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Lower Back Pain - Who is at Greatest Risk?

One would think that lower back pain affects plumbers, builders, electricians and general laborers. BUT, you would be WRONG.

Actually, back pain is very common in office workers. Probably, more common than in builders.

Why? Well quite simply, constant sitting in front of a computer is the major factor.

The body is designed for movement, rather than sitting for long periods. The most common structure we see damaged in office work is the Disc.

The discs are found between the vertebrae or bones in the back. They simply act as shock absorbers. As discs contain 70% of water, the disc resembles a balloon filled with water which is being squished like a sandwich by the bones. When we sit, the bones come closer together and squish the balloon even more, and the balloon begins to bulge outwards, pressing on nerves. Sometimes, when we do a lot of sitting (ie in front of computers most of the day), the balloon beings to leak, and some of the water begins to press on nerves more constantly, which then gives rise to chronic or prolonged back pain.

Even thought athletes, builders, plumbers, gardeners do get back pain, most of their injuries are muscular in origin, which normally gets better within 2-3 weeks. Discs, are different, as the pain can be a lot worse, more chronic and even refer down the leg. Disc bulges can also take up to 12 months to get better!

The right physiotherapy is essential, as early diagnosis is important. X rays simply won't help diagnose a disc bulge, you will require an MRI scan or an experienced physiotherapist.

If disc bulges aren't treated, they will continue to give problems, and as the patient becomes older, can even affect them in later years and give rise to early arthritic changes.

For more information on disc bulges, Dr Solomon Abrahams has published some work on this at the Society of Orthopedic Medicine; http://www.somed.org/ and select Journal.

Dr Solomon Abrahams, PhD has other published other articles involving back pain, which can be found in the Journal Of Orthopaedic Medicine. He also lectures at several universities in this area.

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