Gerontology & Geriatrics

Can T'ai Chi alleviate chronic low back pain in older adults?

A new study evaluated the feasibility and acceptability of using T'ai Chi to improve chronic low back pain in adults over 65 years of age compared to health education and usual care. The results of this randomized controlled ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Oh my aching back: Do yoga, tai chi or qigong help?

It's a pain. About 80 percent of adults in the United States will experience lower back pain at some point. Treating back pain typically involves medication, including opioids, surgery, therapy and self-care options. Efforts ...

Medications

Better prescribing for bad backs

Low back pain is a major cause of disability among adults and a top reason patients are prescribed opioids. However, a recent study in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine finds that patients with new low ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

More autonomy at work reduces the risk of low back pain

A team of psychologists from Technische Universität Dresden, in cooperation with experts from health sciences and the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, has carried out a meta-analysis to identify psychosocial ...

Medical research

'Swiss cheese' bones could be cause of unexplained low back pain

In experiments with genetically engineered and old mice, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have added to evidence that the vast majority of low back pain in people may be rooted in an overgrowth of pain-sensing ...

Radiology & Imaging

About one in three in ED for low back pain receive imaging

(HealthDay)—Imaging is obtained for about one in three patients with emergency department visits for low back pain, according to a study published online Nov. 19 in the American Journal of Roentgenology.

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Low back pain

Low back pain (sometimes referred to generally as lumbago) is a common symptom of musculoskeletal disorders or of disorders involving the lumbar vertebrae and related soft tissue structures such as muscles, ligaments, nerves and intervertebral discs. It can be either acute, subacute or chronic in its clinical presentation. Most often, the symptoms of low back pain show significant improvement within a few days to a few weeks from onset. In a significant number of individuals, low back pain can be recurrent in nature with a waxing and waning quality to it. In a small proportion of individuals this condition can become chronic. Population studies show that back pain affects most adults at some stage in their life and accounts for more sick leave and disability than any other single medical condition.

An acute lower back injury may be caused by a traumatic event, like a car accident or a fall. It occurs suddenly and its victims will usually be able to pinpoint exactly when it happened. In acute cases, the structures damaged will more than likely be soft tissue. With a serious accident, osteoporosis or other causes of weakened vertebral bones, vertebral fractures in the lumbar spine may also occur. At the lowest end of the spine, some patients may have tailbone pain (also called coccyx pain or coccydynia). Others may have pain from their sacroiliac joint at the bottom of the lumbar spine, called sacroiliac joint dysfunction (see sacroiliac joint for more information). Chronic lower back pain usually has a more insidious onset, occurring over a long period of time. Physical causes may include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, degeneration of the discs between the vertebrae, or a spinal disc herniation, a vertebral fracture (such as from osteoporosis), or rarely, a tumor (including cancer) or infection.

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