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Would a brace help spinal stenosis?

My 83-year-old mother was recently diagnosed with spinal stenosis. She mostly suffers from back pain and sometimes pain down her leg. In order to avoid the pain, she stays bent forward most of the time. Would a brace help her? Lumbar spinal stenosis in this age group is usually caused by the natural degeneration of the spine over time. The condition is described as a narrowing of the space available for the spinal cord, nerve roots, and blood vessels in the spine. The lumbar spine (low back are...

I'm thinking about trying acupuncture for my low back pain. Are there side effects I should be warned about?

I'm thinking about trying acupuncture for my low back pain. I've tried everything else and I don't want to take pain meds any more. I think I can handle the pokey needle part but are there other side effects I should be warned about? Acupuncture as an alternative treatment to traditional medicine has been making the news. More and more studies are showing its positive effects on chronic low back pain. But differences in how the studies are conducted have left some lingering doubts as to the true...

What treatment do you recommend for spondylolisthesis?

We were very surprised when our son started having low back pain. He went from having what they call a spondylolysis (spinal fracture) to a spondylolisthesis (fracture that separates and shifts). What do you recommend for treatment? As you have now discovered, sports athletes are not immune to low back pain. Bony defects such as spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis present from birth or as a result of stress fractures from overuse can be a common cause of painful lumbar instability. In the case...

Will standing instead of sitting at desks reduce stress and absenteeism?

Our company is going to move us away from sitting at desks more toward a standing station. This is supposed to help us reduce our work stress and hopefully reduce absenteeism due to back problems. Do other companies have as much problem with lost productivity due to back disability as we do? There's no doubt that lost productivity due to back pain is a major problem in the work force. This has been reported in most developed countries around the world. And with fewer younger adults entering cert...

What are my chances of full recovery for back pain?

I'm back to work after four weeks off for back pain but the pain isn't gone. I just suck it up and do my job, but I'm wondering if I'll ever get back to my old self. What are my chances for a full recovery? Without knowing more of the details of your specific situation, it is difficult to predict what may happen. We do know from the many studies done in this area that on any given day in America, 10 per cent of the people are experiencing back pain. And that over the course of a lifetime, 80 per...

Fear-avoidance behaviors related to chronic back pain

I discovered the hard way that I am what they call a "catastrophizer" and I have a problem called fear-avoidance behaviors (FABs). This all relates to my chronic back pain. Yesterday I heard a report that they now have figured out there are different kinds of fear-avoidance behaviors. What kinds are there? As you have discovered for yourself, fear-avoidance behaviors (FABs) refer to ways people with chronic pain change their behavior, actions, movements, and activities. These changes are based o...

Will exercise make severe degernation of the spine worse?

I'm mystified by the advice I've gotten for my back pain. It seems serious to me with severe degeneration of the spine and disc narrowing at all levels in my low back yet the doctor I'm seeing and the physiotherapist are insisting I need to exercise, stretch, and keep moving. Won't increased activity make it worse? Many fears patients have around back pain are unfounded and become an obstacle to recovery. Patients put much more importance on back pain and assume the pain means the spine is weak ...

Is an MRI Really Needed When You Have Back Pain?

Everyone has a duty to help reduce health care costs. In this article, physiotherapists step up to bat with one idea: determine when advanced imaging is really needed. They start by looking at a patient population group that is very common in a physiotherapyclinic: people with low back pain.It's estimated that half of all patients seeing physiotherapists in outpatient clinics have come for one thing and one thing only: low back pain. With direct access (patients can see a physiotherapist without...

Is it true that being tall is actually bad for your back

Is it true that being tall is actually bad for your back and makes you more likely to blow a disc? Somebody at work told us that. We've each got $5.00 riding on this one. Maybe us short guys finally have some kind of advantage! What can you tell me? Well, at least according to one recent study, height does put some men at a disadvantage for disc problems. The Copenhagen Male Study was started over 30 years ago. Over 5,000 men participated in the study. They started by completing a survey with qu...

Why no traction table for back and leg pain?

In the old days when I had back and leg pain, the physiotherapist would put me on a traction table and stretch my back out. That seemed to help quite a bit. Now when I go in to see the physiotherapist, they don't even have a traction table. Why not? Based on studies performed, the use of mechanical traction as you described just hasn't been proven effective for the majority of back pain sufferers. Some therapists still do use traction but they are more selective in who they use it on.For example...

