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Faqs

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 does it mean when my back pain is going down my right leg when I slouch?

I've been having some back pain lately that seems to be getting worse. Now it's going down my right leg. I notice if I sit up straight, the pain is better. If I slouch, the pain is worse. What does this mean? You may be conducting your own "slump" test -- a test often used by physiotherapists and physicians to assess the neural (nerve tissue) structures. The slump test involves assuming a "slumped" position: sitting with spine flexed forward (bent over) and head and neck forward flexed (chin to ...

Do Metal Implants in the Spine Set Off Airport Security?

Anyone with a joint replacement knows to carry a special letter from the doctor when traveling through airport security. Even with the documentation, travelers with implants can expect delays while security measures are applied. But what about metal implants in the spine? Are they deep enough and/or surrounded by enough body mass to avoid detection?In this study from England, the handheld metal detectors and arch way metal detectors were put to the test. Researchers used volunteers carrying meta...

How do professional athletes get a herniated disk and six weeks later they are back on the field?

How do professional athletes get a herniated disk and six weeks later they are back on the field? I exercise almost everyday but when I got my disk problem, I was out of commission for a good six months. What's "normal" here? Between the vertebral bones of the spine is an intervertebral disc. The discs provide a cushion or shock absorber for the spine. Each disc is made up of two parts. The center, called the nucleus, is spongy. It provides most of the disc's ability to absorb shock. The nucleus...

What happens to people who are diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis?

I've been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis. What happens to people like me who get this condition? Spinal stenosis describes a clinical syndrome of buttock or leg pain. These symptoms may occur with or without back pain. It is a condition in which the nerves in the spinal canal are closed in, or compressed.The spinal canal is the hollow tube formed by the bones of the spinal column. Anything that causes this bony tube to shrink can squeeze the nerves inside. As a result of many years of we...

What's the best way to predict prognosis after the first episode of low back pain?

What's the best way to predict prognosis after the first episode of low back pain? Prognosis by definition is the forecast of what will probably happen and the outcome of an illness, injury, disease or other condition. Prognosis especially looks at the chances for recovery. Many times, recovery is based on pain relief, ability to perform daily activities, and return-to-work.The natural history of back pain (what happens over time) varies from person to person. Scientists have not been able to ac...

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...

How well do disc replacements hold up in the long run?

How well do disc replacements hold up in the long run? The one I have now is three years old and holding well. Total Disc Replacement (TDR) in the lumbar spine (low back) for degenerative disc disease is becoming more popular as studies report good-to-excellent results. The device helps reduce pain while preserving motion and therefore offers a more functional treatment than spinal fusion.There are several different types (brands) of disc replacement devices available now. More and more short- t...

Is Pilates a good treatment for low back pain?

What do you think about Pilates for the treatment of low back pain? I hear some of my friends swear by it and others say it made them worse. I've just started having some back problems so I want to head it off at the pass, so-to-speak. Various studies have been done trying to identify the best way to approach back pain. Clearly, staying active and exercising seems to help. But the key question remains: what's the best type of exercise for this problem?Some of the exercise methods currently being...

Please answer my questions about back pain

I just saw my doctor for a problem I've developed with back pain. I got a lot of positive messages like "there's no permanent damage" and I should "recover quickly and easily." I was told to stay active ("not too much rest") and given a booklet on self-care of back pain. That was it! Does that seem right to you? What about X-rays? Muscle relaxants? Something?! The mystery of low back pain and how to treat it continues. Until scientists can pinpoint the exact cause of nonspecific low back pain, t...

Chronic low back pain, ankle arthritis and a heart condition?

Here's my problem. I have chronic low back pain and all I can get the doctor to suggest is "stay active and exercise." I'm frustrated because I have ankle arthritis that makes exercise difficult. I have a heart condition that leaves me breathless when I try to do anything. How in the world am I going to "stay active and exercise" with all this going on? Your frustration is appreciated and understood. Many people find themselves in difficult circumstances like this without knowing how to work thr...

Our 82-year-old mother has changed drastically in the last six weeks -- from normal to a wheelchair due to back pain??

Our 82-year-old mother has changed drastically in the last six weeks. She went from being a swinging hipster to being practically confined to a wheelchair. And all for one reason: back pain. The doctors she has seen can't seem to see her as anything but an old lady. All they do is give her painkillers and other medications. We know different but we don't know what to do about it. What do you suggest? The first step is to make sure a serious problem or cause for her painful symptoms has been rule...

Is lumbago with sciatica the same as piriformis syndrome with sciatica?

Can you explain why my doctor and my physiotherapist call my back problem two different things? At the doctor's office, they tell me I have lumbago with sciatica. My physiotherapist calls it piriformis syndrome with sciatica. Are they both talking about the same thing? Medical doctors make diagnoses based on patient symptoms and clinical presentation (e.g., low back pain, lumbago with sciatica). When there is an underlying problem such as infection, tumor, or fracture, then the diagnosis reflect...

What is reasonable when visiting a doctor for low back pain?

I just spent $125.00 on an office visit with a physician for my low back pain. All I got was advice to stay on my feet and active, a brochure on low back pain, and a boot out the door. Does this seem reasonable to you? Not even a prescription for pain relief. Based on current evidence, it sounds like your physician is actually following the recommended clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for the treatment of acute low back pain. Prescribing medications without evidence of their benefit is poor ...

More information on injections for back pain relief

I've given up on trying to get pain relief from my back and leg pain with massage, cold, heat, acupuncture, and exercise. I'm letting the surgeon inject me with whatever it is they use for this type of problem. But I'd like some more information on what they do use and how it's done before I leap. What can you tell me? Epidural injections are a common way to treat painful back problems, especially problems caused by degenerated or herniated discs. But this treatment has also been used in patient...

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...

What are artifacts

The radiology report I have on my spinal MRI says a few things about "artifacts." What are those exactly? Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the best ways to take a look inside the spine and see what's going on without actually opening the body. The brain, spinal cord, discs, ligaments, bones, blood vessles, nerves, muscles, and joints can all be evaluated with this tool.Information gained from MRIs is different than what is seen on X-rays or CT scans and is sometimes "complementary" to ...

Should I ask for x-rays and expose myself to radiation for low back pain

How do I know if I should ask for X-rays? I've had low back pain for three months now and it's not going away. Maybe knowing what's wrong would help me figure out what to do. On the other hand, I don't really want to expose myself to radiation. What do you think? You are absolutely right -- many people think X-rays or other imaging studies are the answer when we should really be evaluating each patient on an individual basis. In 2007, the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Soci...

