Lower Back Pain – Causes and Treatment

When you have a deadline to submit your presentation to your boss and you are in the office, late after the working hours sitting on your computer trying to gather some data and suddenly you get a striking pain in the lower back, what are you going to do about it? You can not give up on the presentation or else you would be fired but you can not even work on your presentation due to the severe pain. It can be a nightmare, is not it?

Rightly said as it is, you better take precaution than cure. But before we can speak about the treatment for lower back pain, we will first consider talking about the lower back pain causes. Lumbar strain, a stretch injury to the ligaments, tendons and muscles of the lower back; is considered one of the most common causes of lower back pain. This usually can happen due to improper sitting post or sleeping positions. Bone and joint conditions that lead to low back pain include those existing from birth, those that result from wear and tear or injury, and those that are due to inflammation of the joints (arthritis). Other causes of lower back pain include kidney problems, pregnancy, ovary problems, and tumors.

Now speaking about treatments, there are two ways the first being non-surgical and the second being surgical treatment. The best non-surgical treatment for lower back pain is exercise. Here you need to go through a physical therapy, where the therapist will carry out stretching and exercise as instructed by your physician. The therapist can also educate you on sitting postures, basic anatomy and instruction you on body mechanics, stretching and exercises. Resting is another way to treat your lower back pain. This will help the injured tissues and even nerve roots to heal over time. However a lot of rest also could be troublesome because it tends to weaken the muscles and in turn affects the support to the lower back. Medicines should only be consumed on your physician's prescription because sometimes medicines have some unique risks and may possibly have some side-effects.

After trying out all the options available, if the pain does not seem to subside; surgery could be the last and the best option to overcome the chronic pain. Here your physician would suggest you whether you need a minimal invasive surgery or a spinal fusion surgery. Minimal invasive surgery is an operation on the lumbar spinal performed using a surgical microscope and microsurgical techniques wherein, a very small incision and will remove only that portion of your ruptured disc which is “pinching” one or more spinal nerve roots; Whereas spinal fusion surgery is categorized based on the approach taken to reach the disc space.

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What Causes Back Pain?

Muscle Tension Treatments

Muscle tension can be very painful. As a result, many people will try to move as little as possible so as to minimize the pain that they have to suffer. But doing the opposite is in fact more beneficial to the injury. Moving around and stretching the affected area is in fact the best thing to do for tense muscles. Massages and applying heat to the affected areas can also help to relieve some of the pain in the muscles.

Lumbago or Low Back Pain

Lumbago happens in the lower region of the back, and can strike suddenly. The muscles will almost instantly cramp, and make the sufferer unable to move because of the pain. It is often triggered by a wrong movement, such as incorrect bending of the back, or lifting heavy objects. Although it is difficult to classify these as causes, as many people are able to perform the same actions at other times, with no bad reactions. Other factors in the cause of lumbago are difficult to determine, but some speculate that mental health and even cold weather may play a part.

It is easier to prevent lumbago than it is to treat it. As such, exercising regularly and correctly can help prevent the creation of other tense muscles, particularly in the lower back region. If the pain is unbearable, then pain killers and other medication should be used, but it must be remembered that they are only short term solutions, and will not help to prevent injuries in the future.

Sciatica and pain in the leg

Sciatica occurs when the pain in the back starts to radiate to the legs through the buttocks. The reason for this is that the sciatic nerve has been affected in some way. This is the main nerve in the back and legs, and so the pain can be felt in both areas. The triggers can vary, but some common causes include a blockage of the sacroiliac joint or a herniated disc.

The best way to try and treat the pain associated with sciatica, is to calmly and gently apply heat to the affected area. Vitamin B complex supplements (supplements containing all eight B vitamins) can also help with nerves in the body. Once the pain has subscribed a little, taking regular exercise sessions to help strengthen the back is recommended. If the pain occurs constantly then seeking medical help is strongly recommended as the cause of the pain may be more serious.

Herniated disc and unnecessary surgery

The vertebrae in the spine are all connected and able to freely move around. In order to limit the friction caused by rubbing against each other, there are cushions located in between each vertebrae. A herniated disc occurs when this pillow gets damaged, and can cause considered pain.

There is also the chance that even though there is a hernia, there is a hernia. This is common in most people over the age of 30. Whether or not there is any pain depends on where the disc slides, and if it pinches a nerve or pushes against the spinal cord. The pain can either be sudden, or get progressively worse over time. This pain can last anywhere from a week to years.

Herniated discs are mostly made up of water, roughly 95%. It will generally disappear on its own over time, and analgesics and anti-inflammatory medication can be prescribed. Surgery is only considered when the herniated disc does not seem to get better after time and physical therapy.

