Archive for the 'Back pain' Category

Lower Back Pain Medication

Saturday, September 17th, 2011 No Commented
Under: Back pain

From a frustrating ache to an agony so incredible to the point that altering positions while sleeping is really a problem, it just proves that you’ll require an immediate back pain medication.

There are numerous opportunities that go hand in hand with it such as accidental injuries to the muscle groups, ligaments or disks that have happened throughout an activity such as having to lift heavy mass of items.

It could even be caused by a pinched nerve, swelling infection, backbone arthritis, unusual tumors, thinning osteoporosis along with bone scoliosis. Nonetheless, there are several that their own amount of weakness is factored genetically which makes it prone to stress.

Back pain medication can certainly range between making use of analgesics which reduces inflammation, restores appropriate function as well as prevents injury recurrence. Most sufferers recover even in the lack of residual function loss. Nonetheless, when there is no apparent lowering of the twinge following seventy two hours of self- care, it is already a must to speak to a doctor.

Here is a list of basic back pain medication you could perform at the comforts of your own personal residence:

Different temperatures

Employing hot and cold compresses have never been scientifically proven for back pain medication but it has been tested to allow increased mobility for many people. After having a trauma, patients ought to utilize a bag of ice covered with towel to the delicate sport for up to 20 minutes each day. After 2 to 3 days, a heat pad will then be utilized for brief periods to relax muscles and escalate the flow of blood.

Retire in a relaxed manner

In 1996, a Finnish study said that persons that carry on together with their respective works without being able to have bed rest ahead of the onset of injury have much better muscle overall flexibility compared to those who did for one week. Others furthermore claim that such back pain medication results to secondary complications such as psychological depression, decreased tone of muscle as well as blood clots in the legs. Within the evenings, individuals should lay on a single side together with a cushion placed between the knees.

Sweaty calisthenics

Carrying out an exercise is the most successful manner if you desire speed inside your back pain medication. It’s important specifically for individuals who have skeletal irregularities to preserve and build strength muscles. If you don’t know of any, you could ask your medical professional for reference. For sure the list that they’ll provide consists of swimming as well as walking as you would expect. There’s also motion therapies to develop correct posture.

Therapeutic pins

Acapuncture is a type of lumbar pain medication that involves the insertion of needles. It is the size of human hair strand across the precise points through the entire body. Experts of this think that it triggers the release of naturally transpiring painkilling components called peptides. Additionally, it keeps the body?s flow of energy normal again.

SI Joint Dysfunction

Thursday, August 25th, 2011 No Commented
Under: Back pain

Sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction, once the most commonly diagnosed cause of lower back pain, fell out of the medical mind in the 1930’s when herniated discs became the main scapegoats for back pain. Recently the diagnosis of SI joint dysfunction began to reemerge on the medical scene. Some estimate that it is to blame for 15% of lower back pain instances, but is often confused with sciatica or disc damage.

The SI joint is located on each side of the body where the sacrum at the bottom of the spine connects with the ilia, or the large bones of the pelvis. This joint is less than one inch long and has a very small range of motion. It is responsible for transferring the forces of the upper body to the lower body.

If an SI joint is misaligned, or if it moves too much or too little, then SI joint dysfunction is present. The condition entails pain at the site of the affected joint that can radiate through the lower back, buttocks, hip and sometimes into the leg, particularly the back of the thigh.

There are a number of ways in which SI joint dysfunction can manifest.

— A genetic cause is leg length discrepancy. This will cause the pelvis, and therefore the join ts, to be misaligned.

— Another cause of SI joint dysfunction is muscle imbalance. The pelvis is the site of many muscles that work closely together to control the movements of the lower body and to support the weight of the upper body. If a muscle imbalance exists, the web of tough ligaments that supports the joint will be tugged in one direction, pulling the joint out of its proper position either upward, downward, to the front or to the back.

An example of muscle imbalance causing SI joint dysfunction is that of tight lower back and hip flexor muscles combined with weak hamstrings and abdominal muscles. Hip flexors (muscles in the hip that work to pull the knee upward) and lower back muscles often become tight due to poor posture and improper bending and lifting technique, two biomechanical problems that also lead to underused, weak abdominal and hamstring muscles. The pulling action of the tight, shortened muscles on the pelvis causes it to tilt forward. The ligaments of the joint are strained by this, and the joint may become dislodged.

— Another cause of SI joint dysfunction is trauma. A hard fall or other blow to the pelvis can wrench the SI joint out of place. This can create hypermobility or hypomobility of the joint, and both abnormalities provoke the body’s inflammatory response to block off the area. Significant pain results.

— Other causes of the condition include infection, pregnancy hormones and osteoarthritis.

How to Test for SI joint dysfunction

The only medically certain diagnostic test for this condition involves injecting a numbing agent into the joint and seeing if this alleviates pain.

There are other, less certain tests that are still deemed valid for diagnosing the condition. One indicator may be obvious to you without the help of a medical professional: if one side of your pelvis is higher or more forward than the other side.

