Treating Low Back Pain Remains a Challenge
Q: I've suffered from persistent low back pain for years. I recently had a repeat MRI, which does not show any abnormality to explain my pain. I hate taking medications. Does nerve stimulation work?
A: Back pain is remarkably common. It affects most people during a lifetime and is the most common reason for job-related disability. While most back pain gets better quickly, chronic back pain (lasting at least 3 months) is also common. Yet, the cause of chronic back pain is often uncertain. Even worse, treatment is often ineffective.
That's why so many people turn to transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). With this technique, an electrical current is delivered by tiny wires plugged into a pocket-sized, battery-powered device. It's used for a variety of painful conditions, such as neuropathy (nerve disease) and back pain. The reason it works isn't clear. One possibility is that it interrupts painful nerve signals.
For many conditions, including chronic back pain, it's not clear how effective it is. That's why a group of experts from the
The conclusion of this expert panel was that TENS does not work for chronic back pain. As a result, new guidelines from the
But TENS is not useless. This same panel concluded that TENS is effective for diabetic neuropathy, a painful nerve disease that commonly complicates diabetes.
Here are steps you can take that might decrease your discomfort:
--Avoid gaining weight and try to shed a few pounds if needed.
--Exercise regularly. Choose exercises that are easy on the back. Good choices include cycling and swimming.
--Lift properly. Start in a squatting position. Use your legs and hips, rather than bending over to lift.
--Wear shoes that are well-cushioned, low-heeled and soft-soled.
--If you carry a briefcase or backpack, keep it light.
More than 30,000 Americans, and roughly one million people worldwide, die by suicide each year. The aftermath of grief and bereavement extends much further, with a conservative estimate of six survivors left behind for every suicide death.
When Should You Seek Emergency Care for Chest Pain
If you have chest pain or discomfort, how do you know if it's serious enough to warrant emergency medical attention? A few general pointers to help
Hypoglycemia: Breaking the Vicious Cycle
Do you ever find yourself feeling faint and irritable when you've skipped a meal? Do you feel fatigued, depressed or worried when you don't have enough food or gone too long between meals? Do you crave sugars and carbohydrates and feel immediate relief after eating them? You may be suffering from hypoglycemia, a common result of poor dietary choices and in some cases, genetics.
Prostatitis Often Challenging to Diagnose
Lance Mynderse, M.D.
A lot of men are familiar with certain prostate-related problems, such as the risk of prostate enlargement and prostate cancer. But prostatitis is a painful syndrome that men seldom hear about.
Depression Sometimes Expressed at a Young Age
Certainly kids can suffer from depression. If you're concerned about your child, a good first step would be to visit the doctor to discuss and evaluate the situation. Sometimes, symptoms that appear to be depression may be caused by an underlying medical condition. If the problem is depression, effective treatments for children are available.
- Rise of Miniature Medical Robots: Fantasy Fast Becoming Reality
- Tracing Your Medical Roots: Crucial Information Might Save Your Life
- Sodium and You: Still No Consensus on Salt Intake
- Treating Low Back Pain Remains a Challenge
- Five Easy Healthy Diet Eating Habits to Adopt
- Narcolepsy Can Often Be Effectively Managed Once Diagnosed
- Gastric Banding Not Stand-Alone Weight Loss Solution
- Fitness: Get a Healthier Body and Mind
(c) 2010 Harvard Health Watch