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New Research About Lower Back Pain

Over the years there have been many approaches for treating lower back pain. Traditional medical approaches have included the use of medications, injections and surgery. However, a recent research study by the American College of Physicians (ACP) published in the 2017 Annals of Internal Medicine has just released new guidelines advising a non-surgical and pharmaceutical free strategy.

A main concern in the United States is the ever-growing use of opioid medications causing addictions, overdoses and suicides. Opioids include Percocet, OxyContin and hydrocodone have been inappropriately prescribed in some cases for pain of the back. The new ACP guidelines advise against what are called "low value treatments" such as doctors prescribing opioid medications.

Instead nonpharmacological approaches are recommended by the ACP. These include nondrug treatments such as spinal manipulation which is typically performed by chiropractors, acupuncture, massage, tai chi and mindfulness-based stress reduction.

According to Roger Chou MD, professor of medicine, Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine, and lead author of the new reviews on back pain treatment: "the biggest shift is prioritizing non-formal logic therapies using those first versus medication." "This is the first guideline to really take this stance."

The guidelines of the ACP also reject initially having patients get MRIs for lower back pain. The study notes that MRIs typically will not reveal findings relevant to the cause of the lower back pain.

Lower back pain that lasts for less than four weeks is considered acute. Low back pain lasting up to 12 weeks is considered subacute. Lower back pain lingering for more than 12 weeks is considered chronic. In all cases it is not wise to give into total bed rest. Gentle activity such as walking periodically daily and gentle appropriate stretching is more effective.

Physical measures such as chiropractic spinal manipulation, also called chiropractic spinal adjustments are recommended by the ACP.

Chiropractors are licensed as doctors. Their education involves typical undergraduate courses followed by five years at a chiropractic college. Following this they must pass national boards and become licensed in individual states in the US. Chiropractors then take continuing education classes for ongoing training.

Many responsible recognized insurances cover the initial evaluation by a doctor of chiropractic and treatment such as chiropractic spinal adjustments, physiological therapeutics and corrective exercises. These types of therapies been shown in numerous research studies to be beneficial for those suffering from acute, subacute and chronic pain of the lower back.

In advising nondrug, nonsurgical measures for the treatment of pain of the lower back the American College of Physicians guidelines published in the Annals of Internal Medicine have made a substantial shift in traditional prioritization of the treatment of lower back pain.

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Office health problems

You can eat right and exercise everyday, but if you work in an office, those things can only go so far. Like it or not, we spend far more time in the workplace than we do at the gym or at the kitchen table, and with that comes a whole new set of health problems, ranging from computer headaches to back pain to germ-spreading. We found some of the most common office health problems, and how you can prevent them.

Eyestrain:

It’s hour six of staring at a computer screen, and your eyes burn and your head is pounding. Sound familiar? Luckily, there are ways to minimize the dreaded computer headache. The Mayo Clinic suggests keeping light sources to the side of your computer, not overhead, to cut down on glare, keeping your monitor 20 to 40 inches from your eyes, using a larger font so you can sit further away and still see, and cleaning your screen frequently. Wearing glasses specifically designed for reading or looking at a computer can also be helpful.

Sitting:

A ton of research is emerging linking prolonged sitting to everything from heart disease and slower metabolisms to bigger butts. To combat the problem, try a standing desk, or schedule breaks to take a quick walk around the office or stretch. And, if possible, walk some or all of your commute instead of driving or taking public transit.

Back pain:

Your mother wasn’t making it up—good posture really is important. Research shows that sitting up straight can reduce day-to-day back pain and stop chronic conditions from starting. To improve your posture, place a cushion or towel between your lower back and your chair to help support the back and prevent slouching. Strengthening your core and keeping your feet on the floor instead of crossing your legs can also do wonders for your back.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome:

If you have a typing-heavy job, you could be at risk for carpal tunnel. To prevent it, the Mayo Clinic suggests taking breaks to bend and stretch your wrists. But avoid bending your wrist dramatically up or down, and keep your keyboard at elbow height or just below it.

Spreading illness:

Studies show that contagious sicknesses spread incredibly fast in an office environment, so be extra careful to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching communal objects. And if you’re sick, do everyone a favor and stay home for that extra day of rest.

 

 

 

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Health tips

Statistically, research has shown that about 80% of adults would suffer from low back pain at some point in their lifetime and this condition is a major cause of job-related disability worldwide. If you are presently experiencing low back pain, here are some beneficial health tips in treating or providing considerable relief from this condition:

Avoid sitting for too long 
Whenever you sit for hours on end at a desk or watching TV, you are keeping your low back flexed and your back muscles are strained. Researchers at a Norwegian University discovered that teenagers who sat in front of TV or computer for 15 hours or more in a week were three times more likely to suffer from low back pain. Additionally, the exit plan on the off chance that you should sit for long is to extend your body or walk around at intervals to relax your muscles.

Quit Smoking 
Numerous studies have shown that smokers are more likely to suffer from low back pain than nonsmokers. Cigarette contains a substance, nicotine which disrupts blood supply to intervertebral discs of the spine leading to a crack or rupture of the discs. Also, smoking slows the healing process and depletes the oxygen supply to the muscles and drains the oxygen supply to the muscles and ligaments in the back.

