FROM OUR EXPERTS
Last month, the American Pain Society added to its recommendations to health care providers regarding the diagnosis and treatment of low back pain .
In addition, the Society decided to discuss openly procedures that could be risky to sufferers of low back pain, including recommendations on surgery and other invasive therapies.
Unfortunately, there is not a significant body of good evidence to justify unquestioningly embracing these new recommendations. It is difficult to find well-done clinical studies which support the use of a number of the more invasive treatments used for chronic low back pain.
The initial set of guidelines for the management of chronic low back pain were published in "Annals of Internal Medicine" last October. However, these recommendations dealt more with the initial evaluation of a low back pain patient, and included thoughts on what type of x-rays to order in addition to more conservative treatments such as massage/manipulation and exerci...
Millions of children are heading back to school now, and nearly one quarter of these young people have low back pain. How can someone so young already be experiencing pain? Children are at risk for back pain if there is a family history of back pain. Girls are at higher risk than boys. Although family history and gender are not risks that can be modified, there are other risks that can be changed. By reducing the overall risk of developing back pain, a child may be able to go back to school without back pain.
General health can be improved. In particular, tobacco use is a major contributor to premature spine degeneration because of the lack of blood and nutrients to the spinal discs. Smoking causes the discs to age rapidly. Furthermore, sugar consumption causes weight gain and inflammation. Avoiding sugary drinks and foods can tremendously improve the way the spine feels. Transforming poor health into good health is a powerful way to protect a young life from chron...
I never much cared for anatomy class. Dead bodies, the cold, and the smell were just not the way I liked to spend an afternoon. Every first year medical student spends hours in the anatomy room because learning the parts is important, but even more important is knowing what those parts do and how they work—functional anatomy. Thankfully, studying functional anatomy requires warm, live people who don’t usually smell. Let’s learn some parts without the smell because if you understand the parts, then you will understand the treatment. Getting down to the framework of your body is the skeleton which holds you upright, otherwise you would be a blob of gooey mush. As part of the skeleton, the spine is your backbone that bridges the span between your head and your butt. Because it is a bridge, the spine has passive, stationary structures (bones, ligaments, and discs) which don’t “do” anything except provide support for the whole body. However, these parts o...
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