After Physiotherapy How Long Can I Wait Before Surgery for My Lumbar Disc

I just found out my nagging back and leg pain is from a disc herniation. The surgeon tells me I can go to physiotherapy or have the disc removed. I have a trip to Europe planned (the dream of a lifetime). If I go to physiotherapy how long can I wait before having the surgery? Many people do get relief from their painful back and leg symptoms caused by a herniated disc with conservative (nonoperative) care. They may not ever need surgery. Some of the results depend on the severity of the disc pro...

How Long Can You Wait Before Getting Help for That Lumbar Disc

How Long Can You Wait Before Getting Help for That Lumbar Disc Many people with lumbar disc herniations opt for a wait-and-see approach to treatment. And that approach is usually recommended by most surgeons. But can you wait too long? Does the duration of symptoms have an unfavorable effect on final outcomes? This is the focus of a study conducted as part of the Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT).The SPORT database provides information and data from 13 multidisciplinary spine practic...

Feeling worse about severse arthritic degeneration and steonosis since x-rays

I had X-rays taken of my low back and wish I never knew what I know now. The X-rays showed severe arthritic degeneration and severe stenosis. Suddenly, I started feeling much worse. It didn't change the treatment plan so what's the point? You make a very good point and one that is backed up in research. Studies show that findings of degenerative disease, malalignment of the spine, and other anatomic problems or deformities don't always cause symptoms. And the opposite is true, too -- patients wi...

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...

How long before I have bowel or bladder control after Ushape sacral fracture surgery

I broke my sacrum when I fell from the second story of a building that was under construction. It's not a simple break -- this one is called a U-shape sacral fracture. I had surgery and they plated the break. I still don't have bowel or bladder control. How long does that take to come back? It sounds like you not only broke your sacrum, you did it in a way that may have caused injury to the spinal nerves. The nerves that come down the spinal canal end at the sacrum in a group called the cauda eq...

Will losing weight help extreme low back pain?

I have extreme low back pain and the doc says "lose weight." Will losing weight help? That's a very good question. Patients with low back pain who are overweight or obese are often advised to lose weight. That sounds like good advise, but some experts question whether there is any evidence that weight loss is linked with reduction of back pain. In other words, is it worth all the calorie restriction, exercise, meal replacement, and group therapy needed to accomplish the goal?A recent pilot study...

What is minimally invasive spine surgery?

What is minimally invasive spine surgery? The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) has recently published an instructional course lecture for spine surgeons on the subject of minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS).They bring us all up-to-date on the current state of minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS). MISS means, it is a way to reach the spine through the skin and soft tissues without cutting through all the muscles and many tendons. Instead of a large, open incision the surgeon...

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...

Artificial disc replacement -- why are there still spinal fusions being performed?

If artificial disc replacements are available now, why do surgeons continue doing spinal fusions instead? For a very long time, spinal fusion was the answer to chronic low back pain. But with time, surgeons were also able to see that once the spine was fused, load transferred to the next segment caused degeneration there as well. They call this phenomenon: adjacent segment degeneration (ASD). Many solutions to the problem of ASD have been proposed.The use of artificial disc replacement has been ...

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 is fluctuating back pain?

I heard a report on the radio that people with fluctuating back pain have the best chance for recovery. What exactly is fluctuating back pain? There are literally thousands of studies done on back pain. What causes it, who will get better, who won't, what type of treatment works best for each type of patient, and so on. All kinds of variables have been investigated from age to sex (male versus female), body weight, education level, work load, general health, and even locale (rural versus urban ...

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 ...

Why does SCS not eliminate all chronic pain?

I have suffered from chronic leg pain ever since I had a disc problem and surgery to remove the disc. I now have a spinal cord stimulation (SCS) device. It doesn't get rid of all the pain but about 60 per cent is gone. If it can reduce the pain, why can't it eliminate it altogether? That is a very good question. Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is used for 1000s of people with chronic, debilitating pain. The device delivers a low level electrical current through wires. The wires are placed in the a...

Why would X-stop work for spinal stenosis?

Dad has tried many treatments for back and leg pain from spinal stenosis. The surgeon has suggested trying something called an X-stop next. If the other treatments didn't work, why should this one? Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal. The spinal canal is the channel or opening created by the vertebral bones stacked on top of each other. Inside the canal is the spinal cord as it travels from the brain down to the lumbar spine. Degenerative changes associated with aging such as bone...

Am I susceptible to fusion disease?

Broadly speaking, fusion disease is the muscle atrophy (wasting) and weakness that can occur when muscles, nerves, and soft tissues are cut and stripped away from the spine during the fusion process.In an open incision procedure, the surgeon has to get down to the level of the spine (bones) in order to remove the disc and fuse the two vertebrae together. Damage to the endplate can also reduce blood flow to the segment needed for healing. The endplate is the cartilage between the disc and the end...

Are we out of shape because of chronic lower back pain?

My brother and I are having a debate about back pain. We both seem to suffer from chronic low back pain. He maintains that we have gotten out of shape because we can't do anything with the pain. I think we got the back pain because we were so out of shape to begin with. Which is it? This may be a bit like the chicken and the egg. Which came first: the pain or the deconditioning? Is there a link between the two before and/or after back pain develops?These are all good questions and ones that rese...

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...

Does it matter if the therapist manipulates my back with me on my side versus on my back?

Does it matter if the physiotherapist manipulates my back with me on my side versus on my back? When my regular therapist was gone, I noticed the therapist who took the regular therapist's place used the same kind of technique but from a different angle. Should I say something? I am being treated for low back pain at the moment. For some time now, physiotherapists have been trying to find better ways to treat patients with low back pain. By better we mean more effective treatment with successful...

Do I have to live with chronic low back pain?

After six years of suffering with low back pain with no known cause, my doctor tells me I'm just going to have to learn to live with the pain. That's just not acceptable to me. Are there any other options for people like me? No one doubts that patients with chronic low back pain have pain and even an underlying cause for that pain. But what to do about it can be a baffling challenge. Scientists, researchers, doctors, and physiotherapists have not been able to find one individual treatment that's...

Is exercise the only cure for chronic low back pain?

I'm having trouble finding someone who will take my back pain seriously and help me. The doctor says to exercise and it will get better. Well, I've tried exercise and the pain always comes back. Is it just me? Or do other people have this experience, too? A recent study was done investigating patient satisfaction with health care for chronic low back pain. They found that the majority of patients were satisfied with their care. The number of visits didn't seem to affect satisfaction. Those who w...

What's a Graded Functional Rehab Program for a Spine Fracture?

