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Back Pain

Putting It All Together: Back Pain

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - 09:42

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Here is a summary of the important facts and information related to back pain.

  • Back pain is common and is one of the leading reasons why people see a physician in the U.S.
  • Back pain carries steep economic costs annually in medical treatments and disability payments.
  • Rarely do people develop significant problems with the bones or joints in their back.
  • Unspecific sprains and strains account for much of acute and intense low back pain.
  • Sciatica is a term used to describe pain extending down into the buttock and leg from the irritation of a larger nerve that exits the lumbar spine.
  • Clinical diagnostic tests used to determine the cause of back pain include x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, CT scans, myelography, and electromyography.
  • Common treatments used by health care professionals include heat, hydrotherapy, electrical stimulation, mobilization, massage techniques, traction, education, and flexibility and strengthening exercise programs.
  • In order for an individual to be a candidate for back surgery, most physicians feel the individual must have severe sciatica, imaging tests that indicate a disc is pressing a nerve root, and muscle weakness in the leg.
  • The best way to prevent low back pain is keep the back muscles flexible and strong with a good exercise program.

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