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...
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.
If I had an episode of lower back pain, am I always going to be more likely to have lower back pain in the future?
It is true that once you have an episode of lower back pain or shooting leg pain, you are probably more likely to have it in the future - if you do nothing. But you are not going to "do nothing."
I see a lot of patients with lower back pain and shooting leg pain. Once we work together to resolve the pain, a very common question and concern that is raised is whether the pain is likely to return. A typical example is the following: Mr. X comes in with lower back pain that shoots into the right leg all the way to the foot. MRI reveals a herniated disc at L5-S1 level. After an injection, the pain is 90% better. Next, Mr. X starts physical therapy. Six we...
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