What's a graded functional rehab program for a spine fracture? That's what I'm headed for in the next few weeks. I kind of wanted to know what I'm getting into with this. Any kind of graded exercise means you'll start out slowly and gradually increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of any exercises given. With a spine fracture, this often takes the form of spinal stabilization exercises that include the entire trunk (back and abdomen). Most rehab programs are designed, administered, and/...

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 spinal mobilization the only treatment that works?

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 physiotherapist does. Yet when the mobs are being done, I hardly feel a thing. Am I imagining this or is it for real?

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?

Doesn't it seem like I should do whatever it takes to keep from hurting?

I've been having some low back pain for about six months now. I'm seeing a physiotherapist who wants me to start doing things that make it hurt. I'm better when I avoid those movements. Doesn't it seem like I should do whatever it takes to keep from hurting?

How can I tell which exercises make it worse for disc-related back pain?

I've been having some back pain the doctor thinks is disc related. I was told to keep active and exercise. Nothing I do seems to hurt until much later. How can I figure out what makes it worse and avoid those exercises?

Was it a psychosomatic response when I felt better after my PT pressed on my spine?

I've been having a nagging backache for weeks now. I finally went to see my doctor. She suggested I try a couple of sessions with a physiotherapist. The therapist just did a little pressing on my spine and I was much better right away. Was this just a psychosomatic response -- I wanted to get better so anything would have worked?

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.

Are my back muscles getting bigger because I have gained strength in my back?

I've been doing physiotherapy 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?

What is sacroiliac dysfunction?

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

Why is it taking longer to recover after exercising?

I've always had problems with low back pain but it seems to go away quickly when I get back on my program of exercises. Lately even with my exercises, it's taking longer to recover. What can I do to change this?

What's the best way to get a bad back back to normal?

I've always had friends and family members with back pain but I prided myself in never having that problem. Well, guess what? I'm 55-years-old, newly retired, and down with a bad back. What's the best way to get back to normal?

A massage or exercise? Which is better for low back pain?

I'm wondering about the treatment I received for low back pain this week. In the past, when my back flared up, I would see my physiotherapist and get a massage and some heat. Now that's all gone by the wayside. Everything is exercise-based. Is there any proof that one works better than the other?

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?

Are there different types of traction?

I'm seeing a physiotherapist for traction to the low back area. She told me it would take a few sessions to find out what kind of traction might work best for me. I thought traction was where they put you on the table, apply a harness, and the machine pulls. What other kinds are there?

Shouldn't focus on alleviating pain be the first treatment?

I'm seeing a physiotherapist for low back pain that started two weeks ago. The treatment doesn't seem to be focused on getting rid of the pain. Shouldn't that be first?

Is all the counseling and information really necessary to help relieve back pain?

I'm seeing a physiotherapist for low back pain that just won't go away. Every session is like attending a motivational conference. Is all the counseling, information, and rah-rah really necessary?

How can I measure improvement after six months of PT?

I'm seeing a physiotherapist for low back pain that I've had for more than six months. What are some ways I can measure improvement?

Why isn't my exercise program based on pain levels?

I'm seeing a physiotherapist for back pain that's lasted six months. My exercise program isn't based on my pain levels. I'm supposed to keep increasing how long I exercise. This just doesn't make sense to me. Won't I be able to do more if my pain is taken care of first?

How much longer should I wait before saying something after one week of treatment with no results?

I'm seeing a physiotherapist 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?

How do I get past the fear of back pain to return to work and sports>

I'm prone to low back pain. I'm afraid to go back to work or do sports because I don't want to bring on the pain. How can I get past this?

What is the difference between disability and impairment?

I'm on worker's compensation for a work-related back injury. The doctor's report mentions disability and impairment. What's the difference between these two things?

What exercise program should I use for low back pain?

Q. I'm looking for an exercise program to help with my low back pain. So far it seems like everything I've tried just makes me worse. What can you suggest?

How does a book help when doing belly exercises?

I'm learning how to do some belly exercises to help with my back pain. While lying on my back with my knees bent I put a heavy book on my stomach. Then I'm supposed to pull my stomach muscles in. How does the book help?

Is it better to go with the attitude

I'm in a rehab program to help me with chronic back pain. Is it better to go with the attitude "no pain, no gain" or "let pain be your guide"? I've heard both from different people.

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?

What is causing new low back pain when switching legs?

I'm having some new pains in my low back area. I notice when I stand on my right leg I can stay straight, but when I stand on my left leg, my whole body twists to the right and my pain is worse. What could be causing this?

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.

Why is exercise not working for my chronic lower back pain?

I'm going to a pain clinic now to try and help me with my chronic low back pain. Everyone seems convinced that the answer is exercise. I like to exercise and I always have, but it doesn't really seem to make a difference in my level of pain. How come I'm not getting the same results as everyone else?

As a senior, how often should I do my weight-training program to keep the benefit going?

I'm 79-years old and in good health. I've started a weight-training program at the local health club. How often should I do my exercises to keep the benefit going?

Is there a program that makes phone call reminders for patients?

I'm 18 years old with a back pain problem. I keep missing my physiotherapy appointments. I had to drop out of treatment. Is there a program that makes phone call reminders for patients? I'd like to finish therapy, but can't seem to get it all together.

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?

How is it possible that my back felt better after a PT worked on my legs?

I went to a physiotherapist for my back pain. She tested and measured how my legs moved in and out while I was lying on my stomach. By the time she was done, I felt much better. How is that possible? She never even touched my back.

What do tests of getting up, bending forward, and walking really show?

I went to a physiotherapist for back pain. I had to do three tests that involved sitting on the floor and getting up again, bending forward, and walking back and forth along the floor as fast as possible. What do these kinds of tests really show?

What can the treatment in the international guidelines do for me?

I went on-line and saw there are international guidelines recommending physiotherapy treatment for chronic back pain suffers. What can this kind of treatment do for me?

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?

Is there a way to get past exercising for the pain in my back?

I started having back pain about two years ago. The doctor says its mechanical and nothing is seriously wrong with me. When I do the exercises the therapist gave me, the pain goes away. But if I miss more than a week, it comes right back. Isn't there some way to get past this stage?

Is there a way to gain confidence to do more with my back pain?

I seem to be all bound up in fears and anxiety about my back pain. I'm afraid it will hurt if I do certain things so I stop doing them. Now I find I'm doing less and less and hurting more and more. Is there any way out of this cycle?

Should I get a second opinion for a diagnosis of a herniated disc?

I saw an orthopedic surgeon for back and leg pain I just started having. Without even an X-ray or MRI, I was diagnosed with a probable herniated disc and put on medications. I'm supposed to see a physiotherapist, too. Should I get a second opinion?

