Transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS): TENS provides pulses of electrical stimulation through surface electrodes. For acute back pain, there is no proven benefit. Two small studies produced inconclusive results, with a trend toward improvement with TENS. In chronic back pain, there is conflicting evidence regarding its ability to help relieve pain. One study showed a slight advantage at one week for TENS but no difference at three months and beyond. Other studies showed no benefit for TENS at any time. There is no known benefit for sciatica.
If you work at a desk job all day, you might have some areas of your workstation to thank for your back pain. Evaluating your space to make it more ergonomic (back-friendly), can help you experience lower back pain relief and prevent pain from getting worse. Rethinking your workspace for back relief starts with positioning your most important work tools.
Many researchers seem to believe that low back pain is a modern problem. For instance, Waddell writes, “Observations of natural history and epidemiology suggest that low-back pain should be a benign, self-limiting condition, that low back-disability as opposed to pain is a relatively recent Western epidemic … .” In 2008, Martin et al found that, “The estimated proportion of persons with back or neck problems who self-reported physical functioning limitations increased from 20.7%… to 24.7% … 1997 to 2005,” which certainly shows that it is a growing problem and therefore likely to be worse now than in the past. A Spanish study (Jiménez-Sánchez et al) showed that “serious” musculoskeletal complaints (including a great deal of back pain, presumably) increased significantly from 1993 to 2001. Finally, Harkness et al did a nice job in 2005 of comparing rates of musculoskeletal pain (including low back pain) 40 years apart in the northwest of England, and found a large increase. In his books, Sarno also strongly portrays low back pain as a modern problem — though he doesn’t defend it . It’s hard to say if back pain actually is a modern problem, or whether it just tends to be described as such. Remember that human beings have a strong tendency to sensationalize and dramatize! Harkness pointed out in her study that the appearance of an increase “could be partly explained by the ‘worried well’. The ‘worried well’ are those patients who are concerned about their health, and attend their GP to seek reassurance about their well-being.” This is a great example of how hard it is to really be sure of anything! BACK TO TEXT

Degenerative disc disease. At birth, intervertebral discs are full of water and at their healthiest. As people age over time, discs lose hydration and wear down. As the disc loses hydration, it cannot resist forces as well, and transfers force to the disc wall that may develop tears and cause pain or weakening that can lead to a herniation. The disc can also collapse and contribute to stenosis.
You’d think so. But consider this story of a motorcycle accident: many years ago, a friend hit a car that had pulled out from a side street. He flew over the car and landed on his head. Bystanders showed their ignorance of spinal fracture by, yikes, carelessly moving him. In fact, his thoracic spine wassignificantly fractured … yet the hospital actually refused to do an X-ray because he had no obvious symptoms of a spinal fracture. Incredible! The next day, a horrified orthopedic surgeon ordered an X-ray immediately, confirming the fracture, and quite possibly saved him from paralysis.

About 50% of women experience low back pain during pregnancy.[58] Some studies have suggested women who have experienced back pain before pregnancy are at a higher risk of having back pain during pregnancy.[59] It may be severe enough to cause significant pain and disability in up to a third of pregnant women.[60][61] Back pain typically begins at around 18 weeks gestation, and peaks between 24 and 36 weeks gestation.[61] Approximately 16% of women who experienced back pain during pregnancy report continued back pain years after pregnancy, indicating those with significant back pain are at greater risk of back pain following pregnancy.[60][61]
Osteoarthritis. This condition results from wear and tear of the disc and facet joints. It causes pain, inflammation, instability, and stenosis to a variable degree, and can occur at a single level or multiple levels of the lower spine. Spinal osteoarthritis is associated with aging and is slowly progressive. It is also referred to as spondylosis or degenerative joint disease.