Indulge in Exercise 
Numerous evidences have revealed that stretching and strengthening exercises including Yoga often help to speed recovery from chronic low back pain by enhancing the flexibility and strength of the muscle groups that support the lower back. Similarly, studies have shown that low-impact aerobic exercises are good in maintaining the integrity of intervertebral discs. The implication of this is that if you are experiencing low back pain, you need to resist the temptation of keeping yourself to delayed bedrest or staying away from all types of activity.

Take more Calcium and Vitamin D 
Arguably, the role of calcium and vitamin D in the formation of strong, healthy bones cannot be overemphasised. When your bones are strong, the possibility of suffering from low back pain due to osteoporosis is ruled out. Dietary sources that are rich in calcium and vitamin D include milk, fresh green vegetables, sardines, cheese, oranges, egg yolk and so on.

Mind your Diet 
Research has shown that the same diets that are good for your heart, weight and blood sugar are also good for your back and vice-versa. A study that was conducted in Finland discovered that individuals who experienced low back pain were more likely to have clogged the arteries supplying the spine. Furthermore, shortage of nutrient supply to the spine triggers inflammatory responses that may lead to back pain. In view of the foregoing, it's better to stick to a healthy diet of whole grains, proteins, fresh vegetables and fruits while avoiding excess caffeine and processed fatty diets.

Avoid Heavy Loads 
The nature of the jobs a lot of people do is such that they often have to lift, pull or push heavy loads, all of which put a considerable strain on your spine and ultimately set the stage for lower back pain. If you must carry a heavy load, make sure you distribute the weight evenly on both shoulders or arms to avoid tilting to one side and twisting your spine. Preferably, if you can get your hands on a bag with wheels or a rolling cart, it is better for the health of your back.

Change your Shoes 
For the ladies, this may not be a really good news. High heels compel you to arch your back and this places a strain on your spinal muscles leading to avoidable back aches. At Lehigh University, 80% of low-back patients who were given lightweight, cushioned and flexible shoes experienced significant relief from their back pain. However, occasional use of those high-heeled shoes is not likely to cause serious harm.

Sleep with a pillow under your knees 
It's been discovered that when you sleep on your back, an estimated 55 pounds of pressure is put on your spine. However, with a pillow under your knees, you reduce that pressure by 50% and decrease your risk of low back pain.

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Correct lifting position

Using the proper technique when moving boxes, heavy furniture, or other objects will greatly reduce the risk of injury and soreness. Jobs that require you to consistently move heavy objects especially require that you learn and consistently use the proper technique to keep yourself safe, each and every time.

If you must lift objects, do not try to lift objects that are awkward or are heavier than 30 pounds.
Before you lift a heavy object, make sure you have firm footing.
To pick up an object that is lower than the level of your waist, keep your back straight and bend at your knees and hips. Do not bend forward at the waist with your knees straight.
Stand with a wide stance close to the object you are trying to pick up and keep your feet firm on the ground. Tighten your stomach muscles and lift the object using your leg muscles. Straighten your knees in a steady motion. Don't jerk the object up to your body.
Stand completely upright without twisting. Always move your feet forward when lifting an object.
If you are lifting an object from a table, slide it to the edge to the table so that you can hold it close to your body. Bend your knees so that you are close to the object. Use your legs to lift the object and come to a standing position.
Avoid lifting heavy objects above waist level.
Hold packages close to your body with your arms bent. Keep your stomach muscles tight. Take small steps and go slowly.
To lower the object, place your feet as you did to lift, tighten stomach muscles and bend your hips and knees.

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Fibro Fog

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that affects about 5 million Americans. Doctors diagnose fibromyalgia based on a patient's symptoms and physical exam. Patients experience pain and stiffness in the muscles, but there are no measurable findings on X-rays or most lab tests. While fibromyalgia does not damage the joints or organs, the constant aches and fatigue can have a significant impact on daily life.

Fibromyalgia Symptoms:

– The hallmark of fibromyalgia is muscle pain throughout the body, typically accompanied by: 
– Fatigue 
– Sleep problems 
– Anxiety or depression 
– Specific tender points

Fibromyalgia Tender Points:

One of the unique aspects of fibromyalgia is the presence of tender points in specific locations on the body. When these points are pressed, people with fibromyalgia feel pain, while people without the condition only feel pressure. This illustration shows 18 possible tender points.

Fibromyalgia: The Pain Is Real:

The pain of fibromyalgia can be intense. Because traditionally no lab tests or X-rays could confirm a diagnosis of fibromyalgia, some patients were once led to believe this pain was "all in their heads." But the medical community now accepts that the pain of fibromyalgia is real. Research suggests it's caused by a glitch in the way the body perceives pain.

Fibromyalgia: Who's at Risk?

Women between the ages of 25 and 60 have the highest risk of developing fibromyalgia. Doctors aren't sure why, but women are 10 times more likely to have the condition than men. Some researchers believe genetics may play a role, but no specific genes have been identified.