Are all the questions a PT asks really necessary?

I saw a physiotherapist for low back pain that just wouldn't go away. I was asked all kinds of questions about my activities, how far I can walk, my ability to use the bathroom, and so on. Are all these questions really needed? Can't we just get to the treatment and get the back pain taken care of?

What are the neutral zone exercises that can prevent back pain?

I saw a news report that back pain sufferers can prevent future episodes by doing neutral zone exercises. What are these?

What does the test of pressing on my backbone tell you?

I saw a chiropractor and a physiotherapist for back pain this month. They both did this funky test pressing against my backbone several times. What does this tell them?

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?

Is lifting with straight legs really so bad?

I know it's supposed to be better to lift with bent legs. But it's easier and faster to keep my legs straight. Is lifting with straight legs really so bad?

What does nutrition have to do with a bulging spine?

I just got the results of an MRI on my back. It shows a slight bulge at the L45 disc. My doctor advises exercise to improve the nutrition of the spine. What does nutrition have to do with a bulging disc?

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?

Should I wait until the pain in my back is gone before going back to work?

I injured my lower back a few weeks ago. It still hurts, but my doctor wants me to go back to work. Shouldn't I wait until I don't have any more pain?

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?

Would it help if I did some exercises to strengthen my arms and legs?

I hurt my back at work several months ago. It still bothers me off and on. I do a lot of lifting and climbing. Would it help if I did some exercises to strengthen my arms and legs?

Aren't there some specific exercises I can do to help my back?

I hurt my back at work last week. The doctor who saw me told me to stay active and get back to my usual routine as soon as possible. I'm not really getting any better. Aren't there some specific exercises I can do to help?

Is it too soon to expect improvement for my back after one week of therapy?

I hurt my back about a week ago. I've been getting therapy for it. Is it too soon to expect improvement?

I have low back pain. If I just use a brace, will it go away?

I have low back pain. If I just use a brace, will it go away?

I have low back pain that I suspect might be my sacroiliac joint. How can I know for sure?

I have low back pain that I suspect might be my sacroiliac joint. How can I know for sure?

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?

What is TENS and how does it work?

I have chronic lower back pain and my doctor wants me to go for TENS. What is that and how does it work?

How do I know if the treatment is helping or if I'm just getting better on my own?

I have been treated for low back pain since my car accident four months ago. I seem to be getting better slowly, but how do I know if the treatment I'm getting is helping or if I'm just getting better on my own?

McKenzie method treatment in Chronic low 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?

Work out at the gym for low 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?

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?

Measurable improvement in Chronic low back pain

I've been seeing a physical therapist for chronic low back pain. I'd like to keep track of measurable improvement. Is there some scientific way to do this?

Manipulation on back helped low back pain

I've been seeing a physical therapist (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?

Bedrest for back pain.

I've been reading that bedrest is no longer recommended for back pain. Why?

Return to work after low back pain

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?

Rehab for a back injury

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?

Tools to measure the results of treatment for low back problems

I've been in treatment for a back problem for about six weeks now. I feel like I'm about the same, but my wife says she sees some progress. Is there any way to keep track of my results more objectively?

Trouble with back pain for smoking

I've been having some trouble with back pain off and on over the last six months. Right now it's more on than off. My doctor tells me quitting smoking would help. Is it enough to cut back the number of cigarettes I smoke?

Fear-avoidance

I've been having some low back pain for about six months now. I'm seeing a physical therapist who wants me to start doing things that make it hurt. I'm better when I avoid those movements. Doesn't it seem like I should do whatever it takes to keep from hurting?

Disc related back pain

I've been having some back pain the doctor thinks is disc related. I was told to keep active and exercise. Nothing I do seems to hurt until much later. How can I figure out what makes it worse and avoid those exercises?

Back pain from worn out facet joints

I've been having low back pain off and on for the last two months. It's worse after sitting for more than an hour. The doctor and physical therapist both tell me it's from worn out facet joints. How can they tell this without an MRI?

Nagging backache

I've been having a nagging backache for weeks now. I finally went to see my doctor. She suggested I try a couple of sessions with a physical therapist. The therapist just did a little pressing on my spine and I was much better right away. Was this just a psychosomatic response -- I wanted to get better so anything would have worked?

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?

Low back pain

I've always had problems with low back pain but it seems to go away quickly when I get back on my program of exercises. Lately even with my exercises, it's taking longer to recover. What can I do to change this?

Best way to get back to normal from low back pain

I've always had friends and family members with back pain but I prided myself in never having that problem. Well, guess what? I'm 55-years-old, newly retired, and down with a bad back. What's the best way to get back to normal?

Treatment for low back pain

I'm wondering about the treatment I received for low back pain this week. In the past, when my back flared up, I would see my physical therapist and get a massage and some heat. Now that's all gone by the wayside. Everything is exercise-based. Is there any proof that one works better than the other?

Fear-Avoidance Beliefs (FAB)

I'm very distressed because I hurt my back at work two weeks ago and I'm not getting better. My wife says I'm just making myself worse worrying about it. Can stress over an injury really keep me from getting better?

Belt at work to protect my back while lifting and carrying objects

I'm thinking of wearing a belt at work to protect my back while lifting and carrying objects. What kind of belt should I get?

More lifting is bad or not for my back

I'm thinking about switching jobs at work. But the new job involves much more lifting. Should I avoid this kind of work? Is it bad for my back?

Cats and Cows

I'm supposed to be doing an exercise for my back called "cats and cows." First I pull my belly in and arch my back like a cat. Then I drop my belly down and sag like a cow. I can never remember how to do the breathing. Am I supposed to breathe in or out with the cats?

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 that just won't go away

I'm seeing a physical therapist for low back pain that just won't go away. Every session is like attending a motivational conference. Is all the counseling, information, and rah-rah really necessary?

Some ways of measuring improvement in low back pain

I'm seeing a physical therapist for low back pain that I've had for more than six months. What are some ways I can measure improvement?

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?

Exercise program for back pain

I'm seeing a physical therapist for back pain that's lasted six months. My exercise program isn't based on my pain levels. I'm supposed to keep increasing how long I exercise. This just doesn't make sense to me. Won't I be able to do more if my pain is taken care of first?

exercising in low back pain

I'm seeing a physical therapist for another bout of low back pain. I see in the clinic there are groups of patients exercising together who also have back pain. Once I'm done with PT do I progress to the group?

Back to work after back pain

I'm recovering from an intense three weeks of back pain. I'll start back to work next Monday. When is it safe to go back to my bowling league and softball team?