A fracture of the vertebrae, which can occur when a lot of force is put on the spine. This force can be from a car or bike accident or a direct blow to the spine. A compression fractureoccurs when an injury to the bones in the spine causes them to break and collapse (compress) on each other, such as from a fall. In people who have osteoporosis, which makes the bones brittle and weak, a spinal bone can also break and collapse from only a minor injury or simply moving the wrong way.
Symptoms associated with kidney pain (also termed renal or flank pain) are discomfort (acute or chronic), aches, or sharp pain that occurs in the back between approximately the lowest rib and the buttock. Depending on the cause of the pain, it may radiate down the flank to the groin or toward the abdominal area. Some individuals may develop symptoms and signs such as:
Thirty-six hours after admission, the patient developed fever (38.8°C). His physicians obtained a blood culture. The fever recurred (at 38.9°C) the following day, and 2 more blood cultures were done. His back pain did not improve despite analgesics, intravenous antibiotics, and physical therapy; therefore, on the eighth day in the hospital, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed (FIGURE).
Of course, not all incidences of back pain are injury or trauma-related. Many back problems are congenital (found at birth), degenerative, age-related, disease-related, and may be linked to poor posture, obesity or an unhealthy lifestyle such as smoking. Sometimes the back pain is worse than the severity of the injury or disorder. That statement raises the question, “When should I seek medical attention for back pain?”
Pregnancy commonly leads to low back pain by mechanically stressing the lumbar spine (changing the normal lumbar curvature) and by the positioning of the baby inside of the abdomen. Additionally, the effects of the female hormone estrogen and the ligament-loosening hormone relaxin may contribute to loosening of the ligaments and structures of the back. Pelvic-tilt exercises and stretches are often recommended for relieving this pain. Women are also recommended to maintain physical conditioning during pregnancy according to their doctors' advice. Natural labor can also cause low back pain.
Muscle strain: Whether your job involves heavy lifting or you practice weight-lifting in the gym, ensuring you do so using correct form is crucial to preventing middle back pain. The pain experienced in the middle back associated with lifting improperly is due to muscle strain that can make your job or fitness routine extremely difficult and painful. Be sure to use the proper lifting technique to prevent this—bend at the knees and use your legs to help lift the weight, and carry the heavy mass close to your body to reduce the risk of painful muscle strain.

The condition is cauda equina syndrome. It involves “acute loss of function of the neurologic elements (nerve roots) of the spinal canal below the termination (conus) of the spinal cord,” where the nerves spread out like a horse (equina) tail. Again, this condition causes symptoms in the “saddle” of the body: butt, groin, inner thighs. BACK TO TEXT

There is controversy and scientific uncertainty about trigger points. It’s undeniable that mammals suffer from sensitive spots in our soft tissues … but their nature remains unclear, and the “tiny cramp” theory could be wrong. The tiny cramp theory is formally known as the “expanded integrated hypothesis,” and it has been prominently criticized by Quintner et al (and not many others). However, it’s the mostly widely accepted explanation for now. BACK TO TEXT