Understanding Back Pain to Find the Proper Treatment

Sunday, August 21st, 2011 No Commented
Under: Back pain

To understand how back pain is produce in the body we need to mention that the spine, or vertebral column, is composed of vertebral bodies separated by intervertebral disks. There are 7 cervical vertebrae(C1-7), 12 Thoracic vertebrae(T1-12), 5 lumbar vertebrae (L1-5), 5 fused sacral vertebrae (S1-S5) and 4 fused coccygeal vertebrae. The four regions of the spine differ significantly in their flexibility.

Every pair of vertebrae of the spinal column is separated by a disc and there are more than 30 disks in the entire vertebral column. The Disk is composed of the annulus pulposus, the annulus fibrosus and the end plates. The disk is a hydraulic system that keep the vertebra apart. It acts to cushion any balance or pressure and permits the functional unit to move in flexion to the front, extension to the back, and to the side. The intervertebral discs form approximately 25 percent of the length of the vertebral column. However, this percentage varies in the different parts of the spinal column. In the cervical region the discs contribute 22 percent of the length of the column, in the thoracic region 20 percent, and in the lumbar are 33 percent.

The annulus fibrosus of the intervertebral disc is composed of 90 sheets of laminated collagen fibers that are oriented vertically in the peripheral layers and more obliquely in the central layers. The cellular elements of the disc cannot receive blood nutrients thorough the mediation of the synovial fluid but must rely on a diffusional system that provides a metabolic exchange with the vessels that lie withing the vertebral bodies. The nutrition of the intervertebral disc, at birth is performed by some blood vessels that penetrate the disc from the vertebral bone and lateral margins of the annulus, however in the adult stage the disc is totally avascular. The lumbar disc are in fact the largest avascular tissues in the body. The cells of the discs must therefore derive their nutrients and dispose of their waste metabolic products by diffusion from and to blood vessels at the disc margins.

Many of the tissued in the spine contain elastic and collagen fibers with mechanical properties. The collagen fibres in the annulus are arranged in a definitive geometric pattern, while the nucleus contains a few randomly dispersed collagen fibrils. The primary function of the intervertebral disc is to allow the spine to twist and bend to an almost continuously variable range of postures. As a resulted of their positions in the spine, the discs are subjected to compressive forces. It’s the nucleus, the most highly hydrated part of the disc, which contributes the majority of the internal pressure needed to balance the applied pressure.

The neck is the most flexible part and its discs are relatively thick, and it can be moved easily in all directions. In the chest region the discs are thinner. The lumbar region is relatively flexible because the discs in this area are thick and it has no rib cage to stiffen it. The sacral region is the least flexible part of the spine.

The intervertebral disk is a hydraulic system composed of a fibroelastic envelope containing a colloidal gel in its center. The fluid contained withing the confines of the encircling annulus is a colloidal gel and by its self-contained fluidity has all the characteristics of a hydraulic system. If increased intradiscal pressure forces fluid out of the disc, when pressure is released or decreased fluid returns into the disc by imbibition.

The disc is constructed like an automobile tire, and like a tire has a high internal pressure of its own. While a tire’s pressure comes from compressed air, the disc’s pressure is due to water. Discs are over 80 percent water. The discs’s high water content makes it highly elastic, that is, able to change its shape and then return to its original form. The disc is, in fact, one of the body’s chief shock absorbers.

Compression of the disk takes place in the annulus, if a vertebral disc unit is subjected to massive compression the fluid is rapidly squeezed out of the nucleus. The intervertebral disk has the ability to absorbe large amounts of water, and the essential compound involved in this process is a protein /Polysaccharide gel that can bind almost 90 times its own volume of water. The water is attracted to the ground substance because it contains glycosaminoglycons to high osmotic pressure to allows tissue to withstand compressive load. Osmosis leads to a high internal fluid pressure which can support a load just as the pressure of air in attire supports the weight of a car. With only a limited blood supply, especially to the inner aspects of the disc, the continual changeover of fluid in the nucleus, that it’s ability to be hydrated and dehydrated in a cyclical manner. The nucleus can balance the average compression forces when comparatively fully hydrated. When the nuclear tissue of the disc is damage this hydraulic action is lost. Normally the body weight and other compression forces are transmitted through the nucleus, the hydraulic action of which distributes pressure equally over the surface of the vertebra and the annulus fibrosus.

With nuclear destruction pressure is no longer evenly distributed and the major consequence of disc degeneration is the loss of hydrostatic properties, and the gradual decrease in the osmotic swelling pressure of the intervertebral disc. The ability of the disc to imbibe water and distributed load deteriorates with aging, largely owing to changes in the molecular proteoglycans and collagen.

When the nuclear tissue of the disc is damage this hydraulic action is lost. Normally the body weight and other compression forces are transmitted through the nucleus, the hydraulic action of which distributes pressure equally over the surface of the vertebra and the annulus fibrosus.

