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One of the most common problems seen in a primary care medical practice is low back pain. It accounts for more discomfort, lost work and productivity, and frustration for many patients than any other malady. Some think it is the price we, as humans, pay for walking upright. The lower back is a complex structure made of bone, muscles, connective tissue and nerves that, along with our legs, hold us erect, allow us to bend, run, twist, catch a football, or just lay down and rest. However, once a problem arises, the complexity of its structure makes pain in the lower back difficult to diagnose and treat. The lower back consists of a spinal column from the lumbar region of the mid-back down to the tail bone or coccyx. The spinal column consists of 5 lumbar vertebrae which are cylindrical bony structures with a ring like component behind the cylinder also made of bone. In between the vertebrae are disc shaped cushions filled with a gelatinous central core known as the nucleus pulposis
Spondylolisthesis (spaun-di-lo-lie-thee-sis) is a mouthful and is a common cause of low back pain (although it can exist anywhere in the spine, the lumbar spine is the most common area affected). The spinal column is a series of building blocks called vertebral bodies stacked on top of one another. Sometimes these blocks do not line up perfectly. This slight separation in the spinal column is called a spondylolisthesis .
"Doc says I have a spondy-something-or-other. Don't ask me what it is; all I know is that it hurts". Steve tries to explain his low back condition to his friend. But, he finds that he cannot explain what he does not understand. Steve has had back pain for a number of years. Every year the pain gets worse and has now become constant. His doctor sent him for x-rays recently. The x-rays showed a spondylolisthesis with disc degeneration at L5/S1. Steve could not understand his doctor's explanation of the condition. So, now he has pain and has confusion.
No reason to panic and no reason to think the worse; if your child is experiencing low back pain, just take a deep breath and read. And contrary to popular belief, low back pain in children is usually not caused from a backpack full of books. No, a majority of back pain seen between the ages of 10-18 years of age is related to sports. Children who are involved in football, gymnastics, wrestling, diving, volleyball, or racket sports tend to be the most likely kids who will experience back pain. Fortunately, these aches and pains usually go away with good conservative care because they rarely represent a dire problem.
Although dire problems like infections and tumors do rarely occur; thus, a child with low back pain should see a doctor just to be sure. A doctor will ask a lot of questions about what makes the pain worse or better, general health, and other feelings of numbness, pain or weakness. After these questions have been answered, the doctor will test the reflexes, strength...
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