Any suggestions for back pain for football players?

I took on the job of assistant coach for a college football team. Many of the athletes had back pain during the playing season. Is this typical? If not, I need to take a closer look at what we might be doing wrong. Any suggestions? Low back pain seems to be something most people experience at least once in a while. Many studies have confirmed this fact. Up to 90 per cent of all adults report an episode of back pain once in their lifetime. Despite a high level of fitness and even flexibility, ath...

Does pilates work for chronic low back pain?

I am in a rehab program for my chronic low back pain. The physiotherapist wants me to join a group doing an exercise program called Pilates. What can you tell me about it? Does it work? Is it worth the extra time? If you haven't heard about Pilates, you're not alone. But for the millions of people who have discovered and now use of this specialized exercise for core stabilization, you will find the results of this study of interest. And if you are looking for some help with exercise, fitness, or...

I am overweight and injured my back -- any hope for me?

Q: I fell from a ladder and hurt my back. I'm out on worker's compensation with no hope of getting back to work the way I feel right now. I'm also quite a bit overweight. Is there any hope for me? Your situation sounds like a complex one. It may take more than a few visits to your physician to find a management plan that works for you. Usually a team approach is best for cases like this.By team we mean a physician to help you with pain management and a physiotherapist to help restore normal mov...

Will my low back pain just go away by itself?

Is there any chance my low back pain will just go away by itself eventually? I've had it for eight months now. It gets better, then worse, then better, etc. What happens to a condition like low back pain over time without treatment is referred to as the natural course of that particular problem. Most people do seek help for their low back pain, so the true natural course isn't easy to discern.Thanks to some research being done in Switzerland, we may one-step closer to an answer to this question....

What causes shooting pain and then pins and needs in my leg?

I've been having some strange leg pain on the left side. First it was shooting pain down the leg. Now it feels like pins and needles, and sometimes I get an electric shock sensation. What could be causing this? All of the descriptions you just provided suggest a neurogenic source of pain. That means something in the nervous system is affected. Neuropathic pain can occur as a result of injury or destruction to the peripheral nerves (coming out of the spinal cord), pathways in the spinal cord, or ...

Can I go back to work? I hurt my back 6 weeks ago.

I hurt my back at work six weeks ago and I'm still hobbling around. My wife wants me to give it more time before going back to work. Mentally, I'm ready and my job does keep me moving around, which seems to help. What do you think? Researchers from the Netherlands recently put together a report that summarizes the evidence on deconditioning and chronic low back pain. They took a look at all the studies done on chronic low back pain sufferers with two things in mind: physical activity levels and ...

Is there anything I can do to prevent disc problems?

Everyone in my family has had disc problems. I'm the youngest (44 years old). Is there anything I can do to prevent disc problems? Scientists have some evidence that genetics plays a role in disc degeneration and eventual disc herniation. But not everyone who has disc problems has a positive family history like you do. The cumulative injury model suggests that a history of physical activities or other stresses and loads on the disc may explain some of these injuries.And, of course, it's possible...

Don't we need to know what is wrong with my back before it will get better?

Q. The physiotherapist I am seeing right now doesn't seem very interested in finding out what's wrong with my back. She just wants to analyze my movements and come up with a plan of activities and movements that won't cause pain. That doesn't really get down to the bottom of what's wrong with me. Should I go shopping for a different therapist. If yes, what should I look for?A. Based on the results of many studies over the last 10 years, physiotherapists are trying to categorize low back patients...

Can the McKenzie method help lower back pain?

I've had chronic low back pain for years. My daughter was helped by a treatment called the McKenzie method. Could this help me too?

Do I have to exercise to heal my lower back pain?

I've had bouts of low back pain off and on for the last three years. I notice when I work out at the gym I feel better. As soon as I lay off the exercise, the back pain is back. Will I ever heal or am I stuck with the daily gym routine?

How can I exercise when my back hurts?

I've had back pain off and on for the last six months. The doctor can't find anything wrong and has strongly advised me to exercise. How can I exercise when my back hurts?

Is there a link between smoking and osteoporosis?