In back problems if the disc presses upon any several roots of the sciatic nerve, the person affected will feel the disctintive pain of sciatica and also may have numbness or muscular weakness in the affected leg. If the disc press instead on nerve roots in the neck, then person may feel pain shooting down an arm and have numbenesss and muscle weakness in the hand and fingers. Or if the disc presses nerves in the cauda equine, the continuation of the spinal cord supplying the bladder and bowels, the person may have trouble urinating or defecating. One common sign of back trouble is the excruciating pain called sciatica because it follows the course of the sciatic nerve, the largest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerves are formed in the hip region, one on each side, by the combination of several nerves that emerge from the lower part of the spine.
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There are 31 pairs of spinal nerves that arise from the spinal cord at each level and exit through the intervertebral foramina. There are 8 cervical, 12 thoracic, 5 lumbar, 5 sacral, and 1 coccygeal nerve. We have 31 pairs of these nerve roots, 62 altogether, emerging from the spine. Each pair of nerves roots services a specific part of the body. The pair of nerves emerging from between the fourth and fifth neck vertebrae, for instance, activates muscles that help, over the shoulders. The nerves coming out from between the sixth and seventh neck vertebrae run to muscles serving the wrist and fingers. In the lower spine, nerves that exit from between the fourth and fifth lumbar vertebrae go to muscles moving the hips and knees, while those emerging from between the fifth lumbar vertebrae and the sacrum activate our feet.

Mechanic damage of the spine is generally believe to be a major cause of low back pain. The spine is a highly sophisticated mechanical system of which the tissues are presumably well suited to withstand the forces to which they are normally subjected. Nevertheless, if the tissues are abused, they will be damaged and act as sources of pain either directly through their own nerve supply, or indirectly, because they become distorted and compress nerve roots.

Disc lesions are probably best classified according to location, namely cervical, thoracic or lumbar, according to type, namely, bulging, protruded or herniated (ruptured); according to consistency, namely, soft or calcified, and according to position, namely midline or lateral. Bulging disks represent a very early manifestation of displacement, associated with minimal thinning of the annulus fibrosus in that particular area. They are always of soft consistency. It is at this stage that disks are probable amenable to conservative therapy. A certain degree of scarring occurs, and with bed rest, aproppiate exercises and a general improvement in overall health and posture, the weakness in the annulus fibrosus and, possibly, in the posterior longitudinal ligament often seem to disappear. In protruded disks, there is marked thinning of the annulus fibrosus, and probable few such lesions heal spontaneously, in spite of any form of conservative therapy. They maybe soft or calcified. These disks represent further progression of bulging disks and consist of lesions in which there remains merely a thin layer of annulus fibrosus overlying the protruding nucleus pulposus. Protruded disks are the most common form of disk disease.

In Intervertebral disk lesions the direction of the protrusion will determine the symptoms. The osteophytos developed and protrude in four general directions: posterior, posterolateral, lateral and anterior. Symptoms may result, depending on the anatomic structures adjacent to the vertebrae whose function is impared from compression. The ligaments that surround the disk are taut when the disk is normal, these ligaments become loose and redundant when the disk collapses. Progresive enlargement of the osteophytes may continue until they encroach on vital soft tissues adjacent to the spine, causing symptoms.

In the Cervical region the most common sites of occurrence of such lesions are between C5 and C6 and between C6 and C7, with the later being the more frequent on the two sites. In the Lumbar region the most common sites are L4 to L5 and L5 to S1 interspaces, the latter being the more frequent. Approximately 90 % of disk herniation will occur toward the bottom of the spine at L4-L5 (Lumbar segments 4 and 5) or L5-S1 (lumbar segment 5 and sacral segment 1).

Disk problems in the cervical spine will not only cause neck pain, but may experience headaches, shoulder, arm and hand pain, numbeness or weakness, chest pain, Thyroid problems, as well as ringing in the ears and blurred vision.

In the thoracic area can lead to middle back pain, pain radiating around the rib cage, chest pain, heart palpitations, difficult breathing, and headaches. And finally in the lumbar region can lead to low back pain, pain traveling down the leg, pain in the feet, bowel and bladder problems, as well as sexual organ dysfunction. In disc problems the disc don’t receive very good blood flow. Blood is responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to injured tissues for faster healing, and because the discs don’t receive this blood supply, then tend to be very problematic when it comes to healing.

Herniated disks, or the so-called rupture form, are seen in cases in which there is an actual tear in the annulus fibrosus and posterior longitudinal ligament, with escape of part of the nucleus pulposus through the tear. A small fragment of the nucleus pulposus may escape or there may be completed herniation, with the degenerated disk lying free.

Calcification of the end plates cartilage and vascular changes seen in older vertebrae probable impede the delivery of disc nutrients from the blood. Disc nutrition is made by diffusion, diffusion of solutes occurs through the central portion of the end plates and through the annulus. Glucose and oxygen enter via the end plates.

The nucleus pulposus may act as a chemical or a inmmunogenetic irritant to the nerve roots. The nerve roots showed different degrees of inflammatory response, which is a physical impediment to the diffusion of nutrients from the cerebrospinal fluid through the membranes of the nerve root. This produces conditions that prevent or delay the delivery of essential nutrients normally supplied by the microavasculature. Its not the mechanical pressure alone that causes the phenomena of nerve root pain but rather an abnormal chemical environment of nerve root that alters electrical activity. The nerve root can be involved in nerve root compression or nerve root irritation.

The supporting structures that give the spine stability include the anterior longitudinal ligament, the posterior longitudinal ligament, the intervertebral disks, and the musculature of the neck and trunk.

3 Alternative Ways to Avoid Back Discomfort

Monday, June 20th, 2011 No Commented
Under: Back pain

Every day, we do certain activities that contribute back discomfort. Some of these activities include lifting of heavy objects or even the slightest activity like sitting; can cause our back to experience discomfort. It hurts because of the force applied in our muscles located at our back.