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Summer Gardening Tips for a Healthy, Pain Free Back

-To prevent discomfort and injury, treat garden as an athletic event. To warm up, walk for five to 10 minutes to get your heart rate up.

-While you garden, divide your activity into thirds – below the waist, between waist and shoulders, and above the shoulders, doing each for 10 to 15 minutes.

-Before and after a garden project, it is recommended to do a complete stretch and flexion of the spell for a minute or two before and after a garden project. Sit tall in a straight chair with your feet on the floor. Inhale deeply as you slowly arch your spine; then exhale slowly as you curl. Avoidraining your neck.

– Use tools, such as shears or clippers with a spring-action, self-opening feature, to prevent strain on the muscles and joints. Make sure the tools are well-oiled to open and close easily. I'd also recommend wearing garden gloves to prevent damage to your skin.

– When lifting potted plants or bags of mulch and dirt, bend your knees and lift straight up, keeping your back as straight as possible. Use your knees, rather than the back muscles, to lift and avoid twisting and turning while lifting.

– Sit while working or take sitting breaks to conserve energy and decrease stress on your back, knees and hips.

– Did you know that Lyme Disease is not just borne by ticks in the forest? It's also transported by mosquitoes. Avoid biting bugs in a natural way by using therapeutic-grade essential oils as a natural bug repellant (I'd suggest Lavender, Peppermint, or Thieves by Young Living).

– Another natural beg repellant is to plant these in your garden: citronella, lemon balm, or catnip!

– Do not try to whip your entire garden into shape in one day. This mentality leads to overdoing it and sore Monday mornings.

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Stretching To Relieve Low Back Pain

Recently, I have been getting many comments from people who want to eliminate low back pain. They understand that I talk about a lot of the driving forces, but what they specifically ask me about is the sequence that they can use. I'm going to show you various stretches that can eliminate back pain or subside the back pain you're experiencing.

You can also pair up this sequence of exercises with foam rolling and trigger point work for more effectiveness. If you can do these stretches along with foam rolling and trigger point work, your back pain will start to dramatically change within a week. You will notice that it is stronger and it can uphold itself, depending on how you deal with it.

The first exercise I want you to start focusing on is the stretching of your calf. Your calf is important to the big picture of your fascial system and your posterior layer. The calf will be a key target because it will always be tight. Since your low back and mid-back are not working very well, you're going to start picking up slack in your calves. Propping yourself up on your feet a lot more is also going to contract the calf muscles. That calf system will then start to get tighter and tighter, actually pulling more on the fascial sheath in the entire back part of your body. So if you get the calves to start working better, your lower back will also start to move more.

You want to get your calf muscles to move at first. Then you can start worrying about how to eliminate pain afterwards. Getting the muscles in the calf and back to move, will introduce blood flow, thereby promoting healing. Once you get that posterior chain to glide a little better, you're going to move to your quad muscles.

The quad is a big driver that can tilt the hips forward and pull on your lower back, resulting in a massive rotation of the spell. You want to get your quads to give the back some leeway so you can fluctuate it back and forth.

Your glow is the next muscle you want to learn how to move. This is not a huge glute stretch; you are just trying to get it to move a little. Once the hip tightens up, the glutes typically learn how to turn off. So you have to wake them up a little by getting them to move and then proceed to your lower back. At that point, your lower back should also start wanting to move a little. You want to start asking it to move a little more until the end, where you're going to do rotations of the back. This will incorporate different facets of the spine itself. If you're having lower back issues, target these muscle groups and perform foam rolling and trigger point work. It's going to start learning how to move better with these areas of focus.

Now here is the key point. This will only work if you're having a root problem in the lower body. If you have a lat issue, a shoulder issue, or a neck issue that's driving this, these exercises will not work for very long. There's a different driver in those situations and that is the tricky part. I'll talk about that in a different week. So I'm going to explain to you how to stretch each of these areas and you can continue on your own after that.

The easiest way to stretch the calf is when your body is at a 90-degree angle, with your legs laid flat. Once you're at this angle, you lock in the hips, and pull your toes toward you, to feel the stretching in your calf. Everyone says to hold stretches for hours on end, but I just want you to hold this stretch for three seconds, release it, and then take a deep breath. Pay attention to how this area moves and then let it go. It's very important that you add breathing into this. I'm a big fan of passive stretching so I use a rope. Do not use a band, because it actually has microfiber balances, which we will discuss at a different time. You are going to take a rope, pull it forwards gently, take a deep breath, and then let the rope release itself. You can do this three or four times on each leg at your discretion.

Then the easiest way to stretch your quad is to back yourself into the chair, put your right foot on the chair with your shin against it, and your knee on the ground. You want to make sure your foot and leg create a 90-degree angle. Then all you have to do is move your left knee forward. Make sure you are keeping your core tight as you stretch. As you stretch more, you can take a deep breath, let it go, then slowly move your knee back. Do this exercise on both sides.

