical” treatment option for trigger points: dry needling (IMS), stretch and spray, and trigger point injections.]
I cannot stress enough that preventing or treating disease is possible without the intervention of medications. The same is true for back pain. You only need to address the root cause of the problem by changing your lifestyle and the way you eat and move.
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:
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Jump up ^ Shiri R, Karppinen J, Leino-Arjas P, Solovieva S, Viikari-Juntura E (January 2010). The association between smoking and low back pain: a meta-analysis. The American Journal of Medicine. 123 (1): 87.e7–35. doi:10.1016/j.amjmed.2009.05.028. PMID 20102998.
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Ultrasound imaging, also called ultrasound scanning or sonography, uses high-frequency sound waves to obtain images inside the body. The sound wave echoes are recorded and displayed as a real-time visual image. Ultrasound imaging can show tears in ligaments, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissue masses in the back.
A mattress should be well made, fully supportive, and comfortable. Firm mattresses are often recommended, but there is some evidence to suggest that medium-firm may be better for people with long-term lower back pain.
These cushions can easily be purchased off the shelf without a prescription. If you have chronic pain or specific back problems such as Sciatica or herniated discs you should consult an orthopedist or chiropractor for a recommendation. This would ensure that you don’t get the wrong cushion which could further exacerbate your condition.
The Love My Pillow Standard Bed Pillow is the key for a peaceful night’s sleep. This low profile pillow features a textured outer cover with a down outer layer that surrounds the memory foam core, creating a more comfortable pillow for a … more
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This Australian study concluded that “prognosis is moderately optimistic for patients with chronic low back pain,” contradicting the common fear that any low back pain that lasts longer than 6-9 weeks will become a long-term chronic problem. This evidence is the first of its kind, a rarity in low back pain research, a field where almost everything has been studied to death. “Many studies provide good evidence for the prognosis of acute low back pain,” the authors explain. “Relatively few provide good evidence for the prognosis of chronic low back pain.”
Plain X-rays are generally not considered useful in the evaluation of acute back pain, particularly in the first 30 days. In the absence of red flags, their use is discouraged. Their use is indicated if there is significant trauma, mild trauma in those older than 50 years of age, people with osteoporosis, and those with prolonged steroid use. Do not expect an X-ray to be taken.