Are you 55 years old or older and still pain free? Chances are you have osteoarthritis and don't know it. X-rays show arthritic changes in eight out of every 10 adults age 55 and older. Knees, hips, and spines are affected most, in that order. Older adults with leg pain may have arthritic changes in both the hip and spine. They sometimes have a total hip replacement (THR) only to develop groin and buttock pain next. Or suddenly they have muscle weakness that isn't related to the THR. In these cases, lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) may be the problem. LSS occurs when age-related changes narrow the canal where the spinal cord and nerves travel. Bone spurs, thickened ligaments, and worn-down joints are just some of the changes leading to LSS. These doctors from Baylor College of Medicine offer other orthopedic surgeons some guidance. They say that when a patient with a recent THR has severe pain after the operation, look for infection, an unstable implant, or LSS. Location of the pain is a key...
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.
Resources www.niams.nih.gov -- National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases www.aaos.org -- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons www.arthritis.org -- Arthritis Foundation www.spine.org -- North American Spine Society www.apta.org -- American Physical Therapy Association www.ampainsoc.org -- American Pain Society www.theacpa.org -- American Chronic Pain Association www.iasp-pain.org -- International Association for the Study of Pain
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