Sitting up with your legs lying flat, bring your right bent knee over your left leg and pull it towards your left shoulder. Many people have a tendency to rotate the waist and indirectly the spine as well. Instead, just sit up straight and look forward. This is about glute movement so the more you can get one leg over the other, the more stretch you will feel in your glute.

Another exercise you can do, is slowly bringing your neck down towards your chest, rolling each vertebrae forward. Then lean a little more forward while rolling, with your back away from the wall, so you can have more access to the lower part of your back.

For this last stretch, you can take your right hand and put it under your left bent leg. As your perform this, you will notice your back start to open up and your lat will stretch, getting you to twist. This gives you a controlled rotation and allows you to control how far you reach. You will realize how much you are moving and how much you are going through the motion.

So now, get up and walk around. This will not eliminate pain like a magic pill, but it will get your back moving. Once it starts moving, it will create blood flow, causing it to heal. It's going to try to lock up, especially if you're not focusing on your driver. You need to do this consistently, pairing it up with foam rolling and trigger point work. Look at my other videos if you need help with foam rolling and trigger point work. Doing these exercises together will yield great results.

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4 Poses For Back Circulation

If you are suffering from back stiffness or back pain as a result of prolonged sitting, poor posture or improper lifting, you can engage in yoga poses that will help you to improve blood circulation in the back and spine and as a result eliminate the problem. Some of the best poses that you can engage in are:

Cat pose

This is ideal for begging yogis and it aids in stretching the aching back. To do the pose you need to get on your knees and hands and then arch your back while drawing your abdominal muscles in.

You should then relax your back and then push your abs towards the floor and then move into the cow pose. You should alternate between these two positions for 5-10 seconds.

Back bends

These bends aid in increasing circulation to the spine and lower back. The bends also aid in stretching the front of the chest and the shoulder area. To do the pose you need to lie on your stomach with the palms of your hands next to your chest.

At this position you should inhale and lift your head, chest, and shoulders off the floor. You should note that you should use your muscles and not your arms to lift yourself. You should stay in this position for a few breaths and then release and rest your upper body on the floor.

Downward facing dog

This is an intermediate pose that is done by yogis who have mastered the basic poses. To do the pose you should bend down and keep your back straight.

You should then form an upside-down V-shape by keeping the balls of your feet on the floor with both of your torso and legs at diagonal angles. You should hold in this position until you feel tension building. For ideal results you should repeat the pose for at least five times.


Twists aid in releasing tension at the back. The poses also increase feelings of calmness which makes you feel better about yourself. There are many twist variations such as the full spinal twist that you can engage in.

If you find this pose difficult to execute, you can try the separated twist which is much easier. To do the pose you need to sit in a chair and plant your feet firmly on the floor.

You should then raise your right arm over your head and then twist to the right. While resting your left hand on your outer right thigh, you should look over your right shoulder and hold in this position until you feel tension building.

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Lumbosacral Transitional Vertebra: Cause of Lower Back Pain?

There is conflicting research as to whether a condition known as lumbosacral transitional vertebra (LSTV) is associated with lower back pain. If it is, diagnosis of the condition could be critical to identifying appropriate back pain treatment, and could help avoid back surgery failure.

Lumbosacral transitional vertebra is present when there is an abnormality between the lowest lumbar vertebra (L5) and the topmost sacral vertebra (S1). In a typical spine, there are five distinct lumbar vertebrae and five distinct sacral segments, the latter of which are fused together to form a triangular bone at the base of the spine. When LSTV is present, the lumbosacral junction is abnormal.

There are four different types of LSTV:

I. One or both transverse processes are enlarged (the transverse process is a bony projection on each side of a vertebra)
II. One or both transverse processes form a joint between the sacral and lumbar vertebrae
III. Complete fusion of L5 and S1 on one or both sides
IV. Type II on one side and type III on the other (abnormal joint on one side, complete fusion on the other)

New research may help resolve the debt as to whether or not LSTV is a factor in back pain. Researchers took radiographic imaging tests of the pelvises of 5,860 individuals to determine the prevalence of various types of lumbosacral transitional vertebra and assessment for any increased incidence of back pain among those with a form of the condition. They found that 15.8% of the participants had some form of LSTV.

The two most common types of lumbosacral transitional vertebra found were types I and II; of the 15.8% with LSTV, 44.8% had type I and 43.2% had type II. Only 7.2% and 4.8% had types III and IV, respectively.

Researchers tested for correlations between different types of LSTV and back pain as well as gluteal pain. Patients with type II or type IV LSTV were more likely to exhibit either form of pain. Those with type II were 2.56 times more likely to exhibit back pain and 5.38 times more likely to exhibit gluteal pain. For those with type IV LSTV, the numbers were 4.28 and 6.82, respectively.

