FROM OUR EXPERTS
Human beings are well designed for many things. We have large brains for poetry and quantum mechanics; we are good long distance runners, and of course have these awesome opposable thumbs. Unfortunately, some parts are not designed very well for our 21st century lifestyles. The low back , or lumbar spine, is first on my list for sending back (or forward?) to the engineers. A close second though might be the " knee cap " or patellofemoral joint.
The "knee cap" or patella is an ovoid shaped bone whose main purpose is to act as a fulcrum that big muscle on the front of your thigh, the quadriceps. (I'll wait while you grab your high school physics book). There are plenty of folks who do not have patellae, but because this causes the quad muscle to work inefficiently, few of these folks can run or climb stairs well. The design issue with the patella is that it articulates, or rubs up against, the end of the femur bone (thus the "patellofemoral" joint). For those of us who have pa...
Do your knees feel wobbly or are your legs giving way? If you answered yes to either one of these questions, then you might be experiencing a condition known as Arthrogenic Muscle Inhibition. That’s a fancy way to say that the muscle weakness is caused by joint arthritis, injury and pain.
As a protective mechanism, the nervous system has reflexes that shut down muscle activity in order to protect the injured body part. In the case of an injured knee, ankle or other joint, doctors have observed significant muscle deactivation in response to joint swelling, pain, and arthritis. 1
In response to knee injury, surgery or arthritis, the quadriceps muscles become very weak. Even the hamstring and buttocks muscles are weakened in order to protect the knee. In response to an ankle injury or other painful process, the lower leg muscles in the calf start to lose their power. Researchers are even able to duplicate this arthrogenic muscle response by simulating joint swelling a...
Back pain - nonspecific
The majority of nonspecific back pain is probably caused by muscle strain. This usually responds to 2-5 days of rest and pain medications (such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents -- ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin, etc.), followed by gradual return to activities. Medications may be needed to reduce muscle spasms.
Physical therapy is often prescribed to instruct the patient on proper body mechanics (such as good posture and lifting correctly) and to improve strength and flexibility in the spine, abdomen, and legs.
Surgery is not useful for the treatment of nonspecific back pain.
Most cases of nonspecific back pain resolve on their own or respond to treatment. It is helpful to sleep on a firm mattress, with a board under the mattress, or even on the floor. Heat or ice applied to the affected area may provide some relief.
You should know
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