In children and adolescents, thoracic back pain was associated with female gender, postural changes associated with backpack use, backpack weight, other musculoskeletal symptoms, participation in specific sports, chair height at school and difficulty with homework. Poorer mental health and age transition from early to late adolescence were also significant risk factors.
Kidney pain or flank pain can be acute, relatively constant, and sharp. This is termed "renal colic." This kind of pain is usually seen when a kidney stone or other problem blocks the tube (ureter) that drains the kidney. However, other processes can cause chronic dull aching with occasionally sharp kidney pain. Some of the causes of kidney pain or flank pain are as follows:
Your doctor will first ask you many questions regarding the onset of the pain. (Were you lifting a heavy object and felt an immediate pain? Did the pain come on gradually?) He or she will want to know what makes the pain better or worse. The doctor will ask you questions referring to the red flag symptoms. He or she will ask if you have had the pain before. Your doctor will ask about recent illnesses and associated symptoms such as coughs, fevers, urinary difficulties, or stomach illnesses. In females, the doctor will want to know about vaginal bleeding, cramping, or discharge. Pain from the pelvis, in these cases, is frequently felt in the back.
Gynecological disorders. In women, various reproductive organs located in the pelvis may lead to lower right back pain. For example, endometriosis is a common condition that may create sporadic, sharp pain in the pelvic area that may radiate to the lower right back. Fibroids, or tissue masses that grow in and around the uterus, may cause lower right back pain as well as other symptoms such as abnormal menstruation, frequent urination, and/or pain with intercourse.
Fitness level: Back pain is more common among people who are not physically fit. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. “Weekend warriors”—people who go out and exercise a lot after being inactive all week—are more likely to suffer painful back injuries than people who make moderate physical activity a daily habit. Studies show that low-impact aerobic exercise is beneficial for the maintaining the integrity of intervertebral discs.
A healthy diet is important for a number of reasons when you have lower back pain. First, eating well can help you maintain a healthy weight. Excess weight puts extra strain on your lower back, adding to your pain. Second, a diet that’s high in key nutrients can help promote bone growth and keep your bones strong. These must-have nutrients include:
Bleeding in the pelvis is rare without significant trauma and is usually seen in patients who are taking blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin (Coumadin). In these patients, a rapid-onset sciatica pain can be a sign of bleeding in the back of the pelvis and abdomen that is compressing the spinal nerves as they exit to the lower extremities. Infection of the pelvis is infrequent but can be a complication of conditions such as diverticulosis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, pelvic inflammatory disease with infection of the Fallopian tubes or uterus, and even appendicitis. Pelvic infection is a serious complication of these conditions and is often associated with fever, lowering of blood pressure, and a life-threatening state.
Devon Andre has been involved in the health and dietary supplement industry for a number of years. Devon has written extensively for Bel Marra Health. He has a Bachelor of Forensic Science from the University of Windsor, and went on to complete a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh. Devon is keenly aware of trends and new developments in the area of health and wellness. He embraces an active lifestyle combining diet, exercise and healthy choices. By working to inform readers of the options available to them, he hopes to improve their health and quality of life.
Most people have two kidneys that work constantly to transform blood into urine. These organs act like filters that remove out potentially harmful waste materials from your blood. Because of this, they can have a positive effect on your general health and well-being. Their tasks include regulating your blood pressure, keeping your electrolyte levels stable, and keeping your bones strong. But when the filtering process provided by your kidneys goes awry, your health may suffer.

Sometimes pain felt in the back actually originates elsewhere in the body. Such problems may include: prostate trouble in men problems with reproductive organs in women kidney diseases, such as an infection or kidney stone diseases of the intestines or pancreas, such as cancer or a blockage cancer that has spread to the spine multiple myeloma, a form of cancer of the bone and bone marrow curvature of the spine rarely, a tumor on the spinal cord


But how can you tell? It’s not always easy. This is a concise, readable guide to symptoms that need better-safe-than-sorry investigation with your doctor. (It’s basically just a plain English version of clinical guidelines for doctors.5) In other words, this article explains the difference between “dangerous” and “just painful” as clearly as possible. Tables, checklists, and examples ahead.

If you've ever groaned, "Oh, my aching back!", you are not alone. Back pain is one of the most common medical problems, affecting 8 out of 10 people at some point during their lives. Back pain can range from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp pain. Acute back pain comes on suddenly and usually lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Back pain is called chronic if it lasts for more than three months.
“Red flags” are signs or symptoms that something medically ominous may be going on. Red flags are not reliable, and their presence is not a diagnosis. When you have some red flags, it only indicates a need to look more closely. Sometimes red flags are missing there really is something serious going on … and sometimes they are a false alarm.18 Check off all that apply … hopefully none or few or only the least alarming of them!
Any time you have to balance the weight of a shoulder bag like a purse or a backpack, or even a heavy wallet in a back pocket (which can put pressure on your sciatic nerve and cause pain), it can change the curve of your spine and lead to back pain. A bag on your shoulder also puts strain on your neck. Mikhael says he looks at what his patients are carrying when they come into the office and often tells them that part of the cause of their back pain is the bag they’re carrying. Before you grab your wallet or purse the next time you leave the house, ask yourself if you really need to haul it around. At the very least, clean out your purse and wallet and leave most of your cards in a drawer at home so you have less to carry and won’t aggravate back pain symptoms. 

