Mild Exercise Aids Heavy Patients’ Back Pain

Back pain? 7 ways to strengthen your spine

Extending physical activities by less than 20 minutes a day will do the trick. Smuck and his team discovered that the more overweight a person is, the greater the chance that person has of suffering lower back pain. They also monitored physical activity of nearly 7,000 Americans using a motion-tracker and found that small changes had surprisingly big impacts, especially for the most obese patients. Based on their body mass index, patients fell into four different categories: normal weight, overweight, obese or morbidly obese. For an overweight person, the average nonstop round of “light” physical activity, including walking around the house, cooking or folding laundry, was 1 hour, 53 minutes. When the patients extended this average by seven minutes, to two hours, they reduced their risk of bayview village chiro back pain by 17 percent. By extending their total “moderate” physical activity – walking briskly, riding a bike, gardening or ballroom dancing – by less than 20 minutes a day, their risk of back pain dropped by 32 percent. The improvements were smaller for normal weight subjects, whose risk of back pain was already low, but the heavier the patient, the more benefit they reaped. The morbidly obese group averaged 1.3 minutes of moderate activity at a time. But if they increased that average by just one minute, their risk of lower back pain was cut by 38 percent.
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Back pain making you miserable? Feel better with exercise, rest

(Carlos Chavez / Los Angeles Times / June 5, 2003) Also By Monte Morin July 29, 2013, 5:30 p.m. Doctors have increasingly ignored clinical guidelines for the treatment of routine back pain by prescribing powerful and addictive narcotics instead of other recommended painkillers and by recommending unwarranted diagnostic imagery, according to a new study. Researchers at Massachusetts’ Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School based their conclusion on an examination of roughly 24,000 cases of spine problems in national databases from 1999 to 2010. Their findings appeared online Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine . “Well-established guidelines for routine back pain stress conservative management, including use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or acetaminophen and physical therapy ,” wrote lead author Dr. John Mafi and his colleagues. Despite these guidelines, researchers found that doctors were doing much the opposite. Although physical therapy referrals remained steady during the study period, prescriptions for narcotic painkillers jumped 51%. Simultaneously, prescriptions for non-opiate drugs had fallen by the same amount. Study authors noted that a 2007 analysis found that narcotics provided little to no benefit in cases of acute back pain and that they had also failed to prove effective in cases of chronic back pain. The jump in narcotic prescriptions therefore raised “significant concerns,” the authors wrote, and may be linked to a larger national crisis involving prescription drug deaths .
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Back pain: Doctors increasingly ignore clinical guidelines

Space monkeys: The humanizing of Able and Baker

“The key is proper exercise, obviously under the supervision of a doctor or physical therapist,” Snyderman says. Rest, ice and anti-inflammatory medications can also help manage the pain, she says. Most back pain is caused by muscular or soft tissue damage, but in some cases, the problem is neurological, and may require surgery — something Snyderman calls the “final, final, final straw.” Live in the studio, Snyderman showed off a cutting-edge piece of diagnostic equipment called Vertebral Motion Analysis, which captures the motion of the spine, allowing neurosurgeons to pinpoint the cause of back pain more accurately than ever before. “This is the first time we’ve really been able to see the spine move,” Snyderman says. “Any time you can see something in real time and you can coordinate it with how a person feels, it will give you a better insight on what the problem is.” This is the future of diagnosing back problems, and it’s only in a few hospitals around the country right now. But today, many people can take steps to ease their own back pain by keeping these three tips in mind: 1. Keep your core strong — as in, the muscles in your belly, mid and lower back and hips. Remember: “Strong core muscles, strong back,” Snyderman says. 2. Get the right chair. You need one with lower back support, and make sure your legs and arms are perpendicular to the floor. 3. You know this already, but seriously: Don’t use your back to lift heavy stuff. Don’t lean over from your waist! Use your legs — your quad muscles, in particular — to lift big objects.
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If they don’t get better, physical therapy is an option. Narcotic medications, such as Percocet or Vicodin, have no proven efficacy in improving chronic back pain.” Back pain is one of the most common reasons for going to the doctor; more than 10% of visits to primary-care physicians are for this problem and amounts to about $86 billion in health care spending annually, says senior author Bruce Landon, a professor of health care policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School. That’s a conservative estimate because it doesn’t account for lost productivity, he says. Using data from two national surveys, the researchers studied almost 24,000 visits to the doctor for back pain, both acute and chronic, from 1999 to 2010. Findings published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, a Journal of the American Medical Association Network publication: – The recommendation for using NSAIDs or acetaminophen per visit decreased from almost 37% in 1999 to about 24.5% in 2010. – Narcotic drug use increased from about 19% in 1999 to about 29% in 2010. – Physician referrals increased from about 7% in 1999 to 14% in 2010. – Scans, such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance images (MRIs), rose from about 7% to about 11% during that same period. – Physical therapy remained unchanged at about 20%; X-rays remained unchanged at about 17%. “With health care costs soaring, improvements in the management of back pain represent an area of potential cost savings for the health care system while also improving the quality of care,” the study says. So why are doctors using these types of treatments? “Patients expect doctors to have some kind of magic cure, and so doctors want to offer them something,” Landon says.
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Nighttime Back Pain