Fibromyalgia and Fatigue:

After pain, the most common and debilitating symptom of fibromyalgia is fatigue. This is not the normal tiredness that follows a busy day, but a lingering feeling of exhaustion. People with fibromyalgia may feel tired first thing in the morning, even after hours spent in bed. The fatigue may be worse on some days than others and can interfere with work, physical activity, and household chores.

Causes of Fibromyalgia:

There are many theories about the causes of fibromyalgia, but research has yet to pinpoint a clear culprit. Some doctors believe hormonal or chemical imbalances disrupt the way nerves signal pain. Others suggest a traumatic event or chronic stress may increase a person's susceptibility. Most experts agree that fibromyalgia probably results from a combination of factors, rather than a single cause.

Fibromyalgia: Impact on Daily Life

Constantly fighting pain and fatigue can make people irritable, anxious, and depressed. You may have trouble staying on task at work, taking care of children, or keeping up with household chores. Exercise or hobbies such as gardening may seem daunting. Exhaustion and irritability can also lead to missing out on visits with friends.

Diagnosing Fibromyalgia

Your doctor may diagnose fibromyalgia after hearing your symptoms and doing a physical exam. There's one lab test that can check for fibromyalgia. It measures the levels of proteins in the bloodstream and can help confirm a fibro diagnosis. However, your doctor may also do some testing to rule out other conditions. Be sure to describe your pain in detail, including where and how often it occurs. Also bring up any other symptoms, such as fatigue, sleep problems, or anxiety.

Fibromyalgia: Getting Treatment

Fibromyalgia was once the exclusive domain of rheumatologists. Today, the condition has captured the attention of a wide range of health care providers. Many people receive treatment through their primary care providers. Check with local support groups and hospitals for a list of fibromyalgia experts in your area.

Fibromyalgia Triggers

An important first step is identifying what makes your symptoms worse. Common triggers include: 
– Cold or humid weather 
– Too much or too little physical activity 
– Stress 
– Poor sleep

Fibromyalgia and Sleep

Many people with fibromyalgia have sleep problems, including trouble falling asleep or frequent awakenings during the night. Studies suggest some patients remain in a shallow state of sleep and never experience restful, deep sleep. This deprives the body of a chance to repair and replenish itself, creating a vicious cycle. Poor sleep may make pain seem worse, and pain can lead to poor sleep.

Fibromyalgia and Depression

Nearly a third of people with fibromyalgia also have major depression when they are diagnosed. The relationship between the two is unclear. Some researchers believe depression may be a result of the chronic pain and fatigue. Others suggest that abnormalities in brain chemistry may lead to both depression and an unusual sensitivity to pain. Symptoms of depression may include difficulty concentrating, hopelessness, and loss of interest in favorite activities.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Medication

The goal of fibromyalgia treatment is to minimize pain, sleep disturbances, and mood disorders. Doctors may recommend medications that help ease your symptoms — ranging from familiar over-the-counter pain relievers to prescription drugs. There are also prescription drugs specifically approved for the treatment of fibromyalgia, which include Cymbalta, Lyrica, and Savella.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Exercise

Exercise can relieve several fibromyalgia symptoms. Physical activity can reduce pain and improve fitness. Exercising just three times a week has also been shown to relieve fatigue and depression. But it's important not to overdo it. Walking, stretching, and water aerobics are good forms of exercise to start with for people with fibromyalgia.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Diet

Some experts say diet may play a role in fibromyalgia — just not the same role in all patients. Certain foods, including aspartame, MSG, caffeine, and tomatoes, seem to worsen symptoms in some people. But avoiding these foods won't help everyone. To find out what works for you, try eliminating foods one at a time and recording whether your symptoms improve.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Massage

Some research suggests massage may help relieve fibromyalgia pain, though its value is not fully proven. Practitioners say that applying moderate pressure is key, while the technique is less important. Rubbing, kneading, or stroking all seem to help. A significant other can learn to provide regular massages — and a 20-minute session may be long enough to get results.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Acupuncture

Formal studies have produced mixed results on the use of acupuncture for fibromyalgia, but some patients say it eases their symptoms. This traditional Chinese practice involves inserting thin needles at key points on the body. Acupressure stimulates the same pressure points and may be a good alternative for people who want to avoid needles.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Fibro Fog

Many people with fibromyalgia have trouble concentrating, a phenomenon known as fibro fog. While getting treatment for pain and insomnia may help, there are other steps you can take to improve your focus.

Managing Fibromyalgia: Stress

Stress appears to be one of the most common triggers of fibromyalgia flare-ups. While it's impossible to eliminate all stress from your life, you can try to reduce unnecessary stress. Determine which situations make you anxious — at home and at work — and find ways to make those situations less stressful. Experiment with yoga, meditation, or other relaxation techniques. And allow yourself to skip nonessential activities that cause stress.

Does Fibromyalgia Get Better?

Many people with fibromyalgia find that their symptoms and quality of life improve substantially as they identify the most effective treatments and make lifestyle changes. While fibromyalgia is a chronic condition, it does not damage the joints, muscles, or internal organs.

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