Study participants sat for 30 minutes in the regular chair with vertical (90°) back support and for 30 minutes in the chair with additional lumbar support while watching a video on a computer screen placed directly in front of them in the mid-sagittal plane. The angle of visual gaze was controlled by the height of the computer monitor which was placed 15 cm above waist height for each participant. The participants’ feet rested on an adjustable foot rest such that their hips and knees were flexed to 90°. There were seven minutes of rest between conditions, whereby participants were asked to stand and move freely about. The order of conditions was randomized. All sources of metal (e.g., belts, keys in pockets, etc.) were removed prior to testing to minimize any interference with the electromagnetic equipment.
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This extremely popular 2017 article on Vox.com the “new science” of low back pain was praised by many because it superficially seems to be very modern and science-y, and it correctly dismisses a number of myths, but I think it’s an exasperating failure. It creates a strong impression of being scientifically rigorous without actually being so. It brims with promising science news about alternative treatments that do not actually stand up to more cynical and experienced analysis. Adding to the façade of scientific credibility, many of the right caveats and disclaimers about the “new science” are technically there — warnings about small effect sizes, mixed evidence, and potential flaws — but these cautions are also belated and consistently understated. The tone is overwhelmingly sunny and naïve, as though we are on the verge of a revolution in back pain treatment thanks to … a bunch of stuff that has been around forever and has clearly not been saving the world from chronic low back pain.
A popular lumbar pillow for car use, LoveHome’s memory foam cushion is recommended by chiropractors to address back pain and to aid recovery from surgery. With an adjustable strap to keep the cushion in place, it can be fitted to any car seat, office chair, computer chair, or wheelchair. Plus, it’s made with breathable fabric.
Jump up ^ Staal JB, de Bie R, de Vet HC, Hildebrandt J, Nelemans P (2008). Injection therapy for subacute and chronic low-back pain. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (3): CD001824. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD001824.pub3. PMID 18646078.
Posture when sitting – a good seat should have good back support, arm rests and a swivel base (for working). When sitting try to keep your knees and hips level and keep your feet flat on the floor – if you can’t, use a footstool. You should ideally be able to sit upright with support in the small of your back. If you are using a keyboard, make sure your elbows are at right-angles and that your are horizontal.
Fusion-based surgeries involve removing fragments of slipped discs or broken vertebrae and inserting bone-bridges and spacers, which encourage vertebrae to fuse together. This minimally invasive method re-stabilizes the spine and counteracts the effects of degeneration.
Never wash your pillow cover – the spinning motion of a washing machine will destroy the delicate fibers. Absorb any liquid spills with paper towels or a clean cloth. Dry cleaning is the best option for removing stains or occasional cleaning.
2011 — Major science update: Detailed reporting on some new yoga science. Significant re-writing of the section ensued. Sometimes new science does not back up my preconceptions: I’ve changed my tune here somewhat. [Section: Yoga and meditation are still an option, of course.]
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People who prefer to sleep on their sides may want to consider a thicker pillow. For best support, it should fill space between the neck and mattress completely. A gusseted pillow is an excellent choice for this, and there are many options available to purchase here.
David diligently followed up a month later with the following comment: “By now I’m convinced your research and recommendations are right on the money. Thanks. I’ve recommended you to a few people who, like myself, have had back problems on and off for years. Thanks for having provided such a useful tool.” ~ Paul
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Back pain can be divided into non-radicular pain and radiculopathy. Radiculopathy occurs when there is irritation in the nerve root, causing neurologic symptoms, such as numbness and tingling. Disk herniation and foraminal stenosis are the most common causes of radiculopathy. Non-radicular back pain is most commonly caused by injury to the spinal muscles or ligaments, degenerative spinal disease, or a herniated disk. Spondylosis, or spinal degeneration, occurs when the intervertebral disc undergoes degenerative changes, causing the disc to fail at cushioning the vertebrae. The space between the vertebrae becomes more narrow, resulting in compression and irritation of the nerves.
Don’t medically investigate back pain until it’s met at least three criteria: (1) it’s been bothering you for more than about 6 weeks; (2) it’s severe and/or not improving, or actually getting worse; and (3) there’s at least one other “red flag” (age over 55 or under 20, painful to light tapping, fever/malaise, weight loss, slow urination, incontinence, groin numbness, a dragging toe, or symptoms in both legs like numbness and/or tingling and/or weakness).
Yoga may be an effective strategy for alleviating back pain by making people more aware of how they move their bodies. The benefits of yoga were proven in a study of more than 100 adults with lower back pain. After taking weekly yoga classes for 12 weeks, the participants, who were between ages 20 to 64, experienced improvement in their body function and a reduced need for pain medication. At the end of the study, only 21 percent of the patients who take the yoga class were taking pain medication, down from almost 60 percent at the start.
But you can’t make everyone happy! Some people demand their money back (and get it). I have about a 1% refund rate (far better than average in retail/e-commerce). The complaints of my most disatisfied customers have strong themes:
Epidural steroid injections are most commonly used in situations of radicular pain, which is a radiating pain that is transmitted away from the spine by an irritated spinal nerve. Irritation of a spinal nerve in the low back (lumbar radiculopathy) causes pain that goes down the leg. Epidural injections are also used to treat nerve compression in the neck (cervical spine), referred to as cervical radiculopathy, which causes pain.
The low back supports the weight of the upper body and provides mobility for everyday motions such as bending and twisting. Muscles in the low back are responsible for flexing and rotating the hips while walking, as well as supporting the spinal column. Nerves in the low back supply sensation and power the muscles in the pelvis, legs, and feet.
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If your back pain is related to more serious disorders of the vertebrae or spinal nerves or if it hasn’t improved over a few weeks, you may be referred to a specialist, such as a pain specialist, an orthopedic surgeon (a doctor who specializes in diseases of the bones), a neurologist (a doctor who specializes in diseases of the nerves and brain) or a rheumatologist (an arthritis specialist).
In rich countries, the number one cause of these DALYs is not surprising: ischemic heart disease, which is associated with well-known Western issues like high cholesterol and obesity. But the number two condition is a little strange: plain, old-fashioned, ever-present, low back and neck pain:
Reenalda J, Van Geffen P, Nederhand M, Jannink M, IJzerman M, Rietman H. Analysis of healthy sitting behavior: interface pressure distribution and subcutaneous tissue oxygenation. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2009;46:577–586. doi: 10.1682/JRRD.2008.12.0164. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]