There are alternative ways in avoiding back pain and discomfort. Listed below are the three ways to prevent back straining in each activity.

1. Lifting – Almost every day, we lift different kinds of things from the ground. Whether it’s a pencil or a small object that is fallen on the ground, we lift the object and use our muscles at the back. When we lift light objects, it doesn’t require too much pressure for our back to experience pain. However, the heavier the object being lift, the more force and pressure is applied to our back. And so, having a correct posture can eliminate the back discomfort from lifting heavy objects. You must first bend your knee and hold the object at each end before lifting. If you are used in bending your back before lifting, then you’re doing it wrong. It can even cause back injury, if your back can’t handle the weight of an object. Hence, proper posture is very important in lifting to avoid back pain.

2. Standing up and Stretching – If your job is to work in the office, sitting for more than 8 hours a day, then you should’ve experience back discomfort. Sitting too much applies tension in our back. The only alternative way for these office workers are to have time to stand up and stretch your back from time to time. You can do the stretching during break hours. This can help your muscles relax.

3. Daily Exercise – Whatever your task is, you must spend some time to do an exercise. It will help to increase your stamina and will cause your muscles to become stronger. It does not only help avoid back discomfort, but has many benefits for the whole body. Examples of exercises that can avoid back discomfort are jogging, jumping jack or use a jumping rope, stretching or even yoga.

If you can apply these steps in each situation you are in, then back discomfort can be prevented. Having no pain at the back is really a relief. Now, you can focus more in your work and go home happy without stress of experiencing back pain.

Apply the Principles of Good Posture When Sitting

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011 No Commented
Under: Back pain

A fairly high proportion of us spend up to eight hours a day working in an office environment. Bad posture puts pressure on your lower back, it is especially true when sitting, the spine is compressed which can cause inflammation and ultimately pain.

Bad backs occur slowly and over time, unless of course you have suffered a trauma of some kind. To avoid back ache you will need to maintain a good sitting posture. Orthopaedic surgeons will tell you not to just collapse into a chair when sitting down, slumping in a chair is definately one to avoid. Your chair should support your back well. This should allow the muscles, ligaments and tendons in your back to relax, and align the spine. If you do not have any activities because your job involves sitting down all day, then you will need to exercise to keep your back in optimum condition, consult with your Orthopaedic surgeon who may refer you to a physiotherapist.

Top Tips.

· Check your posture on a regular basis, be mindful of the pressure that bad posture puts on your back

· Sit without slumping; it is never too late to adjust how you sit

· Use a chair that is designed to support your lower back

· Use a chair that has a bottom-cushion or other support so that your buttocks reach the backrest while your back remains erect

· You will need a chair that is low enough to put your feet on the floor

· Seats that are too high make people slide forward into a slumped position

· Make sure your head and shoulders are not being pushed into a forward or awkward position

· Sit and stand in such a way that your bones are evenly balanced Since pain in the back is often caused by inflammation, the Arthritis Foundation recommends that you “chill the joint when you have a sudden flare-up”. Most offices have a fridge/freezer these days, apply a cold pack for 20 minutes, but make sure you protect the surface of your skin first.

It is estimated that forty per cent of UK adults had back pain in the previous year, with 15 per cent in continuous pain; the survey was carried out by the Department of Health 2010. To help you eliminate discomfort keep thinking about your posture, how you sit, the kind of chair you sit in, how your work space is arranged. Take time to stretch throughout the working day, this can also be done from a sitting position. Take care of your back, it is the only one you have.

Generally There Are Six Major Sciatica Causes

Thursday, May 5th, 2011 No Commented
Under: Back pain

Sciatica applies to a group of symptoms that are generally caused by an ache in the lower back called a radiculopathy which occurs when a nerve root that is adjacent to the sciatic nerve is irritated or pressed together. A few different low back disorders can lead to sciatica. There are six major sciatica causes that you may come across such as lumbar herniated disc.

A lumbar herniated disc takes place when the nucleus breaks through the fibrous outer core of the herniated disc and annoys the contiguous nerve root as it goes out of the spine. Normally, people would think that a sudden twisting motion can lead to disc herniation or sciatica but most discs weaken in due time because of the repetitive stress. Herniated disc is also known as slipped disc, bulging disk, or pinched nerve, and sciatica is the most common symptom of lumbar herniated disc.

Most sciatica causes are easily eradicated.

One other common cause of sciatica is lumbar spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis is a nerve compression disorder which habitually affects mature people over the age of 60. Pain in the leg area similar to sciatica may happen as a result of lumbar spinal stenosis. Lumbar spinal stenosis is associated with natural ageing in the spine which more often than not results from a mixture of one or more of the following medical conditions – overgrowth of soft issue, enlarged facet joints and bulging disc which annoys the nerve roots as they flow out of the spine causing sciatic nerve pain.

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Spondylolisthesis is one of the sciatica causes that most often happen in the lumbar spine. It is distinguished by one vertebra slipping forward over adjoining vertebra. When the vertebra slips and is dislocated, spinal nerve root compactness happens and often causes the sciatic nerve leg pain. Spondylolisthesis is classified as a case that is found at birth and develops during childhood, trauma or physical stress.

