Lower Back Pain Topics

Many of the lower back pain topics that we address have to do with products and exercises that are designed to make your core strength stronger, and to take some of the pressure off of the low back. Lower back pain is a condition that is not unique to humans, but does affect humans more often, due to our unique anatomy. Humans are one of the only animals on earth to walk upright, which puts a lot of stress on the lower back. Typically, the parts of the lower back that are most often the source of back pain are the L4-L5 and L5-S1 intervertebral discs. L4-L5 is the disc between the 4th and 5th lumbar vertebrae, and L5-S1 is the disc between the last lumbar vertebra and the top of the sacrum.

Let's take a look at some lower back pain topics so that we may know how this problem is being best treated by doctors and other healthcare practitioners.

Of Doubtful Benefit: Many lower back pain treatments that were once commonly used are have now fallen out of favor for the fact that clinical research has shown very little support for the fact that they work. Many clinical research papers have shown that certain holistic therapies and home remedies have no more benefit than placebos. Placebos are typically sugar pills that look like medications but have no ingredients that are designed to treat or manage disease. Let's take a look at some low back pain treatments that medical doctors rarely support as viable therapies:

Ultrasound: Ultrasounds in hospitals are typically used as one type of medical imaging technique that is considered very safe, due to the fact that it doesn't involve giving the patient or baby and radiation. Ultrasound technology involves the use of sound waves. As a treatment tool, a therapist is able to point the ultrasound wand towards the injured tissues of the body. The sound waves penetrate deep into the affected tissues to create heat and friction in them. This warming of the tissues increases the metabolism to stimulate the healing process. Typically ultrasound therapy is used in physical therapy clinics, rehabilitation centers, and in chiropractor offices. A July 2001 in the Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association written by Valma Robertson and Kerry Baker said that there was very little support for this treatment to manage low back pain.

Inversion Therapy: Most people with a casual knowledge of back physiology and anatomy know that we have gelatinous like discs that separate the vertebral bones to provide cushioning and support of the back. These discs are designed to become compressed as weight bears down on them, to act as a cushioning support for the spine. When these discs are young and healthy, they easily bear the weight of our spines and torsos, and bounce back to fully re-inflate themselves when we lie down at night.

Over time though, these discs may lose much of their volume, to lose their cushioning properties over time. In some cases, the outer wall of the disc tears completely, and some of its contents project into the spinal nerves, causing pain and disability. These two conditions just mentioned describe degenerative disc disease and lumbar disc herniations.

Inversion therapy is designed to undo some of the effects of gravity that cause these discs to wear out. While the act of taking on an upright and erect posture causes a compression of the intervertebral discs, inversion therapy is designed to decompress them. People who support this type of treatment say that the act of inverting the body separates the vertebral bones, removing stress on the discs to the point that they are able to heal themselves. This therapy typically involves either boots or a machine that the feet are tethered to so that the body may be inverted, so that the feet are higher than the head.

One clinical article from the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England said that inversion therapy was of doubtful benefit for decompressing the spine.

Other back pain treatments which have failed to be backed up with scientific evidence include electrotherapy, bed rest, back bracing, and cold compression therapy.