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...
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.
Driving a car to the local mechanic to get it fixed is not the same thing as taking the human body into surgery; although, this "fix-it" attitude drives patients and surgeons alike towards surgical solutions. Lately, a growing number of people are undergoing low back surgery . A recent study examined the relationship between patient expectations and the actual outcomes from lumbar spine surgery. Because pre-surgical expectations do not always equate to the actual results, how can a person judge whether or not a surgery was successful? How can one predict surgical success?
Understanding the primary reasons for seeking surgical solutions is the first step towards discussing the likelihood of success. The top three causes for patients wanting lumbar surgery are: 1#, other therapies have failed to help; 2#, the pain is unbearable; 3#, walking has become difficult. Based on these reasons to see a surgeon, patients come to the operating room harboring certain expectations. Patients wa...
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