See more on this study at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24935139?dopt=Abstract .

The results of this study suggest a couple things. First, previous research may not have established a clear correlation between lower back pain and LSTV because the studies may not have differentiated between different manifestations of the condition. Second, it suggests that gluteal pain is far more precalent in connection with LSTV, something important to consider when diagnosing such a condition in patients.

To learn about different treatment options for lumbosacral transitional vertebra, the research that has been done into it and the importance of diagnosis before surgery, see http://www.ajnr.org/content/31/10/1778.full .

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Mind Therapies With Body Results Chronic Pain Patients Can Benefit From

We've come a long way since the days when psychotherapy and meditation techniques seemed like new age, pseudoscientific methods of attaining to health and well-being, partly thanks to an increasingly large body of research documenting the very real physical impacts these methods have. Still, old inclinations, opinions and aversions die hard. Getting acquainted with the research into relaxation techniques and a form of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy may help some chronic pain patients warm up to the idea of ​​a mind-focused therapy that has bodily results.

Relaxation Techniques

Meditation has been shown by research to impact many systems within the body, including the digestive system, immune system, inflammatory response and metabolism. A small 2013 study found that these changes can be traced down to the level of our genes. Twenty-six participants took an 8-week course in relaxation training geared toward teaching them how to elicit the relaxation response – a state of deep relaxation – at will. Before and after training, researchers analyzed 22,000 gene expressions before and after participants recorded to a relaxation-prompting CD; they found that gene expression post-training differed significantly from the pre-training results.

The study also included a group of participants with between four and 25 years of experience with some form of relaxation technique, including meditation, breathing technique and yoga. This group showed the most drastic difference in gene expression before and after listening to the prompting CD. See more on this study at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130501193204.htm .

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy geared towards helping patients identify and structure counterproductive, negative and inaccurate thought patterns. Chronic pain patients can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy by acquiring a more accurate understanding of pain and a more proactive mindset. These may encourage patients to be more active, bothby reducing pain and improving quality of life.

Researchers recently found that patients who pursue CBT exhibit an increase in brain gray matter similar to what patients exhibit after effective surgery. Gray matter functions to route and process various stimuli. Patients with chronic pain often have a reduced gray matter density in certain areas of the brain, including the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.

Research has shown that chronic pain patients experience a rebound in gray matter density after surgical procedures ease their pain. Researchers found that, after 11 weeks of CBT, 13 chronic pain patients experienced a comparable increase in gray matter, suggesting better emotional regulation in the face of pain. Their pain scores also dropped one point on a 10-point scale.

See more on this at http://www.painresearchforum.org/news/34218-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-changes-gray-matter-morphology-chronic-pain .

Far from new-age pseudoscience, relaxation techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy affect us on fundamental physical levels – genes and brain structure. They hold promise for individuals with stress, anxiety, depression, and even chronic pain. Consider them as safe options for pain and stress management.

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Fact Sheet for Your Spine and Spine Care in a Normal Life

Our daily habits, movements and our daily intake all impact the body on a daily basis. Most of us forget that daily activities affect our body and many of us have developed bad habits that affect the different parts of the body. The spine- or backbone – is instrumental to the strength, support, flexibility and range of movement our bodies possess. It's a complicated structure, with many interconnected and interdependent components. The cervical spine is truly fascinating, but while its complexity interests us, it's also one reason so many different spinal conditions exist. If you're suffering from back pain beyond occasional stiffness and muscle stress, you must consult a spinal specialist to determine the problem. A few tips mentioned below will help you understand how to maintain your healthy spine, to improve your neck and back, and to reduce these habits that affect your body.

Take up daily exercise routine and stick to it

Certain exercises will not only keep the spinal flexible and supple, but also prevent it from getting damage as the body ages. Certain specific exercises like walking, swimming, aerobics and even working out at the gym will provide long term benefits for the good health of the spinal. Avoid habits like crossing your legs while at your desk, bending your head down while at the computer, and avoid holding the desktop phone against your shoulder. The Cervical Spine is the main bone structure that supports the whole body; therefore it is essential that it is in the peak of health.

Certain movements must be restricted

Our spine undergoes immense stress on a daily basis. Whether it reaching for something on the ground or lifting something heavy, you back endures a lot of pressure. Each time we do any action involving out back, we risk the cervical spine to immune injuries. To prevent any chance of possible injury one must remember a few tips. If the object you are lifting is heavy, do not bend over it, rather bend your hips and knees and keep your back straight. Always lift smoothly and not with a jerk, and never twist your back.