I'm prone to low back pain

I'm prone to low back pain. I'm afraid to go back to work or do sports because I don't want to bring on the pain. How can I get past this?

Weight loss and exercise program because of back pain

I'm on a weight loss and exercise program because of back pain. I'm five feet tall and weigh 300 pounds. I'm trying to save money for a trip when I lose 100 pounds. Can I exercise at home and get the same results as going to the gym?

Back sore

I'm not very physically active. I have a desk job and then in the evening, I'm too tired to do anything. Why is my back sore?

Belly exercises to help back pain

I'm learning how to do some belly exercises to help with my back pain. While lying on my back with my knees bent I put a heavy book on my stomach. Then I'm supposed to pull my stomach muscles in. How does the book help?

Chronic back pain

I'm in a rehab program to help me with chronic back pain. Is it better to go with the attitude "no pain, no gain" or "let pain be your guide"? I've heard both from different people.

My back hurts when I move it

I'm in a catch-22 situation. My back hurts when I move it but my doctor wants me to move as much as possible. How can this really help?

Serious back problems at work

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

One side low back pain

I'm having some pain in my low back (just on one side). Usually I can put my finger right on the spot. But sometimes it seems to move up or down a little. A few times, I could feel the pain clear to my knee. Is this a sign that the nerve is getting pinched or what?

Pains in low back area

I'm having some new pains in my low back area. I notice when I stand on my right leg I can stay straight, but when I stand on my left leg, my whole body twists to the right and my pain is worse. What could be causing this?

Bout with low back pain

I'm going to be seeing a physical therapist later this week for a recent bout with low back pain. What should I expect?

Chronic low back pain

I'm going to a pain clinic now to try and help me with my chronic low back pain. Everyone seems convinced that the answer is exercise. I like to exercise and I always have, but it doesn't really seem to make a difference in my level of pain. How come I'm not getting the same results as everyone else?

Diagnosis of Lumbar Disc herniation

I'm being treated for disc herniation as the cause of my low-back pain. How can they be sure that's what's causing the problem without an MRI?

Low Back Problemamong Amateur and Professional Golfers

I'm an amateur golfer trying to improve my swing. I notice at the top of my backswing I get twinges of low back pain. What could be causing this?

Advised For Ski Instructor on Low Back Pain

I'm a downhill ski instructor. Recently I hurt my back. Is it safe to ski when the back is sore? I've heard movement and activity is the best treatment and I don't want to miss any work.

Weight - Training Program

I'm 79-years old and in good health. I've started a weight-training program at the local health club. How often should I do my exercises to keep the benefit going?

Pilates Exercise OR Physical Therapist ?

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

Progressive Resistive Exercise (PRE)

I'd like to strengthen my back muscles. What kind of exercises should I do? Do I need any special equipment?

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?

The Three Basic Test for Back Pain

I went to a physical therapist for back pain. I had to do three tests that involved sitting on the floor and getting up again, bending forward, and walking back and forth along the floor as fast as possible. What do these kinds of tests really show?

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?

Advantages of MRI

I was surprised to find out MRIs can't really show what's wrong when back pain is a problem. I thought this was state-of-the art technology.

Lumbar Osteophytes

I was recently diagnosed with "lumbar osteophytes." What does this mean?

Spine Patient Outcomes Research Trial (SPORT)

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 physical therapist for the first one and avoid surgery. What are the chances I can do that again with this one?

Low Back Problemof Older People

I vowed I wasn't going to get all stiff and inflexible as I got older. But here I am at 55 and starting to notice less motion and less flexibility especially in my back. I exercise regularly every day. Is there any way to keep this from getting worse?

Aerobics Class

I used to do a low-impact aerobics class every day, but ever since I developed low back pain, I've stayed away from the gym. Now I'm thinking I should exercise again. Could aerobics help my back?

Abdominal Muscles

 I think my abdominal muscles are weak but I don't know for sure. How can I figure this out?

Possibilities of Legs Pain in LBP Patient

I started walking for exercise to help my long-term back problem. Lately I've started getting a burning pain in my legs after a few minutes of walking. It goes away if I rest. What is happening?

Exercise also seems to help prevent back pain from recurring

I started having back pain about two years ago. The doctor says its mechanical and nothing is seriously wrong with me. When I do the exercises the therapist gave me, the pain goes away. But if I miss more than a week, it comes right back. Isn't there some way to get past this stage?

Founding Cause of Back Pain

I started having back pain about a month ago that seems to be getting worse instead of better. How can I tell if there's something seriously wrong with me?

Subacute Phase

I sprained my back on the job about a month ago. I've been off work ever since. Is there anything I can do on my own to get back to work sooner?+

Fear Avoidance Beliefs

I seem to be all bound up in fears and anxiety about my back pain. I'm afraid it will hurt if I do certain things so I stop doing them. Now I find I'm doing less and less and hurting more and more. Is there any way out of this cycle?

Disposable Heat

I see the drug stores have a heat wrap for use with low back pain. These are kept on for up to eight hours. I thought too much heat isn't good? I've always been told to use heat for up to 30 minutes.

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?

Erector Spinae

I see so many people with low back pain who can't exercise. Some can hardly get around at work. I really like participating in sports of all kinds. With my limited schedule, is it more important to work on strength or flexibility?

VAX-D stands for vertebral axial decompression

 I see a sign outside a local clinic advertising the new VAX-D treatment for low back pain. What is this? I have low back pain off and on. Could this help me?

Recovery Period of Back Pain

I saw my doctor for back pain that came on when I lifted too much weight at work. The nurse gave me a pamphlet on back care and some advice on lifting. Is this really enough to get me back on my feet?

Sciatica

I saw an orthopedic surgeon for back and leg pain I just started having. Without even an X-ray or MRI, I was diagnosed with a probable herniated disc and put on medications. I'm supposed to see a physical therapist, too. Should I get a second opinion?

Spinal Manipulation

I saw a report from Canada that some physical therapists don't think spinal manipulation works for low back pain. Does it?

Treatment Baseline for Back Pain

I saw a physical therapist for low back pain that just wouldn't go away. I was asked all kinds of questions about my activities, how far I can walk, my ability to use the bathroom, and so on. Are all these questions really needed? Can't we just get to the treatment and get the back pain taken care of?

Neutral Zone (NZ)

I saw a news report that back pain sufferers can prevent future episodes by doing neutral zone exercises. What are these?

Posterior - Anterior Glide

I saw a chiropractor and a physical therapist for back pain this month. They both did this funky test pressing against my backbone several times. What does this tell them?

Diaphragm Muscle and Helping Exercises

I recently took a misstep off a curb and landed on my right buttocks. I have been seeing a physical therapist 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?