Despite the fact that disc degeneration is a normal procedure that happens throughout ageing, for some people one or more degenerated discs in the lower back can annoy a nerve root and produce sciatica. Such a disc is identified when a weakened disc effects in excessive micro-motion at the spinal level and the inflammation from inside the disc become bare and annoys the nerve roots.

Many sciatica causes are through past motor vehicle accidents, rugby or any other sports, a fall down the stairs can trigger sciatica pain as direct nerve compression causes exterior forces to the sacral spinal nerve roots. The impact from the accident or sports injury may injure the nerves or fragments of broken bone may apply pressure to the nerves.

Other sciatica causes such as piriformis syndrome can cause the sciatic nerve to be irritated as it is situated under the piriformis muscle. If the muscle pinches or annoys a nerve root that consists of the sciatic nerve, it can lead to a pain akin to sciatica causes. However, this may not be a true sciatica symptom but the pain felt in the leg is the same as caused by the nerve irritation.

Spinal tumours may also be one of the sciatica causes which are less common. Even though spinal tumours are rare, when the tumour develops in the lumbar region, there is a threat of sciatica occurring as a result of nerve compression. If you feel that you have one or two of these sciatica symptoms then it is best to make a doctor’s appointment to get the underlying problem checked.

Relieve Sciatic Pain With Sciatica Stretches

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011 No Commented
Under: Back pain

Sciatica is a condition that can cause intense pain as a result of damage or pressure on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, running from the bottom of the spine, through the hip, down the leg, knee and to the ankle. Nerve damage is difficult to treat and the pain is hard to alleviate. However certain types of sciatica stretches which target the muscles and nerves can help with pain as well as target the cause of the nerve problems.

Sciatica stretches need to be done regularly. It is important to do the stretches as often and consistently as possible, to keep the muscles loose and thus your pain at bay. It is also recommended that you do five minutes of cardio to warm up your body, especially your legs where the sciatic nerve runs through to get the blood pumping in that area.

Stretching different muscles in the legs and lower back can improve pain resulting from sciatica. These include hamstring stretches, pelvic tilt, piriformis stretches, pulling your knee towards your chest, thigh stretches and lower back stretches.

Stretching your hamstring muscles can be done in various ways, targeting the muscle running down the back of your leg. When this muscle is too tight, it can hurt your back as it puts pressure on it which in turn can have an effect on the sciatic nerve. Sciatica stretches targeting the hamstrings can thus improve pain felt by sciatica. One of the ways you can stretch your hamstring is by lying on your back with one leg up, pulling it towards you slightly with a band or towel.

Sciatica stretches that target the piriformis muscle which crosses over the sciatic nerve deep inside the hip joint can also help relieve pain and improve sciatica. When the piriformis muscle is too tight, it could be choking the sciatic nerve. An example of a piriformis stretch would be to lie on your back and pull your one knee towards the chest on the opposite side.

The pelvic tilt, often used in Pilates, also targets the lower back muscles, strengthening them so that they do not put pressure on the sciatic nerve. It involves lying on your back with your knees bent and pushing your pelvis towards the roof, but slowly so that you roll upwards from the bottom of your spine. Doing this works like any sciatica exercises and done regularly can improve pain from sciatica.

Sciatica stretches that target your legs and thighs can also work as a great pain reliever. These limbs are used often during day to day activities like walking, which put pressure on the muscles. Stretching these muscles makes them more flexible and less likely to get injured or damaged. Sitting on the floor and trying to touch your toes is an example of how you can stretch your legs.

The benefits of sciatica stretches are vast, but the most important one is how it targets muscles and nerves, relieving pain felt by sciatica and other forms of neuralgia. Stretches like this also improve your range of motion making your muscles more flexible and taking pressure off the sciatic nerve, especially when the muscles in the lower back are targeted. When you are more flexible, you are less likely to maintain an injury resulting in damage to the nerves. It also helps with ischemia, when the muscles are not getting enough oxygen.

It takes some dedication, but sciatica stretches when done regularly can improve your sciatic condition. They are designed to target the cause of sciatic pain and when this cause is muscle tension or tightness as well as compression or ischemia, they can indeed relieve pain and strengthen the muscles around the sciatic nerve.

Pain Caused By Trapped Nerve In The Back

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 No Commented
Under: Back pain

When there is pain because a nerve coming from the spinal cord is pressed or there is a trapped nerve in back areas of the body, it is usually sciatica. The pain is oftentimes caused by the irritation and inflammation caused by a prolapsed disc and the impingement of a nerve.

Although the problem is a trapped nerve in back portion of the torso, the pain is felt along the course of the nerve down the buttocks to the leg to the foot. It is either the left or right because the sciatic nerve divides at the lumbar section to go down each leg. The prolapsed disc or slipped disc either slides to the left or the right, not pressing down on both sides. The pain from sciatica ranges from mild to severe, but the pain down the leg is radiating and is usually more acute than the pain in the lower back. There may also be the “pins and needles” feeling and numbness or weakness felt in a part of the buttock, leg or foot. The site of the impingement is always a determining factor on the resulting symptoms and the severity of pain.