Maintain a good posture

Good post helps your spell. A poor posture can damage the spine and its muscles and ligaments. A curved posture places abnormal stress on muscles and ligaments, causes backache and fatigue, and can even cause the spine to become fixed in an abnormal position. Always stand straight and keep your shoulder blades pulled back and down, and your knees and back straight. Hold your head up straight, not tilting in any direction. As a general guideline, your earlobes should be above the middle of your shoulders. Especially when you are sitting at your work desk, you should sit comfortably with your spine erect and your neck in level with the screen in front of you.

Stay hydrated. Staying hydrated is important to maintaining soft tissue elasticity and fluidity in joints. Include a healthy lifestyle when it comes to food. Eating a balanced diet that includes the right amount and variety of vitamins and nutrients will reduce back problems by nourishing the bones, muscles, disks and other structures in the spine. Particular importance is given to calcium, which can be obtained through a variety of healthy food choices as well as nutritional supplements. Broccoli and spinach is a good source of calcium.

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A Practical Health Guide for Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis

These terms have confused quite a few patients, due to the similar names and pronunciation. But they are very different when it comes to symptoms. In this article, we will be giving you a practical health guide for Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis and the various spondylosis treatments available.

Spondylolysis is defined as a defect of a vertebra or the pars interarticularis of the vertebral arch. A majority of the cases occurs in the lowest of the lumbar vertebrae (L5). If the pars “cracks” or fractures, it is spondylolysis. On the other hand, with spondylolisthesis, the pars interarticularis defect can be on one side of the spine or both sides. The fraction gap widens and the vertebra shifts forward. It occurs mostly at lumbar 4-5 and rarely higher.

It is known that spondylolysis is the most common cause of isthmic spondylolisthesis. Isthmic spondylolisthesis is where the bone slips over the other and is the most common cause of back pain in adolescent. The most common symptom is back or leg pain that limits a patient's activity.

You must understand the cause before you can start the spondylosis treatment. There are several causes for spondylolysis. One such cause is the hereditary factor in the genetics of the family. An individual may be born with a thin vertebral bone and prone to this condition. Also, significant periods of rapid growth may encourage slippage. Overuse of bones of the lower back in some sport events like gymnastics, weight lifting and football cause a lot of stress on the bones resulting in a stress fracture on one or both sides of the vertebra. Spondylolisthesis cause spasms that stiffen the back causing the hamstring muscles to tighten resulting in changes to posture and pace. If the slippage is significant, it may begin to compress the nerves and narrow the spinal canal.

Only an x-ray of the lumbar spine will show the position of the vertebra; where the pars interarticularis is part of the lumbar spine. Typically, the fifth lumbar vertebra lifts on the part of the pelvic bone called the sacrum. The doctor measuring the standing lateral spine X-rays determines the amount of forward.

The spondylosis treatment consists of various options of non invasive medical procedures, back brace and physical therapy. Firstly, the individual should take adequate rest so that the symptoms go away. If back pain occurs, anti-inflammatory or pain killers may be used, under the advice of the specialist. A back brace and physical therapy may be recommended, depending on the extent of the injury. Stretching and strengthening exercises for the back and abdominal muscles can help prevent future recurrences of pain. If there is a drastic change in the slippage, or the back pain does not respond to previous procedures, invasive medical procedures must be undertaken, only as a last resort.

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Causes and the Treatments for Back Pain

Experiencing back pain can be one of the worst feelings that any person can go through, as it makes any action of movement difficult and painful. It also reduces the person's overall wellness and activity. Studies have shown that back pain and neck pain are one of the leading conditions that cause disruption in a person's daily work

There are many forms of back pain treatment and neck pain treatment, depending on the level of pain and the diagnosis given. While most forms of treatment available for neck pain treatment and back pain can be easily researched online, it is important to get an expert opinion for the same. Some forms of treatment protocols that are available to patients after a proper diagnosis includes:

Analgesics and NSAIDS:

This form of treatment includes traditional forms of pain medications that are used to treat lower back pain. This includes acetaminophen, NSAIDs, oral steroids, narcotic drugs, muscle relaxants and anti-depressants. Each type of medication comes with their own set of strengths, limitations, and risks. It is thus important to understand the particular problem faced in the lower back and overall health to determine which pain reliever, if any, is beneficial. However, it is best to consume such medication under the strict guidance of a specialist, as there could be harmful side effects when taken irresponsibly.


A programmer of back exercises and physical therapy will typically include a combination of strengthening, stretching, and low-impact aerobic exercise. Your specialist will specify the best combination of exercise routines that will treat the pain. This can include hydrotherapy, as the density of water reduces your weight, allowing for more flexibility and less pressure on the affected regions.

Therapeutic massage:

Massage therapy is thought to improve blood flow, reduce muscle stiffness and decrease overall lower back stiffness. It causes a relaxation response, which is an involuntary, yet predictable response of the nervous system to massage techniques and touch. Massage is believed to improve blood and lymph circulation as well. This is probably due, partly to the physical manipulation of soft tissue, and partly to the chemicals released as part of the relaxation response. It helps with improved circulation, which in turn enhances the delivery of oxygen and pain relievers to muscle cells.