Can Cigarette Smoking Makes Causes Back Pain?

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

Forward Stooped

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

Is lifting with straight legs really so bad in Lower Back Pain (LBP)?

I know it's supposed to be better to lift with bent legs. But it's easier and faster to keep my legs straight. Is lifting with straight legs really so bad?

How can I protect my knees and my back when I lift?

I know it's important to bend my knees when I lift heavy things. But I've had surgery on both of my knees, and they really hurt when they bend too far. How can I protect my knees and my back when I lift?

NonSpecific LBP (Low Back Pain)

I just came back from the physical therapist'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?

Moving Problem After Low Back Surgery

I injured my back in a work-related activity. After surgery and rehab, I'm ready to go back to the job. I had to take a test to measure my motion and function. By the time I got done twisting, turning, bending, and moving, my back was very sore. I never do that much moving on-the-job. Was this really necessary?

Over Weight

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?

Specific Stabilization Exercises

I hurt my back on the job about three years ago. The physical therapist gave me stabilization exercises at that time. I've been pain free ever since. Now after delivering a 10-pound baby I'm having the same back pain again. The stabilization exercises seem to be helping. How often should I do them?

Rubber - Stamping an Exercise Program

I hurt my back in an on-the-job accident last week. I'm very interested in getting back to my regular exercise program and back to work. Should I tell my physical therapist this or just go with whatever program is set up for me?

Proper Lifting Techniques in Back Pain

I hurt my back in a work-related accident. Even though I use proper lifting techniques, all it took was a slight turn to the side and my back went out. How can I prevent this from happening again?

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?

Spinal Stabilization Exercises

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

Back Brace or Support Should Help Prevent or Reduce Low Back Injuries

I hurt my back at work and want to keep from getting hurt again. Will a back support help?

numerical Pain Rating Scale (NPRS)

I hurt my back about a week ago. I've been getting therapy for it. Is it too soon to expect improvement?

Back Belt Protection in Lower Back?

I heard that more and more studies are showing that back belts don't really protect the back and may even weaken it. How is this possible?

What is Alternative Care to Treat Back Pain?

I heard on the news that more and more people are going for alternative care to treat back pain. What is alternative care?

Quality of Life (QOL) Issues

I hear a lot about quality of life. Even medical treatment is paid for by my insurance based on improving quality of life. What's included in this idea?

How Quickly Returned Back to Normal Life after Low Back Injury?

I have watched many co-workers injure their backs and never return to work. I always thought they were just soft. Now it's my turn. After hurting my back six weeks ago, I am still having enough pain to keep me from doing my job. What is it that keeps some of us from getting back to work quickly--or at all?

Using brace Can Reduce Low Back Pain?

 I have low back pain. If I just use a brace, will it go away?

Can Exercises Reduced The Low Back Pain In The Long Run?

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

TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation

I have chronic lower back pain and my doctor wants me to go for TENS. What is that and how does it work? 

Will Exercise Really Affect The Muscles in My Low Back?

 I have chronic low back pain, and my doctor wants me to start exercising. He says I'll see improvement in just a few months. Will exercise really affect the muscles in my low back?

Exercises using the Swiss ball

I have chronic low back pain that seems to come and go at least once a year. I've seen people at the gym working out with an exercise ball. They put their legs up on the ball while lying on their backs. Should I be doing these exercises too?

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.

Evidence - Based Practice

I have been treated for low back pain since my car accident four months ago. I seem to be getting better slowly, but how do I know if the treatment I'm getting is helping or if I'm just getting better on my own?

Lumbar Support

I have been shopping for a lumbar support to use while sitting at my computer. Do they really help?

Protective Splinting

I have been seeing a physical therapist for a back pain rehabilitation program. The therapist told me I am using my muscles to protect my back, which is keeping me from moving normally. Is this a common problem?

Traction for sciatica

I have been getting traction for sciatica that just started up a few weeks ago. It seems to be helping but it always gives me a headache. How long should I put up with the headache pain in order to get relief from the leg pain?

Therapeutic Ultrasound During Pregnancy

I am pregnant and have low back pain. I've gotten ultrasound treatments to ease my back pain before. How come I can't get them now that I'm pregnant? I just had an ultrasound to look at my baby.

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?

Waddle Walk in Pregnancy

I am eight months pregnant and have gotten comments about my "waddle walk." Why is this happening? Does it have anything to do with the aching in my groin area at the end of a day?

Obesity and Disc Herniations

I am about 100 pounds overweight. I've had two work-related disc herniations. Does obesity wear out the discs?

New Treatments for Back Pain

I am a retired physical therapist who now has a son who is a doctor of physical therapy. Everything has changed so much since I was in practice 50 years ago. I understand that back pain is being viewed completely differently now. Can you catch me up to speed on this? I'd like to be able to converse with my son on the topic without seeming too ancient.

Exercise and Chronic Low Back Pain

I am a regular exerciser. I walk three miles five times a week. I lift weights three times a week. Even so, I hurt my back last month and still haven't gotten over it. I thought exercise was supposed to prevent back problems. What went wrong with me?

Sacroiliac Joint Pain in Back and Leg?

I am 71 years old and no spring chicken. I've had sacroiliac problems off and on for years. Usually it's a nagging ache in my low back. Now I'm having back and thigh pain. Can the sacroiliac joint cause pain in both areas?

How to Safely Lift Heavy Objects

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

Lower Back Pain Interferes with Walking?

How does low back pain get in the way of walking?

Acupuncture for Low Back Pain

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

How Common Is Lower Back Pain?

How common is lower back pain? It seems like everyone I know has a bad back.

Whta Constitutes an Episode of Back Pain?

How can you tell if a second bout of back pain is really just part of the first episode? I've had three rounds of back pain. Each one is a little different but the insurance company wants to say it's all one problem. There's a limit on how much treatment they will pay for each "episode."

Non-surgical Treatment for Back Pain

How can I treat my back pain without surgery?

Back Pain Prevention

How can I keep from hurting my lower back?

Speed Recovery From Back Injury

Help! I'm self-employed. I've hurt my back, and I've got to get back on the job right away. What can I do to return to my pre-injury level of activity?

Back Pain After Accident

Four years ago I had a disabling car accident. I haven't been able to go back to work since because of severe back pain. My doctor tells me the pain isn't a sign of harm, and that I can do anything I want to. How can I do that when every movement hurts?

Sacroiliac Joint Pain and Incontinence

For the last six months, I have had pain in my sacroiliac joint. The pain seems to come and go, but I don't know what brings it on or makes it go away. At the same time, I've noticed some problems holding my urine and dribbling before getting to the toilet. Are these two problems related?

