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Causes and Treatment of Lower Back Pain

spinal stenosis

There are many possible causes of lower back pain. Teenagers are also sometimes affected by lower back pain from carrying heavy backpacks every day causing strain on the lower back.

The main causes of this pain are too little or too much work for the body. Individuals that have a very sedentary lifestyle may develop lower back pain because their muscles are weak. However, a person with a very active lifestyle may also develop it from overusing the back. The causes and treatment for this affection can vary with each individual.

Some of the causes of lower back pain are bulging or ruptured disc, sciatica, spinal degeneration, heavy lifting, osteoporosis, spinal stenosis and… age! All of these conditions can become serious if they are not treated early in their stage.

An example is a bulging or ruptured disc that is left untreated may get pushed in the spinal canal where it will lay against the lumbar and nerve roots. Besides causing severe pain, this condition known as cauda equine syndrome, can also cause permanent neurological damage.  Any time you suspect you are developing back problems, it is important to understand all the causes and treatment of lower back pain. 

Many cases of lower back pain are caused by poor posture or improper sitting, lifting and bending. There are so many days of employment lost due to lower back pain in the employees, that many companies have pamphlets and seminars for their employees explaining and educating them on the causes and treatment of lower back pain. Many cases of lower back pain, or any back pain, could have been avoided with good ergonomics. Many dollars of money goes into workmen’s compensation claims for employee that developed work-related lower back pain. 

Treatment for lower back pain will vary depending on the individual and the severity of the pain.

In most cases, surgery can be avoided. Most people that suffer don’t want to have to endure surgery unless they have no other choice. When you first hurt your back, it is important to put ice on the sore spot for up to 15 minutes every few hours on the first day or two of the injury or soreness. This is very important to avoid swelling. It also has sometimes made the difference of the pain getting better quicker or advancing to something more serious.

This is what the doctor will recommend when you see him for the causes and treatment of lower back pain. You will be advised to take pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medicine for first few days. If you are not better in a few days, your doctor will probably want to see you to take X-rays.

Unless something serious shows up requiring surgery, the doctor will usually recommend physical therapy, which is very helpful in most lower back pain cases. Physical therapy may feel painful at the time it is being done, but will help in the end. You will also be given exercises to do at home to make the pain lessen as well as protect your back in the future.

Stenosis – Back Pain Test

Stenosis – Back Pain Test

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Home Page > Health > Medicine > Stenosis – Back Pain Test

Stenosis – Back Pain Test

Posted: Mar 27, 2007 |Comments: 0
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Stenosis back pain originates in the spinal canal itself. Stenosis occurs when the spinal canal narrows, and compresses the nerves inside it. This compression of the nerves can lead to stenosis back pain, numbness in the legs, and the loss of bladder or bowel control. If left untreated, stenosis back pain can eventually become paralysis.

It is estimated that approximately 400,000 Americans currently have spinal stenosis back pain. That number is expected to increase as Baby Boomers age.

Defining Stenosis Back Pain

You probably know that the spinal column protects your spinal cord, a bundle of nerves, from being injured. In spinal stenosis, the spine narrows in one or more of three places: space at the center of the spine; canals where nerves branch outward from the spine itself; a space between the spine’s bones (vertebrae).

Stenosis back pain occurs when the narrowing puts pressure on the nerves inside the spinal column. Although this can occur in younger people, it is most often a complaint of those over 50 years of age.

Causes of Stenosis Back Pain

Spinal stenosis back pain can be caused by a number of factors.

1. Age is a primary factor. As we age, bands of supportive tissue in the spine may harden and thicken. Our bones and joints may enlarge as they age. We may get bone spurs on the spine – places where bone surfaces bulge outward.

2. Arthritis is another cause of spinal stenosis and accompanying stenosis back pain. Either osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis may be to blame. Osteoarthritis is the more common of the two. This type of arthritis usually is seen in middle-aged and older people, and does not go away. Osteoarthritis can cause the bone spurs described above. Rheumatoid arthritis is usually seen in younger people, and is not usually a cause of spinal stenosis back pain.

3. Inherited factors may also lead to stenosis and stenosis back pain. Some genetic conditions, such as a small spinal canal or curved spine, can cause spinal stenosis.

4. Other causes for your stenosis back pain could include calcium deposits, fluoride accumulation, or injuries.

Symptoms of Stenosis Back Pain

Stenosis back pain usually occurs in the neck or back. In addition to the stenosis back pain, you may feel pain down one leg, or numbness, weakness, cramping, and pain in legs or arms as the nerves are compressed.

Stenosis Back Pain Test Problem

The problem with tests for spinal stenosis is that the conditions shares symptoms with so many other disease. The result has too often been costly misdiagnoses and unnecessary back surgery, according to Andrew Haig, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Michigan Medical School.

The following 3 tests are used to diagnose the cause of stenosis back pain.

1. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) -radio waves to picture the spine

2. Computerized axial tomography (CAT) – X-ray series to picture the spine

3. Electromyogram (EMG)- a test that not only gives a picture of nerves, but also tests nerve function, showing if there is actual nerve damage

Best Stenosis Back Pain Test

Of the three, the oldest, Electromyogram (EMG) has been found to be the best. This test has been around as long as, or longer than the Baby Boomers themselves, but a study published in the January 2006 issue of “Spine” shows that it is by far the best of the three tests.

That study, done by the University of Michigan Health System, shows that the EMG test accurately determines the cause of stenosis back pain. As a result, low back pain is less likely to be misdiagnosed, as are other common neuromuscular conditions with similar symptoms. Back surgery undertaken to cure misdiagnosed stenosis back pain can be avoided with this stenosis back pain test.

Tests done in the U of M study by Dr. Andrew Haig and his colleagues showed a substantial difference between those who have spinal stenosis and those with other types of back pain. It showed that use of the EMG allows experts to clearly distinguish between spinal stenosis and low back pain.

”Most doctors think of EMG as a simple test and incorrectly believe that it is sensitive for nerve damage, but cannot differentiate spinal stenosis form neuromuscular disease,” explains Haig. “But as this study shows, that’s not the case. In fact, EMG is an excellent test for spinal stenosis and other neuromuscular disorders using strict evidence-based criteria.” (Spine, Vol. 30, No. 23)

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Anna Hart -
About the Author:

© 2007, Anna Hart. Anna herself is a back pain sufferer, and can sympathize with your problem. She invites you to read more of her articles about back pain at http://www.backpainreliefblog.com. Anna has posted additional articles on that site about the upper back, as well as articles that give information on a number of reasons for upper back pain.

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I am 41 years old and 16 days late. I have taken three home pregnancy test and all came out negative. I have a white milkey discharge ower back pain and heighten smell. Could I be pregnant?
I am very short of breath and develop chest pains,when I sit down I get relief in about 5 minutes. I have had every test possible on my lungs to no avail.Just had a heart cath OK.DR Pres. RANEXA
My last month period date was 11th ..AS I feel that i am pregnant..i have also done the pregnancy test but it is nagative..but i have a lot paIN IN BY LOWER BACKACKE..SO WHAT DO I DO?

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Article Tags:
stenosis, stenosis back pain, symptoms of stenosis, causes of stenosis, stenosis back pain test

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