Behavioral therapy:

This is a form of therapy that helps people identify and develop skills to change thoughts and behavior, which include awareness of the pain and developing better coping skills. This helps in realizing the cause of the pain and reducing it. It also helps reduce the stress caused by the pain and in turn impacts the chemical reaction of the brain, making the body's natural pain relief response more powerful. This type of therapy may include a combination of medication, meditation and weight loss.

Spinal manipulation:

This treatment may be applied by a chiropractor, osteopathic doctor or other qualified health professionals. It is thought to help reduce lower back pain by reducing pressure on sensitive structures, increasing flexibility, improving blood flow and reducing muscle tension.


Acupuncture is the stimulation of specific acupoints along the skin of the body involving various methods such as the application of heat, pressure, or laser or penetration of thin needles, which improve blood flow and relaxes the nerve system, reducing stress.

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Non-Surgical Options of Treatment for Lower Back Pain

On many occasions, back pain caused from strenuous activity can be annoying and restrictive. When, however, there are recurring cases of severe back pain, patients often resort to any form of treatment to find quick relief. These can include temporary forms of treatment like painkillers or extreme forms like a decision to undergo a medical procedure. Before you make such a decision, it is imperative that you look at all the options available before making a choice, as a hasty decision can have a negative effect on your future.

Most spelling specialists, while addressing a patient's back pain, advice non-surgical methods of treatment, as opposed to surgery, which have been proved to offer the same benefits in pain relief and function and at a lower cost and recovery time. Lower back pain is not a stranger to most people. Patients suffering from disc injuries or sciatica can testify to the pain being quite severe. While traditional options for treating lower back pain range from simple actions like changing posture to medical procedures, other forms of treatment are now available.

With advances in treatment protocols, back surgery is now an optional procedure, and many established experts now recommend that patients undergo non-invasive options, especially when dealing with lower back pain. While the diagnosis will vary from case to case, many individuals can feel more empowered while choosing non-surgical methods for relief, knowing that it is a more beneficial option.

A few non surgical options that patients can opt for include:

• Back Brace Support: A physiotherapist will fit you with a brace to support your back. This works well with repeating forms of lower back pain.

• Hydrotherapy treatment: water reduces the weight of your body and so you can take up light exercises to strengthen your muscles.

• Restoring muscles with movement: the muscles near the affected area soon became unused and weak. To prevent this, specialists will ensure that the muscles receive adequate yet gentle exercising to keep it flexible.

• Pilates: certain postures help the muscles stretch and increase the blood flow to certain parts of the body. With Pilates, you can control the affected muscles

It is important that you research the various options available before making a decision. If you must, take a second opinion, especially if you are unsure of the previous diagnosis. Before you make any decisions, research the pros and cons of the type of medical procedure you will be under.

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Imaging Tests Improve the Outcome of Back Pain Treatment

Back pain is one of the most common pain conditions and a leading cause of work disability. Effective treatment is hard to come by because there are many potential causes of pain, most of which are difficult to diagnose.

One common diagnostic method for chronic back pain is magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Research over the past few years has called into question the usefulness of this type of test for properly diagnosing the cause of pain, as it may falsely identify “abnormalities” in the spine as the cause of pain when the abnormalities themselves are asymptomatic. There is growing opposition in the medical community to using this diagnostic method for cases of back pain without neurological symptoms.

Unnecessary tests drive up medical bills without yielding results. The problem with MRIs should not be taken to mean that all imagining tests for back pain are called into question, however. Research has found that a type of test called single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) may be a more reliable tool for steering the course of treatment.

The Test

The SPECT imaging test involves the injection of a radioactive substance into a patient's body. It affords medical professionals a detailed look into what is happening in your back, including the way blood is flowing and sites of inflammation. The test holds more promise than a basic bone scan, MRI or X-ray for identifying sneaky causes of pain.

Currently, the SPECT is used primarily for analyzing and diagnosing problems within the brain, heart and bones. With increasing evidence of its useful in back pain diagnosis, it may someday soon move into this area as well.

Recently, researchers assessed the impacts of SPECT imaging in conjuction with basic computed tomography (CT) on patient outcomes compared to a control group receiving no imaging tests before treatment. Forty adults were in each group. Many more members in the imaging test group attained at least 50% pain reduction than in the control group. Twenty-eight who received scans achieved between 70% and 100% pain relief, compared to only 10 in the control group. The imaging tests altered diagnosis for 23 of the patients in the bone scan group. These results suggest that the test can lead to more effective treatment. Learn more about the study at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140609140814.htm .