When the trapped nerve in back area is caused by a prolapsed disc pressing down a nerve at the very bottom of the spinal cord, this is considered a rare condition called cauda equine syndrome. This rare condition should be considered an emergency because it causes a dysfunction in the bowel movement and in the bladder’s urinary functions. The patient is usually unable to urinate, experiences numbness in the saddle area and in the anal region and feels weakness in the legs. This syndrome needs immediate attention from your doctor because the nerves to the bowel and bladder if left untreated may suffer permanent damage.

There have been cases where prolapsed disc or other forms of herniated disc were discovered during a routine examination without the patient realizing that he has the condition. When there is no trapped nerve in back of torso due to the slipped disc or any part of the disorder (including the inflammation) is not pressing down on any nerve, there is no pain signal sent to the brain. The symptoms of the condition will all depend on the sensation to the nerve and its messages sent to the brain. The symptoms will sometime disappear in a few weeks. Some cases of repeated MRI scans show that the prolapsed portion of the disc diminishes in size over time. The symptoms also lessen and ease and eventually go away. Only 1 in every 10 case would the pain be still bad enough to last more than a month, and this may then necessitate surgical procedures.

There are tests like x-rays and scans that your doctor will want done to see the extent of the damage and if there is a trapped nerve in back area of the lumbar region. An MRI scan may be necessary to see where the site of the disc is, evaluate its size and to determine if surgery is necessary. Your doctor will then diagnose your illness based on the test results and your symptoms.

After the diagnosis and the doctor has ruled out immediate surgery, you should continue with your normal activities as is practicable. If the pain is very bad, you must take it a little easy but should continue to move about to lessen the chance of your limbs to atrophy with prolonged staying in bed. Immobility for a long time will cause you more harm than good.

Aside from physical therapy, muscle relaxants and pain relievers are prescribed to ease the pains caused by a trapped nerve in back of the torso.

Back Pain and Massage Therapy

Saturday, April 9th, 2011 No Commented
Under: Back pain

Back pain has many possible causes, ranging from chronic muscle tension to disc problems to tumor or infection. Although some conditions are serious, requiring prompt medical treatment, a lot back pain results from stress, tension, and strain that can be helped by massage therapy.

Anatomy of the Spine

To understand some of the conditions that can lead to back pain, take a look at the anatomy of the spine. Bones called vertebrae make up the bony spinal column. The vertebrae stack on top of each other, separated by jelly-like cushions called intervertebral discs. Adjacent vertebrae are connected by ligaments at the facet joints. Plus, many muscles surround, support, and move the spine.

Holes in the vertebrae, called vertebral foramen, create the spinal canal, which houses the spinal cord. The spinal cord is a large bundle of nerves that controls the entire body. Individual nerves leave the spinal cord to travel to other parts of the body through openings in the vertebrae called intervertebral foramen.

Just a few of the more common things that can happen in the spine that can cause pain and other back problems include:

  • Arthritis in the facet joints.
  • Abnormal curves in the spine, such as scoliosis, kyphosis (too much
  • outward curve in the upper back), or too much or too little curve in the lower back.
  • Bulging or herniated discs that press on a nerve.
  • Strained ligaments.
  • Sprained or pulled muscles.
  • Stress and muscle tension.

Massage for Back Pain

Although massage is not appropriate in some circumstances, such as tumor, infection, or stress fracture, a lot of back pain is due stress, tension, strain, sprain, and other factors that massage therapy can help.

Muscle tension is a part of most back pain. Even with other factors involved, relieving muscle tension and balancing the muscles around the spine can help relieve pain. Massage can also improve blood circulation, which helps the body in self-healing, and increase the level of endorphins, natural pain-relieving chemicals produced by the body.

The type of massage that works best for pain depends on the underlying cause and the skill of the massage therapist. If stress and muscle tension are the main problems, basic Swedish massage can help release tension. Adding essential oils for an aromatherapy massage can provide even more relaxing benefits.

However, often more specific massage techniques are needed. For example, deep tissue massage targets problems in the deeper muscles around the spine. Another type of deep massage, which uses negative pressure rather than deep pressure, is cupping massage, a technique adapted from Traditional Chinese Medicine.

  • Cupping massage uses cups that create suction and lift muscle tissue rather than compressing it. Some massage therapists use fire-cupping, removing the air from a cup using a flame and then placing the cup on a person’s body. Other therapists use a manual vacuum set, placing a cup on the body and removing the air from with an attached pump. The therapist then moves the cups to perform massage strokes.
  • Another massage technique for back pain is myofascial release. Fascia is connective tissue that covers muscles and most other internal bodily structures. Myofascia refers to the combination of muscle and fascia. Myofascial release applies gentle sustained pressure to restrictions in the myofascia to eliminate pain and restore motion.

Trigger Points in Back Pain

Sometimes the location of the pain is not the source of the pain. Trigger points are small, irritable spots in the muscles that cause pain in other areas. For example, trigger points in the abdominal muscles can cause low back pain, and trigger points in one part of the back can cause pain in another part of the back.

Two common massage approaches to get rid of trigger points are neuromuscular therapy and trigger point therapy. Each therapy has its specific methods, but the basic technique is either to apply direct pressure to the trigger points for as long as 30 to 60 seconds or to use short, deep “stripping” strokes over the trigger points.

