Bad Posture can “Switch Off” Back Muscles

Slumping in front of the television or computer could deactivate muscles that support and protect your spine, triggering many otherwise inexplicable cases of lower back pain.

A European Space Agency study in Berlin, Germany, in which young men spent eight weeks in bed, showed that an absence of load on spinal support muscles can sometimes be just as debilitating as a physical injury.

Ultrasound studies have shown that in most cases of lower-back pain, either the lumbar multifidus muscles, which keep the vertebrae in place, or the transversus abdominis, which holds the pelvis together, or both, are inactive. Normally the muscles work continuously to support and protect the lower back.

Heavy lifting, whiplash or other injuries can damage and inactivate these support muscles. This increases the risk of long-term back pain, as people are then more likely to suffer sprains, or damage to the discs or other tissue in the back. However, only between 10 and 15 per cent of cases of back pain begin with such an injury. For the rest, the cause is often a mystery. Continue reading Bad Posture can “Switch Off” Back Muscles

Smartphone users ‘risking health’ with overuse of devices

People are risking their health by working on smartphones, tablets and laptops after they have left the office, according to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

It says people have become “screen slaves” and are often working while commuting or after they get home.

The society said poor posture in these environments could lead to back and neck pain.

Unions said people needed to learn to switch off their devices.

An online survey, of 2,010 office workers by the Society found that nearly two-thirds of those questioned continued working outside office hours.

The organisation said people were topping up their working day with more than two hours of extra screen – time, on average, every day.

The data suggested that having too much work and easing pressure during the day were the two main reasons for the extra workload. Continue reading Smartphone users ‘risking health’ with overuse of devices

Acupuncture studies by NCCAM

Introduction

Physical pain is a common occurrence for many People; in fact, a national survey found that more than one-quarter of U.S. adults had recently experienced some sort of pain lasting more than a day. In addition to conventional treatments, such as over-the-counter and prescription medications, people may try Acupuncture in an effort to relieve pain. This fact sheet provides basic information about pain and acupuncture, summarizes scientific research on acupuncture for specific kinds of pain, and suggests sources for additional information.

Key Points

  • People use acupuncture for various types of pain. Back pain is the most commonly reported use, followed by joint pain, neck pain, and headache.
  • Acupuncture is being studied for its efficacy in alleviating many kinds of pain. There are promising findings in some conditions, such as chronic low-back pain and osteoarthritis of the knee; but, for most other conditions, additional research is needed. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) sponsors a wide range of acupuncture research.
  • Acupuncture is generally considered safe when performed correctly.
  • In traditional Chinese medicine theory, acupuncture regulates the flow of qi (vital energy) through the body. Research to test scientific theories about how acupuncture might work to relieve pain is under way. Continue reading Acupuncture studies by NCCAM

Yoga shown to effective for Back Pain

Doing Yoga is a more effective way for people with lower back pain to become more mobile than the treatments currently offered by GPs, according to new research.

The study found that back pain sufferers recorded greater improvements in everyday physical tasks such as walking, bending down and getting dressed if they did weekly yoga sessions.

Participants who had practised yoga reported enhanced function compared with those receiving standard care, even nine months after the yoga classes had finished. Continue reading Yoga shown to effective for Back Pain

Can Herbal Medicine help with Low Back Pain ?

Significance of this Cochrane Review. Back Pain is common, affecting as much as 35% of the population in a given month. Non-specific low-back pain is defined as pain between the lowest rib and the bottom of the buttocks that is not caused by serious, underlying problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, infection, fracture, cancer, or sciatica due to a herniated disc or other pressure on nerves. Oral and topical herbal medicines are being used to treat many conditions; several are used for back pain and have been tested in clinical trials. Continue reading Can Herbal Medicine help with Low Back Pain ?

Heavy School Bags cause Back Pain in Children

School Bags & Back PainRucksacks loaded with school books have been linked to higher levels of back pain in a study of Spanish school children.

The findings – reported in the Archives of Disease in Childhoodsaid many pupils had “excessively loaded” backpacks.

This was linked to higher levels of back pain in the 1,403 school children taking part in the study.

The research took place at Hospital da Costa in Burela and University Hospital Son Dureta in Palma.

The report’s authors said school children should not carry anything which weighs more than 10% of their body weight.

Measurements were taken from pupils aged 12-17 from 11 schools in Northern Spain. It showed that nearly two thirds of pupils had backpacks which broke the 10% rule. Continue reading Heavy School Bags cause Back Pain in Children

Australian Study into Osteopathy

Complementary therapies are used for low back pain more frequently than for any other indication, yet evidence for or against their efficacy is fragmentary.

Not withstanding this void, the high prevalence of such therapies drives their integration into our health care systems.

Expert opinions on the use of complementary therapies for low back pain could therefore be helpful until more data from randomised, controlled trials become available.  Continue reading Australian Study into Osteopathy