This is not the only evidence in support of using SPECT as part of back pain diagnosis. For example, a 2006 study found that the imaging test helped prevent needless administration of facet joint injections and led to more effective treatment. See more on this at http://interactive.snm.org/index.cfm?PageID=4825 .

Effective treatment starts with an accurate diagnosis, and the SPECT imaging test may help some patients achieve both. If more research confirms its usefulness, the SPECT may become a more standard, insured diagnosis test for back pain patients.

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Back Spasm Tips

What to do when a back spasm strikes. Back spasms often require immediate care and attention. Here are some important tips and guidelines to follow.

Stop and Rest

Find immediate rest. Carefully move to a bed or comfortable surface to remain immobile. Your spasm is a warning sign that you must not continue to move, and to stop the activity that triggered it. By lying down, you will help to stop triggering the muscles that are in spasm and reduce the intensity and duration of the spasm.

Relax the Muscles

Try to relax the muscles that are in spasm with slow and controlled breaths. The muscles are contracting in order to keep you from moving. This is to protect another area of ​​your body that is a risk of injury such as a weaker muscle, a joint or a disc. When you are stationary in bed, you can provide this immobility. After, you can focus on relaxing these very tight and rigid muscles. Because the muscle is spasm, it is becoming progressively shorter and consequently more painful. As you try to relax, do not allow the muscle to contract further. Instead, try to extend it with very gentle bending and extending movements opposite to the contracting of the muscle. A few degrees is all that is required. Take very slow and controlled inward and outward breaths to become more calm and to help relax yourself, even though you are uncomfortable.

Stretch Carefully and Slowly

Extend the muscle that is in spasm. Do not try to over stretch. Only allow very slow increments. Extend and move gradual. By increasing the length of the muscle, you will decrease the amount of pain from that muscle. This also reduces injury to the area that the muscle is trying to protect. Alternate periods of stretching with rest. Do not allow the muscle to contract during your rest phase as it will re-spasm.

Treat the Area

Gentle massaging may help with soothing the pain and allow the muscle to slowly release. Try only to massage the muscle gently. Avoid massaging if the muscle is directly over the source of injury. You do not want to aggravate an injured joint or nerve with massage.

If the pain is severe and mobility is very difficult, anti-inflammatory or anti-spasmodic medication may be required. Use with caution and only if needed. Avoid relying on medication to control your spasm as it may interfere with proper treatment.

For the first 48-72 hours after your spasm, carefully apply a cold pack to the area to reduce any inflammation present. Protect the skin from any risk of ice burn with a thin towel before applying the pack. Apply for 20 minutes and use every 1-2 hours as needed.

After 72, carefully apply moist heat. A wet towel or warm shower will help. Its is important to improve circulation to the injured muscle in order for it to recover and function well.

Make sure that you are drinking enough fluids as dehydration and loss of electrolytes may affect the length and success of your recovery.

Consult a physician to diagnoseose any serious injury that may be under under cause of your back spasms.

Targeted Exercise

When you can resume normal activities again, follow a low back pain exercise routine that is designed to prevent the recurrence of your spasm.

It may be the cumulative weakness, tightness and imbalances of the muscles that protect the lumbar spine that require attention and conditioning. Avoid returning to your normal routine unless you adjust your routine in order that it is safer for your back. By not adjusting your routine or treating the source of your back spasm, it may ever return. Prevention is essential to long term healing and recovery.

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Obstacles to Effective Lower Back Pain Relief

Reasons we may struggle with finding appropriate treatment for low back pain.

Mistakes that We Might Make

Lower back pain can affect your ability to perform and function well in many areas of life. This includes many basic activities of daily living, household duties, yard work and gardening, or recreational sports like golfing or tennis, to name a few. These often become progressively more challenging and difficult to perform when complicated with lower back problems.

With a proper foundation of exercises and stretches that target and retrain the muscles that affect the lower back, one can enjoy improved functioning and performance across these areas. However it requires a commitment of time and effort for results.

Chronic low back pain often restricts our low back muscles, hips and legs from operating in the way they naturally are made to. Pain from the lumbar spine or strained and fatigued muscles in this area act as a deterrent and limit our movement. Correct movements became more difficult to perform due to pain and reduced mobility. We tend to move our bodies differently to avoid further pain and end up using less specialized muscle groups instead. These muscles then learn to move incorrectly over time and may cause problems to our back later on. These muscles then become progressively more sore and strained, also presenting pain. This complicates our lower back issues and causes us to have more difficulty in troubleshooting which areas of our lower back are the source of our pain. This complication may cause us to treat these less relevant areas of the body.

By not treating the more critical areas that are the source of our pain, we end up applying temporary treatment to the wrong area. This naturally results in a cycle of ineffective treatment and temporary relief. Because the source of the pain has not been addressed yet, sufferers may mistakenly be led to believe that their pain can not be helped and may resign to accept chronic back pain.