He was suffering from sacroiliac joint dysfunction, the deterioration of the two joints on the side of the lower spine that connect it to the pelvis. Studies have found that 20 to 25% of all chronic lower back pain comes not from the spine but from the sacroliac, or SI, joint, which bears and transfers weight and movement from your upper body to your legs. When the ligaments wear out and the SI joint becomes unstable, it can generate a similar kind of sharp back pain — or sciatica-like pain down your leg — as a ruptured disc. Most spine surgeons, however, aren’t trained to look at the sacroiliac joint; they generally don’t learn about it during their residency or fellowships. And it doesn’t occur to most patients to ask. Then X-rays, MRIs and CT scans of aching, aging backs show narrowing spinal discs, without actually showing whether these discs are producing pain … further confusing the diagnosis of the suffering patient. As a result, many people progress through the usual stages of back pain treatment, from physical therapy and chiropractic treatment to injections, laser procedures and finally to surgery, without ever addressing the true source of the pain. One study found that among “failed” spinal fusion patients — people who had their lumbar vertebrae fused and were still in pain afterward — the SI joint was the real culprit in more than half the cases. When you know to look at the SI joint, finding out whether it’s the source of the pain is usually pretty easy. If an injection of the local anesthetic Lidocaine into the joint produces temporary pain relief, then that’s likely where the problem resides. If so, all the treatments previously misdirected at the spine — chiropractic, physical therapy and medication — can be aimed at the proper target. If those treatments don’t work, the next step is often surgery.
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The back pain most surgeons won’t find

The sacroliac, or SI, joint, bears and transfers weight and movement from your upper body to your legs.

Bend forward from your hips while placing your hands, arms outstretched, on the back of the chair. Relax, hold the pose, and breathe gently and evenly. Easy Backbend Backbends help open the front of the body while also building strength in the core, back and buttocks. However, when practicing backbends, its very important to support the small vertebrae in the neck. From Standing Mountain Pose, clasp your hands together at the base of your skull. While keeping your spine lengthened and your tailbone dropped, engage your core muscles and gently bend backwards. Keep the back of the neck long and the weight of your head in your hands. Breathe deeply and gently. Seated Cat Curl This posture helps build motion and flexibility all along the spine. Start from Seated Mountain Pose while sitting on the front edge of a chair. Inhale deeply and gently arch your back while extending the arms back behind you.
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Back Always Killing You? These Yoga Poses Can Help

yoga stretches

People tend to forget the spine is part of the central nervous system, along with the brain, and relies on the peripheral nervous system: the millions of nerves that send messages to the brain that control the body’s functions. An unhealthy spine interferes with this entire system, causing a host of unwelcome health issues such as pain, numbness, and weakness in the arms and legs, impaired breathing and digestion and impaired control of the bowel and bladder. Here are a few tips to help you take better care of your spine and back: Dr. Kenneth Hansraj Good posture is essential Remember your mother saying “Stop slouching”? You would think it goes without saying, but too many of us simply don’t maintain good posture, which is critical for a healthy spine. Your smartphone is a pain in the neck Good posture is defined as ears aligned with the shoulders and the “angel wings,” or the shoulder blades, retracted. In proper alignment, spinal stress is diminished. It is the most efficient position to achieve the best posture possible. Good posture also has other health and wellness benefits. Researchers at San Francisco State University have found a link between poor posture and depression , and many experts believe stooping and slouching could be associated with weight gain, heartburn, migraines, anxiety and respiratory conditions.
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Patients with back pain often get the wrong treatment


But with nighttime back pain — also called nocturnal back pain — the hurting doesn’t stop when a person lies down, no matter what adjustments he or she makes. For some, the pain actually gets worse. And for others, the pain doesn’t even start until they lie down. A person can actually go through a day virtually pain-free. But then at night, he or she might find it nearly impossible to get a full night’s sleep. In one study — published in the journal Spine in 2005 — 44% of people seen at a back pain clinic in the U.K. complained of pain at night. And 42% of those people said the pain was present every night. Some study participants reported being awakened as often as six times a night; the average length of continuous sleep for people with nocturnal pain was less than five hours. What Causes Nocturnal Pain? Just as with normal back pain, the cause of nighttime back pain isn’t always clear. Among other things, back pain can be caused by any of the following: Problems with the way the spine moves or other mechanical problems, the most common of which is disc degeneration.
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