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
A new study published in the July 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine found that “massage therapy may be effective for treatment of chronic back pain, with benefits lasting at least 6 months.” I don't usually write much on back pain since that is Dr. Lasich's specialty, but since I've personally experienced improvement in my low back and hip pain from massage therapy, I wanted to share this study with you. Study Design and Results The study looked at 401 people from 20 to 65 years of age who had nonspecific chronic low back pain. They were randomized into three treatment groups:
132 received structural massage – treatment of specific painful soft tissue areas.
136 received relaxation massage – Swedish massage that promotes whole-body relaxation.
133 received usual care – the type of treatment they normally got (mostly medications).
Participants in the massage groups were treated once a week for 10 weeks. After 10 weeks, more than one-third of ...
Some low back patients with acute pain don't get better. They become chronic pain patients. This study shows how the fear of pain more than the pain itself actually predicts who will transition from acute to chronic low back pain (LBP). And fear that is linked with pain is also linked with restricted physical movement. In the end the acute LBP patient sees himself as more disabled than he really is based on pain-related fear. The authors came to these conclusions by studying 96 men and women with acute LBP. Each one lifted a 15- pound bag from the floor to a table. Then the bag was lifted off the table and set on the floor again. The number of times the bag was lifted and the total lifting time were recorded. The authors make note of the fact that the average adult would not have any trouble lifting 15 pounds repeatedly. But someone with back pain may feel threatened by the task. Before starting the lifting task each person filled out several forms. The surveys asked questions about age...
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