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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
Many would argue that back pain is inevitable and for some it becomes a sudden reality. Bending over to pick up a piece of paper, moving furniture, or reaching for something in the car's back seat; one of these scenarios may sound familiar to you. At home or at work, you need to know what to do when a sudden attack of back pain occurs. Fortunately, most back pain will get better naturally. But in order to improve your chances of recovery and to save yourself a trip to your doctor's office, you need to learn some first aid for back pain.
Those of you familiar with life-saving first aid remember the ABC's (Airway, Breathing, and Circulation). Let's apply the ABC's to your back; "A" for arrest the offending activity, "B" for balance the pressure, "C" for control the inflammation. With the ABC's for sudden back pain, you can quickly recover from a sudden back pain attack.
Let's go back to the scenarios: bending, lifting, and twisting (the BLT's). All of these activiti...
Starting a little less than a year ago, I would walk my father’s miniature Schnauzer, Austin, as well as my terrier mix, Noel. Each dog weighed about 20 pounds, walked rapidly while following their nose, and did not have strong obedience training (which means that they pulled while on the leash). While they loved the walks, I ended up paying the ultimate price last spring with lower back pain.
So I was very interested in a Houston Chronicle column by Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz entitled, “Back Hurt? Check Your Attitude.” The good doctors noted that people who are older than 30 years of age tend to have had or will have lower back pain due to improper posture while driving and working on computers. However, they suggest that your attitude can affect the status of your back. “What you think will happen next – healthy recovery or chronic pain – dramatically affects what will happen. The more optimistic and can-do your mind-s...
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