I've been told I have osteoporosis throughout my spine from smoking. I'm trying to quit smoking, but it's very hard. Even though I still smoke, would exercise help my back?

How is a tummy tuck position help back pain?

I've been seeing a physiotherapist for low back pain. One of the exercises is a tummy tuck in three positions. I'm supposed to draw my belly button in while keeping my spine level. It seems very easy. How is this supposed to help?

Do I as my PT to use the same treatment another PT used?

I've been seeing a physiotherapist (PT) for a problem with my low back. There's a PT student who treated me one day when my regular therapist was out sick. She did a manipulation on my back that really helped. Should I ask my regular therapist to do this, too?

How do I know when it is safe go go back to work?

I've been off work with low back pain for the last six weeks. I'm better now but not pain free. How do I know when it's safe to go back to work?

What is core training and what does it do?

I've been in rehab for a back injury. My program is going to be changed next week to "core training." What is it and what does it do?

Do I need to work through the pain?

I've been going to a new pain clinic that specializes in low back pain. They seem to have the approach that I need to work through the pain. I thought the idea that no pain, no gain was no longer used.

Why can't I wear a back support belt all the time?

I'm using a back support belt for my intense low back pain. It helps so much. Why can't I wear it all the time?

What can I do for an old back injury that is acting up?

I'm starting to slip into a deep funk. A back injury years ago is acting up and causing pain everyday now. I'm not sleeping well. I can't exercise or golf like I used to. I've got to get this turned around. What can I do?

Is it worth it to pay out-of-pocket for this PT service?

I'm having some serious back problems at work. The doctor suggested physiotherapy but my health insurance doesn't cover PT. Is it worth it to pay out-of-pocket for this service?

Should I let a student PT treat me?

I'm going to see a physiotherapist for my first bout of low back pain. Should I let a student physiotherapist treat me? I don't want to end up like my brother who has chronic low back pain because the therapist was inexperienced in treating me.

Should I see a physical therapist first before starting Pilates for chronic back pain?

I'd like to try doing some Pilates exercise for a chronic back problem I have. Do I need to see a physiotherapist? Or can I just take a regular Pilates class?

Explain how the coordination between the trunk, thorax and pelvis can get out of balance.

I was reading about back pain and its effect on walking. There was a report that when someone has back pain, the coordination between the trunk, thorax, and pelvis gets off balance. Can you help me understand the difference between these body parts and how they get out of balance?

Can I avoid surgery by seeing a PT for lumbar disc herniation?

I was just diagnosed with my second lumbar disc herniation. The first one was at L45. This one is higher up around L23. I was able to see a physiotherapist for the first one and avoid surgery. What are the chances I can do that again with this one?

What exactly does the diaphragm muscle for sacroiliac joint pain?

I recently took a misstep off a curb and landed on my right buttocks. I have been seeing a physiotherapist to help with the pain in my sacroiliac joint and difficulty of lifting my leg. One of the exercises I do is to improve the use of my diaphragm muscle. What exactly does this muscle do, and how will exercises help?

What is it about cigarette smoking that causes back pain?

I read a magazine article about back pain and smoking. What is it about cigarette smoking that causes back pain?

How can I stop stooping forward as I age?

I notice as people age they seem to stoop forward more and more. What can I do to keep this from happening to me?

How can you treat my low back pain if you do not know what is really wrong?

I just came back from the physiotherapist's office. I'm being treated for low back pain that started about three weeks ago. No one seems to know what's causing the problem. How can they treat me if they don't know what's really wrong?

Will losing weight really help to improve my back recovery?

I hurt my back while lifting at work. I've been off work for six weeks, and I've gained 20 pounds. I was already 20 pounds overweight. My doctor is advising me to lose weight to improve my back recovery. Will this really help?

What difference does it make sleeping with a pillow between my legs for a lifting accident?

I hurt my back in a lifting accident at work. As part of my home program, the therapist insists that I sleep with a pillow between my legs. The knees and ankles both have to be supported by this pillow. What difference does this make, really?

How do spinal stabilization exercises work?

I hurt my back in a car accident. The physiotherapist has been teaching me spinal stabilization exercises. How do these exercises work?

Will low back and abdominal exercises pay off in the long run?