Watch Your Back

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 No Commented
Under: Back pain

The three weakest links in the body are the neck, knees and back. If any of these three parts are out of commission, you know it. Your whole day is affected. With winter on its way and snow shoveling just around the corner, you must be extra careful with your back. Just about everything you do affects your back. Most people will have back pain at some point in their life. Back pain can be caused by being overweight, performing repetitive movements, sitting, standing, stress and improper lifting procedures. The back is very complicated and taking care of it now can go a long way toward preventing many forms of back problems in the future.

Here are some tips for keeping your back healthy and strong:

  • Practice good posture. Slouching puts undue stress on your back.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts stress on the back.
  • Eat well. We need calcium and vitamin D among other nutrients to keep bones in good shape.
  • Quit smoking. Studies suggest that smokers are more likely to experience disc problems.
  • Strengthen your abdominal and back muscles. By keeping your abdominal muscles strong and maintaining good posture, you will be creating a natural “girdle” around your body to give your back good support.
  • Keep the spine flexible with yoga and gentle exercises. It’s been said that a flexible spine is the secret to a youthful body.
  • Exercise regularly to keep your body fit and strong. Many back injuries happen when people who are not active play a vigorous game of football or softball on the weekend. Condition your body with regular exercises so you can play sports without pain.
  • Reduce stress. Tense people often have tense backs. Get enough sleep, exercise, be positive and practice deep breathing regularly.
  • Be comfortable. Avoid restrictive clothing and high-heeled shoes which can put stress on your back.
  • If you stand for long periods of time, raise one foot on a box to lessen the strain on your back. Check your posture and try to maintain the natural curve in your spine. Take frequent breaks if possible.
  • If you must sit for long periods of time, get up every 30 minutes, walk around and do a few stretches.
  • If you work at a computer, adjust your chair so your elbows to wrists are parallel to the floor and the screen is at eye level.
  • Use your legs when lifting. Bend at the knees and straighten your legs as you lift the object. This puts less strain on your back.

We often don’t appreciate a healthy back until we’re laid up with a bad one. Take a proactive approach to a strong, healthy and pain-free back.

What Actually Is A Laminotomy?

Saturday, November 27th, 2010 No Commented
Under: Back pain

There are not few people in existence out there who suffer from spinal stenosis. However, a large portion of these people are often unfortunate enough that they cannot get over their sickness with physical medications and therapy. This makes is necessary for these people to undergo a surgery as their last resort in attempts and hopes of recovering from their sickness. A spinal surgery is usually capable of creating some spaces in their vertebrae for the purpose of relieving the pain and pressure on their nerve system. Speaking of surgeries intended to treat spinal stenosis, there are usually laminectomy, foraminotomy and laminotomy. In this case, only laminotomy will be discussed.

Laminotomy ends with the suffix “otomy”. This means creating an incision. With that being said, what a laminotomy actually means is a process of cutting away those spine ache sufferers’ lamina in part. This is also meant to give more spaces so that those trapped nerves can be released.

But there is one thing that those spine ache sufferers will have to bear in mind. If they happen to experience more severe spine ache cases, laminotomy may not be able to help them anymore. They will need to undergo a laminectomy treatment instead which attempts to remove their lamina as a whole.

A laminotomy surgery is a far less invasive surgery compared to laminectomy. With that being said, those spine ache sufferers who undergo this treatment will not experience quite a major bleeding or noticeable scar, if there is even any bleeding or scar at all. What this may also mean is that those sufferers will need less time in order to fully recover from their sickness. They will not need to spend too many nights staying at the hospitals.

However, before any back pain or spine ache sufferers even think about undergoing a laminotomy at all, it may be a wise thing to do if they try healing themselves with other non surgical methods in advance. If the normal non surgical methods do not seem to work at all, they may want to try the more adverse non surgical methods. Steroid injections are one good example in this case. However, this is only a temporary healing method and it may have adverse effects.

A surgery healing method such as the laminotomy, on the other hand, may often seem to be an extreme one. However, with the help of the right spine surgeon — preferably someone with a fellowship in spine treatment and experiences in treating a large number of spine patients — and the right operation procedures, this surgery healing method may prove to heal the pain and all other symptoms that the spine ache sufferers may have been experiencing due to their spine problems quite easily indeed.

Low Back Pain – What You Need to Know

Friday, October 29th, 2010 No Commented
Under: Back pain

Have you got low back pain? It’s common. Don’t fear. Don’t be afraid. You can gain mastery of your low back.

The advice you’ll get from doctors, therapists, or chiropractors can be confusing or even misleading. They’re not deliberately trying to mislead you. They might just be thinking about back pain from a limited perspective.

Before you make a commitment to a treatment program, begin by understanding some of the key facts about your pain and the low back. There’s always a lot you can do for yourself to gain control over your situation. Even if you need the extra help of a chiropractor, physical therapist, or medical doctor, your treatment will be that much more effective if you’re also doing all you can to help yourself.

