You don’t need to take my word for anything — you can just take the word of the many low back pain medical experts that I quote,11 and the hard evidence that their opinions are based on. At the same time, I am realistic about the limits of the science, much of which is pretty junky.12 My own credentials are somewhat beside the point. My decade of professional experience as a Registered Massage Therapist does help me understand and write about low back pain, but what really matters is that I refer to and explain recent scientific evidence, but without blindly trusting it.
Skeletal muscle relaxers may also be used. Their short term use has been shown to be effective in the relief of acute back pain. However, the evidence of this effect has been disputed, and these medications do have negative side-effects.
Herzog R, Elgort DR, Flanders AE, Moley PJ. Variability in diagnostic error rates of 10 MRI centers performing lumbar spine MRI examinations on the same patient within a 3-week period. Spine J. 2016 Nov. PubMed #27867079.
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 of flexibility.
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Meanwhile, many non-dangerous problems can cause amazingly severe back pain. A muscle cramp is a good analogy — just think about how painful a Charley horse is! Regardless of what’s actually going on in there, muscle pain is probably the main thing that back pain patients are feeling. The phenomenon of trigger points — tiny muscle cramps, basically11 — could be the entire problem, or a complication that’s more painful and persistent than the original problem. It’s hard to overstate how painful trigger points can be, but they are not dangerous to anything but your comfort.
Nerve block therapies aim to relieve chronic pain by blocking nerve conduction from specific areas of the body. Nerve block approaches range from injections of local anesthetics, botulinum toxin, or steroids into affected soft tissues or joints to more complex nerve root blocks and spinal cord stimulation. When extreme pain is involved, low doses of drugs may be administered by catheter directly into the spinal cord. The success of a nerve block approach depends on the ability of a practitioner to locate and inject precisely the correct nerve. Chronic use of steroid injections may lead to increased functional impairment.
Bromelain – Found in pineapples, this protein-digesting enzyme is a natural anti-inflammatory. Bromelain can be used in supplement form, but eating fresh pineapple may also be helpful. Most of the bromelain is found within the pineapple’s core, so make sure you leave a little of the pulpy core intact when you eat the fruit.
For many, an injured or aching back knows no comfort, and rarely receives the support it deserves. The Nourish Back Rest provides the support and comfort of an adjustable bed, allowing to easily add extra support where you need it most. … more
Aota Y, Iizuka H, Ishige Y, Mochida T, Yoshihisa T, Uesugi M, Saito T. The effectiveness of a lumbar support continuous passive motion device in the prevention of low back pain. Spine. 2007;32:E674–E677. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e318158cf3e. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]
As lumbar supports are typically used long-term to support healthy posture and avoid back pain, they should be comfortable and durable. High-quality materials are essential. If you’re considering a memory foam pillow, make sure it will keep its shape in the long run.
Total disc replacement is an experimental option, but no significant evidence supports its use over lumbar fusion. Researchers are investigating the possibility of growing new intervertebral structures through the use of injected human growth factors, implanted substances, cell therapy, and tissue engineering.
Poor posture and crookedness is another popular scapegoat — it seems obvious that posture is relevant. Many professionals assume that back pain is some kind of postural problem that you can exercise your way clear of. Unfortunately, the evidence shows that no kind of exercise, not even the most hard-core core strengthening, has any significant effect on low back pain.
cancer a tumor in or near the spine Many kinds of cancer can cause many kinds of back pain, but some strong themes are: the pain grows steadily and is mostly unaffected by position and activity, worse with weight bearing and at night, and comes with other signs of being unwell.
Your work station should be set up so as to improve posture. Consider the placement of your desk or computer work station and where your monitor and keyboard sit. Finding the best way to sit at a desk will promote improved upper back and neck posture.
Low back pain has been with humans since at least the Bronze Age. The oldest known surgical treatise – the Edwin Smith Papyrus, dating to about 1500 BCE – describes a diagnostic test and treatment for a vertebral sprain. Hippocrates (c. 460 BCE – c. 370 BCE) was the first to use a term for sciatic pain and low back pain; Galen (active mid to late second century CE) described the concept in some detail. Physicians through the end of the first millennium did not attempt back surgery and recommended watchful waiting. Through the Medieval period, folk medicine practitioners provided treatments for back pain based on the belief that it was caused by spirits.
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The problem is that a lot of people ignore chiropractic care, thinking that it’s just “pushing bones into place.” However, there’s a whole lot more to chiropractic care. In fact, one of the basic foundations of this health system is “vitalism” – recognizing that the human body has an innate healing intelligence or ‘life force’ that guides and directs your body’s healing process.
Taking an non-prescription painkiller (such as aspirin or paracetamol) or anti-inflammatory medicine (such as ibuprofen) is often enough to relieve acute low back pain. You can also use creams, lotions and gels that contain painkillers or anti-inflammatory ingredients. Make sure you don’t apply an anti-inflammatory cream as well as taking an anti-inflammatory tablet or capsule as they can interact. Talk to your GP or pharmacist for more advice about using anti-inflammatory medicines.
Back school is an intervention that consists of both education and physical exercises. A 2016 Cochrane review found the evidence concerning back school to be very low quality and was not able to make generalizations as to whether back school is effective or not.
My opinion is that people should not go longer than 30 minutes in a chair without standing, deep breathing, walking and stretching. If you think I am crazy for asking that much of you, then I suggest you not go longer than 20 minutes.
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Abdominal aortic aneurysms occur when the large blood vessel that supplies blood to the abdomen, pelvis, and legs becomes abnormally enlarged. Back pain can be a sign that the aneurysm is becoming larger and that the risk of rupture should be assessed.
Pain in the low back can be a result of conditions affecting the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, muscles of the low back, internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen, and the skin covering the lumbar area.
A lumbar support is easy to use. You simply place it or tie to your chair or seating area, and regardless of the style of lumbar support you use, using it is as simple as sitting down. A good lumbar support will function by doing 3 main things: Reducing bending, supporting and strengthening the spine, and enforcing good posture. A lumbar support reduces bending of the spine by restricting lower back movement when you are sitting down.