Problems Over Time

Chronic lower back pain does not happen overnight. Lower back pain develops from cumulative factors that operate individually or together to cause stress to the lumbar vertebrae and discs. Before you notice any pain to your lower back, a series of problems would have developed in order for it to occur. For example, the lumbar spell is capable of withstanding significant amounts of force and pressure, even if unbalanced. However, the discs and joints involved have their upper limit in which too much pressure will result in nerve impingement, disc bulge (or tear), or joint wear. The smaller intrinsic muscles that keep the spell stable also have their limits. They begin to strain and fatigue from constant pressure or load bearing. They risk strain, sprain, tear or spasm when pushed beyond their limit.

Mixed Signals from the Body

These areas of the body are very strong and are capable to bear the load and dynamic presses we place on them. However, they usually bear until failure with little signs of warning except for a dull pain in some cases. We are not usually sensitive to these warning signals and generally interpret it as a minor problem that over-the-counter medications can remedy. Through repeated cycles of this process, the risk of serious injury and pain is more likely.

This tendency to misinterpret the source of certain types of low back pain and the corresponding treatment results a significant obstacle to proper long term treatment.

Specific Exercises as an Option to Explore

The idea of ​​exercise to treat low back pain can certainly be intimidating as one may believe that there would be a risk of exacerbating or causing more pain from exercise. Therefore, it is important to follow the correct method of exercise that is protective to the spine and not harmful.

There are exercises specific to low back pain that can be learned. These are effective in preventing the spelling to function as intended and not compensate for other muscles groups that were previously neglected. Exercises that target the hip flexors, leg muscles and lower back are very beneficial to protection of the lumbar spine. Transferring the responsibility of work performed by the spine back to the muscles of the lower back, hips and legs is necessary to prevent and reverse low back pain issues. Without this, the lumbar spine compensates for the lack of adequate movement required of these muscles and joints and the risk of strain and injury to the spine and invertebral discs increases. This results in the acute and chronic forms of pain that we experience over time.

Exercise should not be seen as an activity to perform while in pain with the hope of the pain resolving. Rather, it is the means to retrain and recondition the body to function effectively in order to protect the lumbar spinal from pain. In order to stay motivated to this reconditioning, and to see the benefits on the spine, it is also helpful to understand the purpose of each muscle group being trained.

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Common Back Pain Treatments

Back pain can be one of the most frustrating conditions for patients as well as for their doctors. First, many patients do not recognize that back pain is not, in and of itself, a condition. Instead, it is a symptom which points to another condition and identifying that condition based on back pain alone can be difficult. As a result of the multitude of causes which can lead to pain on the back, there are many different treatments available.

Pain Medication

There are innumerable pain medications available, and many can be effective when dealing with certain types of temporary pain. Over the counter medications, like NSAIDs (non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) include aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. These medications can be good for short-term pain, but often can not be used for chronic pain. Opioid painkillers like morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine can be used with a prescription, but can pose difficulties with long-term use if the cause of the pain is not identified.

Chiropractic Treatment

In some cases, chiropractic treatment can help to treat pain. Chiropractic care should be underaken under the advice of a physician. Chiropractic intervention involves the manual manipulation of the spinal in order to reduce undue pressure in painful areas.

Electrical Stimulation and Electro-thermal Therapy

For some types of chronic pain, stimulating the nerves with electrical pulses can provide relief. These treatments rely on battery operated devices which deliver an electrical current by way of the skin to small electrodes placed near the painful area. This stimulates the nerves in such a way that the pain messages being sent to the brain are interrupted, reducing the amount of pain being perceived by the patient.

Back Pain Surgeries

For some people, surgery may be required to manage their back pain. Surgery for pain, as is the case with many other surgery types, is generally only considered when the pain can not be managed in other ways. There are a number of different types of pain surgery, each performed for specific reasons. Spinal fusion is the most common, and involves fusing the vertebrae together to restrict movement and to limit nerve stretching. Although this may sound as if it limits one's range of movement, spinal fusion often does not limit mobility enough to significantly impact lifestyle. Laminectomy is another type of surgery which involves the removal of parts of the bones associated with spinal, or removal of ligaments. The goal of laminectomy is to reduce pressure on nerves associated with back pain.

Choosing the Right Treatment

The many different treatments available and the multitude of causes behind the pain can make choosing the right treatment a complex matter. For many people, going to a general practitioner is not enough. Back pain doctors are the specialists best qualified to diagnoseose causes of the pain and to determine which treatments will be most effective at both reducing back pain and at addressing the specific cause of the patient's discomfort. General practitioners, for this reason, frequently refer patients to a pain doctor.

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