Fear-avoidance Beliefs (FAB) and Pain

Fear-avoidance beliefs (FABs) is a fairly new concept. But it's one that researchers have validated as real and potentially harmful. FAB is the notion that activity and/or movement is going to cause more pain and reinjury in someone with low back pain (LBP). Studies are being done to see if this same idea applies to neck pain as well.

Do Pilates Improve Core Body Strength?

Everyone at the gym is doing Pilates for core strengthening. Is there really anything to this?

Spondylolisthesis and Aerobic Exercise

I have a lumbar spine problem called spondylolisthesis. Is it safe to do aerobic exercise with this condition?

Health Care Survey Feedback

Every time I go to the clinic or hospital I get a survey asking me if I was happy with the service. I'm always happy with the people and the treatment I get, but sometimes I'm not satisfied with the results. How do I get that across to them without getting anyone in trouble?

How Do Antidepressants and Meditation Help Back Pain?

I have a lot of pain in my lower back from an injury many years ago. At one point, my doctor wanted to put me on antidepressants, which I refused because I wasn't depressed. Now he wants me to go for meditation and therapy. It's not in my head and I'm not depressed. How is this supposed to help me? Does he think I'm imagining it?

Anatomical Drawing Tool for Back Pain Patients

Every time I go see the doctor about my chronic back pain I have to draw a picture of my pain on a little cartoon character. How does this help anything?

What Causes a Back to Go Out?

Every now and then my back goes out on me. It seems to happen at the oddest times. I'll be doing the simplest thing, like reaching for a glass of water or turning off a light. What's causing this to happen?

Exercises for Lower Back Pain

Every magazine I read has the answer to low back pain. Usually, it's some kind of exercise program. But it's never the same set of exercises. Isn't there a one-exercise-fits-all kind of program for back pain?

Does Lower Back Pain Affect Muscles?

Does low back pain actually affect the muscles in the back?

New to Low Back Pain (LBP)

Does anyone know what happens to people after they start having problems with back pain? I've heard that almost everyone will have a backache sometime in their life. I just had my first one. It went away after three weeks. What can I expect now?

Pilates After Lower Back Surgery

I have a large herniated disc at L34 that is very painful and limits my activities. In preparation for spine surgery to repair the problem, I've been doing a modified program of Pilates exercises. How soon after surgery can I start doing these exercises again?

Walking Patterns of People with Lower Back Pain

Do people with low back pain have different walking patterns than other people?

Sacroiliac Joint Pain and Physical Therapy

I have a kind of low back pain that makes it hard to bend over. My doctor says this is a problem of the sacroiliac joint. She wants me to have physical therapy. Will physical therapy take the pain away?

Different Patterns of Back Pain

Do patients with different low back problems have different amounts of pain?

Help for Chronic Low Back Pain

Despite going to yoga, Pilates, and neuromuscular integrative action (NIA) classes, I still have chronic low back pain. What else can I do to get over this?

Can Emotional Stress Cause Back Pain?

Could my divorce be giving me low back pain?

Disc Problem and Sleeping Position

I have a disc problem in my low back. How should I try to position my back when sleeping at night?

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and Back Pain

Could a TENs stimulator help my chronic low back pain?

Long Periods of Sitting and Back Pain

I have a computer job that requires long periods of sitting. Should I take the back of my chair off to help me sit up better?

Difference Between Disc Herniation and Disc Protrusion

Can you tell me what's the difference between disc herniation and disc protrusion? I saw two different surgeons for an opinion on what's causing my back pain. One told me it is a disc herniation. The other said it was a disc protrusion. Are they the same thing or do I have two different problems?

Different Physical Therapy Treatments for Same Back Pain

I had two bouts of low back pain last year. I saw two different physical therapists at the same clinic. The treatment program was different each time. They both seemed to do the same kind of exam. Why the difference?

Numbness and Weakness After Spinal Stenosis Surgery

I had surgery for spinal stenosis six months ago. I suppose I should be thankful that my back pain is all gone. I can walk now without stopping every few feet. I do have some residual numbness and weakness on that side that I'm not happy about. Is there anything that can be done about this?

What Is Flatback Syndrome?

Can you tell me what is flatback syndrome?

Is Weight Loss Improving Protruding Disc?

I had some tests done that show my low back pain is coming from a damaged and protruding disc. I opted to try diet and exercise instead of an operation. So far I've lost 50 pounds and my back pain is better. It does seem like a slow recovery. How can I tell if the disc is getting better without getting another MRI?

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?

What Is Degenerative Disc Disease

Can you tell me what degenerative disc disease is? My mother just called and said this is what she's been diagnosed with. Is this a learn-to-live-with-it kind of condition? Or can something be done to ease her pain?

Is Ultrasound Treatment Effective for Managing Low Back Pain?

I had an ultrasound treatment for low back pain. It only took five minutes and I didn't feel any better afterwards. Should I keep getting this treatment?

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?

Low Back Pain Tender to Touch

Can you explain why I have tenderness to touch in my low back area? I've had low back pain for five months now. Just pressing on the skin and muscles makes it hurt. Why is that?

Exercise to Prevent Back Pain Twinge

I had a back injury last year that seems to be fully recovered. Sometimes though I'll turn just the right way and get a twinge of pain. It makes me wonder if there isn't some kind of exercise I should be doing to protect my back. What do you suggest?

Low Back Starts To Ache After a Couple Days of Work

Can you explain something to me? I work in the purchasing department of a large hospital. My job involves light lifting but constant bending over to pick up items and then putting them on shelves. I notice on Monday and Tuesday, I'm just fine but by Wednesday my low back starts to ache. I can make it through to the weekend. After resting I'm fine again but on Monday, the cycle starts all over.

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?

Frustrated With Healthcare Forms On Back Pain

I filled out a form at the rehab clinic when I went there for a problem with back pain. Most of the questions were about work and sex. I am retired and widowed. Why do they make us fill out forms like this that don't even apply to me?

Simple Exercises to Increase Back Strength

I don't have much time to exercise but I want to keep my back strong for my job. Is there one single exercise I can do that will cover all the bases?

Exercises for Stiff Back Joint

I don't have back pain but there is a spot that is just plain stiff. Are there any exercises I can do to loosen this up?

Research on Health Benefits of Ambidextrous Athletics

I am strongly left-handed and play amateur tennis in local, regional, and state tournaments. I often wonder if I shouldn't practice playing with my right hand just to stay evened out. Is there any research on this topic?

Does Anticipating Back Pain Make It Worse?

