Back Pain

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions related to back pain.

Q: What is a slipped disc?

A: This is actually a mislabeling that refers to a herniated disc. In a herniated disc, the nucleus pulposus perforates the annulus fibrosis – but the entire disc does not “slip” out of place.

Q: Back pain wakes me up at night. Are there any correct positions to sleep at night that will benefit my back?

A: Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach. However, if you find yourself in this position often, try placing a pillow under your stomach to maintain support of the lumbar spine. A pillow between the legs can be a good support when lying on your side. A pillow under the knees is often helpful when lying on your back.

Q: Do elastic back supports help prevent back pain?

A: There is probably as much controversy about back supports as there are back supports. Thin neoprene supports may help abdominal muscles support the lumbar spine. If you feel as if it helps you be more conscientious about proper lifting mechanics, then the support may be worthwhile. More rigid braces are helpful when there is a need to restrict lumbar motion, as may be the case in compression fractures and significant strains or sprains. Keep in mind, however, that no back support is intended to replace a good back-strengthening program.

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