Category: medical

Overlooked Causes for Back Pain

Every day, we see trauma cases and diseases of the spine that cause pain and disability. Many conditions, such as bulging spinal discs, spinal stenosis, disc degeneration, and spinal arthritis rarely cause only back pain alone, but often the major complaint from these problems is limb pain. Typically, simple back pain is caused by muscle strain.  In fact, 80% of us will seek medical care for back pain at some point in our lives.

Believe it or not, you can control whether or not you are afflicted by some of the lesser-known causes of back pain by simply changing your lifestyle.

Smoking causes back pain, which has been proven over and over in a number of studies.  Quitting your smoking habit can improve your level of pain more effectively than medications, surgery, or physical therapy.

Being overweight strains your back as well as your joints.

Moving extra weight around, on a daily basis, is hard on your lower back and makes it more vulnerable to injury. Instead of taking medications or trying surgery, losing weight can significantly lessen back pain.

Having weak back muscles increases your chance for injury and back pain.  This is caused by a lack of physical exercise. A strong core helps your body expend less energy to remain upright and supports the spine. Endorphins are released during exercise, helping you feel better naturally. You don’t have to join a gym or spend money on fancy equipment.  Walking is one of the best exercises for overall health and doesn’t cost a penny.

Poor posture increases back pain.

It is never too late to work on improving it.  Stand up tall and quit looking down at your Ipad or Iphone for hours at a time.  Adjust your computer monitor at work so that you look into it squarely (not up or down) while sitting at your desk.  Get up and stretch every hour.  Take a quick spin around the office occasionally. Post sticky notes on your desk to remind you.  Simple improvements in our posture can go a long way to lessen neck and back pain.

In summary, you can’t control your genes and whether you develop spinal stenosis.  However, you can lessen your risk for back pain by following some simple guidelines for a healthier life.

 

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How Spinal Decompression Therapy is Thought to Work

In nonsurgical spinal decompression therapy, the spine is stretched and relaxed intermittently in a controlled manner. The theory is that this process creates a negative intradiscal pressure (pressure within the disc itself), which is thought to have two potential benefits:

Spinal Decompression Session

During spinal decompression therapy for the low back (lumbar spine), patients remain clothed and lie on a motorized table, the lower half of which can move.

  • A harness is placed around the hips and is attached to the lower table near the feet.
  • The upper part of the table remains in a fixed position while the lower part, to which the patient is harnessed, slides back and forth to provide the traction and relaxation.

One difference between various decompression therapies is the patient’s position on the table:

  • Some devices place the patient in the prone position on the table, lying face down (e.g. VAX-D)
  • Some devices have the patient lying supine, face up (e.g. DRX9000)

The patient should not feel pain during or after the decompression therapy although they should feel stretch in the spine.

Treatment Series and Costs

While spinal decompression therapy may be recommended as a potential treatment for a variety of lower back pain conditions, as with all lower back pain treatments, it is the patient’s decision whether or not to have the treatment. Although the risk is low, the benefit of these treatments is not established.

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