Can I make my back pain worse if I'm afraid to move? In other words, if I expect my back to hurt, will it?

Should I See Specialist or Generalist for Treatment of Back Pain

I am seeking the services of an acupuncturist for chronic low back pain. But I'm finding that some people trained in acupuncture have other skills as well. Some are also naturopaths or massage therapists. Is it better to see someone who just does one thing (acupuncture)? Or is it better to see someone who could do a variety of treatments?

Can Having Different Length Legs Cause Disc Herniation?

Can having one leg that is three-quarters of an inch shorter than the other cause a disc to become herniated in the low back?

Acupuncture and Treatment of Back Pain

I am seeing my doctor for back pain but would like to try acupuncture too. Is it ok to do both?

Can Exercise Prevent Back Pain?

Can exercise really prevent back pain? Which ones should I do?

Can Coughing Cause Back Pain?

Can coughing from asthma cause back pain? My husband and daughter both have asthma and often complain about backaches and pains.

What Causes Spinal Stenosis?

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

Preventing Back Injury on the Job

Before beginning a new job on an assembly line, I had to attend a two-day class on how to prevent back injuries. Part of the class was on proper lifting and handling techniques.

Measurement of Back Strength

As part of a return-to-work evaluation, I was recently tested for back strength. I was afraid of hurting myself again. I don’t think I gave my best effort. Will this affect the results?

Back Pain in the Elderly

As my parents age, I see them with more pain in their backs. It's not from lifting and stuff or arthritis, just pain. Do the backs get more fragile as people age?

Womens Back Pain Employed Versus Homemakers

Are women employed outside the home more likely to have back pain compared to homemakers?

Time Required for Back Rest from Chronic Use

Are there any studies to show how much rest is needed between work days for the back and other body parts to recover from chronic use? I'm on partial disability and trying to figure out how much I can work without reinjuring myself.

Are Overweight People Who are Larger Stonger than Those at Optimal Weight>

Are people who are overweight and therefore larger in size for their height stronger than people the same size who weigh less?

Gender and Risk for Developing Low Back Pain

Are men and women equally at risk for developing low back pain?

Will a Slipped Disc Continue to Worsen?

An X-ray showed a vertebra in my low back that is slipping forward. Will it keep slipping? Could it slip completely off the rest of my spine?

How Does Exercise Improve Chronic Low Back Pain?

After years of chronic low back pain, I started exercising regularly despite having bad days. Over time my pain has gotten much better. Though I still have some bad days, these are far fewer. Can anyone explain why exercise works this way?

Disagree with Doctor's Opinion that I am Fully Recovered from Back Pain

After six months of treatment for back pain, the doctor has told me I'm "recovered." I may be pain free, but there are still many normal things I can't do yet. How can I be "recovered?"

Benefit of Group Exercise in Back Pain

After six months of daily back pain I got better by getting out and exercising. A friend of mine did the same thing but her doctor advised her to join a group. Does it really matter if exercise is done alone or in a group?

Spondylolysis on One Side

After several weeks of back pain I went to see the doctor. An X-ray showed I have a spondylolysis on one side. The doctor suggested using a corset and avoiding sports activity for six months. How's that going to help me?

Physical Therapy Positions to Help Back Pain

After seven months of daily low back pain, I went to see a physical therapist. The therapist put me in all kinds of positions. How will this really help me?

Post-partum Sacroiliac Joint Pain

After my first child was born, I started having sacroiliac joint pain. My physical therapist says this can happen after childbirth. The pelvis separates and widens during childbirth. My doctor says it's not possible to have enough movement to cause pain. Who's right?

Psychological Counseling for Back Pain

After months of back pain, I finally turned myself into the doctor for help. All the medical tests were negative, so I was tested by a team of rehab specialists. They felt I would benefit more from psychological counseling than from an intensive physical training program. I don't think I have a mental problem. What good is this counseling going to do?

When to Stop Theray and Opt for Surgery

After months of sciatic pain, I finally caved and had surgery. My surgeon assured me that this is not uncommon, but I still felt like a failure. How often do patients give up on therapy and go for the surgery?

Back Stopped Aching after Hip Replaced

After I had my hip replaced, I noticed that my back stopped aching. Is it just a coincidence or is there some connection?

Suggestions for Managing Back Pain

After hurting my back in a car accident, I was given a booklet with helpful tips on lifting, sleeping positions, and exercise. Even after carefully following all of these instructions, I still have back pain. What else can I do?

Weakness Cause or Effect of Back Injury?

After hurting my back I had some special testing done. The tests showed there is weakness of the muscles on one side of my spine. It's the same side I have pain on. Did I hurt my back because I have this weakness or did the weakness come on after the back injury?

Will Reducing Heavy Lifting Ease Back Pain?

After hurting my back at work I switched jobs. Now I'm not doing as much heavy lifting and I feel much better. Is this just all in my head or does it really make a difference?

What Is Neutral Spine Position

After having two back injuries, I've been sent to physical therapy. The therapist is going to teach me how to find my "neutral spine position." What is this and how's it done?

Physical Therapy Exercises Make My Back Hurt More

After having three bouts of back pain in two months, I went to see a physical therapist. The exercises I'm supposed to do just make my back hurt more. Should I stop doing them?

Slower Movement After Back Injury

After a back injury some time ago I notice that I can do everything I once used to do, but I'm much slower at it. Do you think it really matters how fast I walk or move about?

How Long Should I Do Home Back Pain Exercises?

About six weeks ago I hurt my back and had to see a physical therapist. In the first week my pain went way down. By the second week I was back on the job. The exercises seemed to help, but how long should I keep doing them? I don't have much time now that I'm back to work.

Therapists Using Different Treatments for Same Back Injury

About six months ago, I started having low back pain. No one knows what caused it. I saw a physical therapist and that was helpful. But I still have back pain. I went to see a different therapist this time. I thought he might do what the first therapist did to help me. This time the program is very different. Should I go back to my original therapist?

Treatment for Loose Disc Fragment

A spine specialist told me I have two herniated discs, and that a piece of disc broke off and is floating around in my spinal canal. Is it possible to avoid having surgery with a loose fragment like this?

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?

Is Expenseive Training Program Worth it to Manage My Back Pain?

A friend of mine at work has suggested I try an intense training program he went through in order to get back to work after a long bout of low back pain. Our insurance doesn't cover it. He assures me it was worth it. Is something like this really worth the money?

Will My Employees Return to Work After Recovering From Back Injuries?

A few of my employees recently hurt their backs on the job and are collecting workers' comp. Should I expect that they'll come back to work?
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