Muscle relaxants: Muscle spasm is not universally accepted as a cause of back pain, and most relaxants have no effect on muscle spasm. Muscle relaxants may be more effective than a placebo (sugar pill) in treating back pain, but none has been shown to be superior to NSAIDs. No additional benefit is gained by using muscle relaxants in combination with NSAIDs over using NSAIDs alone. Muscle relaxants cause drowsiness in up to 30% of people taking them. Their use is not routinely recommended.
You’d think so. But consider this story of a motorcycle accident: many years ago, a friend hit a car that had pulled out from a side street. He flew over the car & landed on his head. Bystanders showed their ignorance of spinal fracture by, yikes, carelessly moving him. In fact, his thoracic spine was significantly fractured … yet the hospital actually refused to do an X-ray because he had no obvious symptoms of a spinal fracture. Incredible! The next day, a horrified orthopedic surgeon ordered an X-ray immediately, confirming the fracture & quite possibly saved him from paralysis.
If you’re able to walk away from a rear end crash and feel OK, you may decide not to get checked out by a doctor. However, whiplash—a violent backward-and-forward jerk of the head—can create “tears and inflammation of the muscles and ligaments in the neck and upper back,” explains Dr. Chang. See your doctor if you suspect whiplash, especially if you have other symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, and pain in your neck. Here are some exercises you can do that help ease back pain.
Nerve block therapies aim to relieve chronic pain by blocking nerve conduction from specific areas of the body. Nerve block approaches range from injections of local anesthetics, botulinum toxin, or steroids into affected soft tissues or joints to more complex nerve root blocks and spinal cord stimulation. When extreme pain is involved, low doses of drugs may be administered by catheter directly into the spinal cord. The success of a nerve block approach depends on the ability of a practitioner to locate and inject precisely the correct nerve. Chronic use of steroid injections may lead to increased functional impairment.
But experts have, in recent years, recommended against films at first — unless you’ve been involved in an accident, fall, have sustained other trauma to your spine, or you have neurological symptoms. Neurological symptoms include things like pins and needles, pain, weakness, numbness and/or electrical sensations that travel down one leg. (You may be more familiar with them by their non-medical name, sciatica.)
There are many reasons to quit smoking, but here's one more: Cigarettes hurt more than just your heart and lungs. In fact, smoking deprives cells all over your body of oxygen, which can weaken muscles and ultimately lead to back pain, Mikhael says. Researchers have found that people who smoke have triple their chance of developing back pain, according to a study published in 2014 in Human Brain Mapping. 
Pregnancy commonly leads to low back pain by mechanically stressing the lumbar spine (changing the normal lumbar curvature) and by the positioning of the baby inside of the abdomen. Additionally, the effects of the female hormone estrogen and the ligament-loosening hormone relaxin may contribute to loosening of the ligaments and structures of the back. Pelvic-tilt exercises and stretches are often recommended for relieving this pain. Women are also recommended to maintain physical conditioning during pregnancy according to their doctors' advice. Natural labor can also cause low back pain.
Stress reduction: While reducing stress may not be the easiest feat to accomplish, especially if your middle back pain is associated with work, it has proven to be beneficial for relieving muscle tension and reducing back pain. Meditation before bed is a great way to soothe your mind and can help you get a good night’s sleep in order to better recover.
Discuss when back pain started, what you were doing when pain began, current pain severity and characteristics (eg, stabbing, burning), how pain may have changed since it began, and other questions. Your doctor wants to learn as much about your pain and symptoms before he examines you—while the exam may provoke pain, your doctor doesn’t want to make the process intolerable!

Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is stories like yours that compelled us to write our 7 Day Back Pain Cure book. If you do not already have it , we suggest you get yourself a free copy. It has lots of information to understand back pain better along with pain relief methods and treatment options to consider. You will also find useful information and education about the back. Please read more about the book and its contents via the link below


^ Jump up to: a b c Chou, Roger; Qaseem, Amir; Snow, Vincenza; Casey, Donald; Cross, J. Thomas; Shekelle, Paul; Owens, Douglas K.; Clinical Efficacy Assessment Subcommittee of the American College of Physicians; American College of Physicians (2007-10-02). "Diagnosis and treatment of low back pain: a joint clinical practice guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society". Annals of Internal Medicine. 147 (7): 478–491. ISSN 1539-3704. PMID 17909209.

Men and women are equally affected by low back pain, which can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation that leaves the person incapacitated. Pain can begin abruptly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time due to age-related changes of the spine. Sedentary lifestyles also can set the stage for low back pain, especially when a weekday routine of getting too little exercise is punctuated by strenuous weekend workout.
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