I spend a lot of time explaining low back reality to my patients. You can get a head start. Here are the some of the key ideas I wish all my patients understood:

  1. Pain is an experience that takes place in the brain, not in the muscles, joints, or discs. This doesn’t mean that pain is “all in your head“. Pain has a tangible basis in the signals that are coming in from your body. Change the signals, and the experience of pain will change. Or change the way the brain processes the signals, and the experience of pain will also change.
  2. The brain creates an interpretation of pain based on all the input coming from the body – all the muscles, joints, ligaments, organs, etc. What that means is that only rarely is there a single site in the body you can point to and say “Aha! There’s the cause of the pain.”
  3. Doctors often identify the intervertebral disc as the source of low back pain. This violates principle #2 in the paragraph above. But it’s not entirely crazy, either. Discs are subject to a lot of stress, and they’re rich with nerve endings – nerve endings that can send pain signals into the brain.
  4. Nearly everyone over 30 – those with low back pain and those without – has some wear and tear of the intervertebral discs. And if you have an MRI, you’ll see it. The radiologist might call it degenerated, herniated, or bulging, or use some other term.
  5. Since nearly everyone has some disc damage, the appearance of your discs on an MRI doesn’t correlate exactly with the amount of pain you’re in. It’s a very tricky diagnostic situation. You can have really bad discs but little pain, or only slightly damaged discs and a lot of pain. You can also have pain on the opposite side of your disc bugle, or at a spinal level above or below your worst disc. The MRI shows the architecture of the disc – it isn’t really diagnostic.
  6. That means that most people are wasting their time having an MRI.
  7. There’s a lot of scientific research about the use of spinal adjustments (also known as spinal manipulation) for low back pain. In many of the research studies, it turns out that adjustments are helpful, though in other studies, adjustments don’t show much benefit. It’s a very tricky area to research since there are so many variables – the types of low back pain patients being studied; the type of adjustments given, as well as their frequency and the overall duration of treatment; if other treatment is also provided; etc., etc., etc.
  8. There’s almost no evidence that adjustments (manipulation) causes harm in patients with low back problems.
  9. Surgery for low back pain, on the other hand, has been less rigorously studied than adjustments. And like the study of adjustments, this type of research is extremely tricky to do, and shows a variety of results.
  10. Here’s some bad news: back pain can become a long-term, recurring problem. That’s not always the case – many people have an episode or two of back pain, find a method to get relief, and then stay clear of pain for the long haul. But, too commonly, once you start having a low back problem, it can linger or return at a later point.
  11. Here’s why low back pain can become a long-term problem: When you have an attack of back pain, some damage is done to the structures of the low back. Even though the pain can temporarily go away, those structures haven’t truly been healed. Then your back doesn’t quite regain its previous ability to support your body weight day-in, day-out. It’s all too easy for the pain to come back.
  12. That’s why most experts agree that the exercise you do to take care of your own back is extremely important.
  13. Unfortunately, even though there’s wide agreement that exercise is important, there’s very little agreement about the “what, when, how, and how much” of an exercise program for low back pain.
  14. Sit-ups, curl-ups, or crunches can actually do more harm than good. These frequently-prescribed abdominal exercises are suggested because strong abdominal muscles support the low back. But when you do these exercises, most often you’re exercising the wrong groups of abdominal muscles anyway. Plus, you can be putting extra pressure on the discs and other low back structures.
  15. There’s a safer, faster way to develop core support instead: the plank pose. You’re stretched out long on the floor, with your weight resting on your elbows and your toes. Use your abdominals to keep your whole trunk in a straight line from feet to your head. (You may have to find a picture of this on the internet.) It’s harder than it seems. Hold for 15 seconds. Repeat it once a day. When 15 seconds becomes easy, increase to 30 seconds per day.
  16. Don’t perform “pelvis tucking” exercises. Some examples of these exercises are: standing against a wall and flattening your back against the wall; or lying on your back and pressing the small of your back to the floor. Like sit-ups, curl-ups, or crunches, these exercises continue to be commonly prescribed for the health of the low back. They’re more likely to backfire. They put more pressure on your discs. And when you flatten your back, your spine can’t efficiently absorb vertical forces (like gravity.)
  17. A lumbosacral support belt can sometimes be helpful. This gadget cinches you in around the waist and takes the pressure off your low back. Try it – sometimes putting a support belt on relieves pain. For other people, it doesn’t alleviate pain, but it protects the back and prevents it from getting worse.
  18. A support belt can also be useful when performing challenging activities like lifting, bending, or riding in a car.
  19. Another type of mechanical stress on the low back occurs when you shift your weight side-to-side. This happens with each step when you walk. Or if you’re standing around and let your weight sag over to one side.
  20. That’s why strengthening your control of side-to-side weight-shift is an important part of protecting your low back.
  21. A good exercise to strengthen control of side-to-side weight shift:
  • Hold on to the back of a chair or a doorknob for balance.
  • Stand on your left leg and lift your right foot to the front, slightly off the floor.
  • While continuing to stand on your left leg, move the right foot slowly out to the side, then around to the back.
  • Reverse the action of the right foot, slowly moving it to the side and back to the front, and then lower it next to your left foot and stand on both feet evenly.
  • While you’re moving your right foot, pull in your stomach muscles and balance evenly over the left standing side, preventing your pelvis from sagging sideward or shifting to the front or rear.
  • Repeat the exercise on the opposite side.

Now that you’ve read this, take some time to pay attention to the pain that you’re experiencing. A lot of the pain solutions you’re looking for can be found just by paying attention to your own body and your own experience.

As you apply the knowledge contained int his article, you’ve already taken a huge first step toward mastering your low back pain.

Best wishes!

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