I have low back pain for the first time. My physiotherapist started me on a program to train my low back and abdominal muscles. Will these exercises pay off in the long run?

Spinal mobilization for low back pain

I've had all kinds of treatment for my low back pain. I've tried massage, acupressure, trigger point therapy and beyond. None of those work as well as the spinal mobilization my physical therapist does. Yet when the mobs are being done, I hardly feel a thing. Am I imagining this or is it for real?

Balance exercises for low back pain

I've been exercising on my own after finishing a back rehab program for an injury six months ago. The therapist gave me balance exercises to do. I get on my hands and knees and lift one leg and the opposite arm. I really hate doing these. Are they important enough to keep in the program?

Physical therapy for low back pain

I've been doing physical therapy for low back pain. My therapist says I've gained a lot of strength in my back. Does this mean my back muscles are actually getting bigger?

Sacroiliac Dysfunction

I've been diagnosed with sacroiliac dysfunction. What is it?

A back injury years ago is acting up and causing pain

I'm starting to slip into a deep funk. A back injury years ago is acting up and causing pain everyday now. I'm not sleeping well. I can't exercise or golf like I used to. I've got to get this turned around. What can I do?

Low back pain and Sciatica

I'm seeing a physical therapist for low back pain and sciatica. Part of the treatment includes traction on a table for 20 minutes. It's been a week of treatments and so far I'm not seeing any results. How much longer should I wait before saying something?

One Treatment Doesn't Fit All Who Have Back Pain

I work in an office with 25 other people. Back pain is a common problem for many of us. I noticed several other people went to a physical therapist and got exercises. I saw my doctor and got an information pamphlet on back care. Isn't there some standard for how this problem is treated? Shouldn't everyone get the same treatment for the same problem?

Centralization or the Centralization Phenomenon

I went on-line to see what I could find about self-care for low back pain. Several sites mention the use of extension exercises for centralization. What is centralization? I'm not familiar with this term.

The Swiss Ball exercise

I watch an exercise show on TV everyday and try to do the exercises with them. Sometimes they use a Swiss ball. Those exercises look more difficult so I haven't tried them. Is there any real advantage to doing the ball exercises? Am I missing out something important here?

Spinal Stabilization Exercises or Core Training

I see that more and more fitness groups and health clubs are offering spinal stabilization classes. What are these exercises and how do they work?

Sleeping Position Can Make Any Difference in Back Pain?

Hurt my back in a lifting accident at work. As part of my home program, the therapist insists that I sleep with a pillow between my legs. The knees and ankles both have to be supported by this pillow. What difference does this make, really?

Chronic Low Back Pain and Bed Issue?

I have chronic low back pain and wonder if a different mattress or type of bed would be beneficial.

Is Leg Pain Due to Pinched Nerve?

I am having pain down my leg to my knee. Is it possible that I have a pinched nerve?

Muscle Testing for Lower Back Pain

I am going to have some muscle testing done for a chronic low back pain problem. Is it better to be tested when I'm having a relapse and the pain is at its worse--or when the pain has gone away?

How to Safely Lift Heavy Objects

How exactly should you lift something heavy without hurting your back?

Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

How does acupuncture work? I had two sessions and my back pain is all gone.

What Is Flatback Syndrome?

Can you tell me what is flatback syndrome?

Childhood Scoliosis and Adult Low Back Pain

I had scoliosis as a kid. It hasn't bothered me much as an adult. But now I'm starting to notice more and more low back pain. Is there a connection?

Back Pain After Vaginal Hysterectomy

I had a vaginal hysterectomy so no muscles were cut. Even so I'm having back pain and weakness. How do you explain this?

Post-partum Back and Hip Pain

I had a baby about six weeks ago, and I'm trying to get back in shape. Every time I do any exercises I get back and hip pain. Is this normal?

Treatment for Different Length Legs

I found out I have a very small (quarter inch) difference in the length of my legs. The right is shorter than the left. Should I do anything about it?

What Causes Spinal Stenosis?

Both my grandparents were told they have spinal stenosis. What is it and what causes it?

Trying to Quit Smoking Before Back Fusion Surgery

A smoker for 25 years, I'm having a hard time quitting before my lumbar fusion surgery in six weeks. Are the benefits worth the effort it is taking me to stop smoking?
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