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What Is Mechanical Back Pain

How Should I Sleep With Low Back Pain

1. Dr. Hamilton Hall: Overview of Mechanical Back Pain

Most comfortable sleeping position will vary from person to person and there is no right or wrong answer. You may have to try a few different positions to find out what is best for you. One option to try is sleeping on your back with a pillow supporting your knees. Another option is sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs. These options can put your pelvis and low back in a position that may relieve some discomfort.

When To See A Doctor

If you have back pain that doesnt improve within a few weeks, or if you have a fever or chills along with your back pain, you should see your doctor. At your visit, your doctor will ask about your symptoms, any injuries youve suffered, and your physical activity.

There are several red flags that doctors look for when evaluating low back pain. The purpose of these warning signs is to detect fractures, tumors, or infections of the spine.

An examination of your entire spine will be necessary to look for any abnormalities. You may be asked to perform certain movements to test your range of motion, muscle strength and reflexes. Sometimes X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging and other imaging tests will help your doctor diagnose the cause of your back pain and develop a treatment plan that works for you.

Diagnosis Of Mechanical Back Pain

Mechanical back pain needs to be thoroughly evaluated taking into consideration the medical history and the presenting complaints. A detailed history or injuries, accidents, surgeries and history of any medical disorders needs to be taken.

Clinical examination of the painful back region may reveal tenderness in the area. Mechanical back pain, as against the inflammatory back pain may have no signs of inflammation.

Investigations like X-rays and MRI may be done to identify fractures, changes in the bone and signs of injury, muscle or ligament strain and nerve injury. If there are other associated symptoms, which need to be ruled out, additional tests may be ordered.2

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What Research Is Being Done

The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge of the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.

As a primary supporter of research on pain and pain mechanisms, NINDS is a member of the NIH Pain Consortium, which was established to promote collaboration among the many NIH Institutes and Centers with research programs and activities addressing pain. On an even broader scale, NIH participates in the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee that coordinates research across other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies as well as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

Structures In The Spine That Can Be Affected Are

Mechanical Back Pain

Joints Nerves

All these structures can be affected and your symptoms can often indicate which may be involved but early on it is hard to distinguish. If your back pain eases off quickly with in a week then often it is likely to be muscular but it is always worth looking at the pointers below to reduce any chance of recurrences.

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How Can Physiotherapy Chiropractic And/or Massage Therapy Help

and/or can help to determine the root cause of the pain, and create a treatment plan to offload the injured tissue of the spine allowing for healing to occur. The treatment plan may include manual therapy, exercise therapy, and education about how to protect your back. can decrease pain stemming from tight muscles, improve blood flow, and can have a positive effect on the nervous system. Research shows that a well-rounded treatment plan that uses a multidisciplinary approach can lead to more successful outcomes for individuals with back pain. 2

Psychosocial Causes Of Back Pain

The next piece is the psychosocial model, the woowoo, easy-to-dismiss side of back pain. This becomes less easy to dismiss when we see that the mechanical approach does NOT fully explain the pain. Two people with similar movement patterns could sustain the same precipitating injury, and yet have different outcomes, because of the way they process their pain.

Many pain-free individuals will show some level of disc bulge or spinal abnormalities when scanned. So if you have chronic back pain and get a scan, its easy to misattribute your pain to any incidental quirks of your anatomy.

We must be careful not to spot a disc bulge and immediately assume thats the cause of the pain. Look! Tissue damage. Its right there case closed. Not so fast bozo.* If patient is experiencing pain at a different nerve root distribution to the level of the bulge, then the bulge alone cannot possibly explain their pain symptoms!

*Ive been wanting to use the phrase not so fast, bozo for a long time. Ive now had my moment, thank you.

The data often finds no correlation between number of abnormalities on X-ray and clinical patient symptoms for radiculopathydegenerative osteoarthritis, transitional vertebra, spina bifida occulta and spondylolysis, and often makes patients feel worse about their injury.

Key point: By over-imaging and trying to find the 15% of people with structural back pain, we create a pain cycle in people who would otherwise have been fine. .

^ John Sarno, MD

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Inflammatory Vs Mechanical Back Pain

According to the Mayo Clinic, Back pain is a common complaint. Most people in the United States will experience low back pain at least once during their lives. Back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work.

Back pain can have many causes but chronic lower back pain has been shown in a recent study to be associated with spondyloarthritis at a rate that is strikingly high.

A segment from Dr. Michael Weismans Spondylitis Educational Seminar presentation given in Denver, CO in 2008 describes the differences between mechanical and inflammatory back pain. Inflammatory back pain is the variety associated with ankylosing spondylitis and other spondyloarthritides.

When determining if the back pain is inflammatory in nature and related to a disease such as ankylosing spondylitis, the following is often taken into account:

  • Onset of pain is usually under 35 years of age and is insidious
  • Pain persists for more than three months
  • The back pain and stiffness worsen with immobility, especially at night and early morning
  • The back pain and stiffness tend to ease with physical activity and exercise
  • NSAIDs are very effective in relieving pain and stiffness in most patients.

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The Spondylitis Association of America is solely responsible for all of the content hosted on

What Is Acute Mechanical Back Pain

mechanical back pain treatment

Acute mechanical back pain is a common medical problem. Acute pain is pain that has been present in your back for less than four to six weeks. Mechanical means that the source of the pain may be in your spinal joints, discs, vertebrae, or soft tissues. Acute mechanical back pain may also be called acute low back pain, lumbago, idiopathic low back pain, lumbosacral strain or sprain, or lumbar syndrome.

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Persistent Low Back Pain

Nonspecific low back pain is classed as chronic if it lasts for longer than six weeks. In some people it lasts for months, or even years. Symptoms may be constant. However, the more usual pattern is one in which symptoms follow an irregular course. That is, reasonably long periods of mild or moderate pain may be interrupted by bouts of more severe pain.

What Are The Symptoms Of Mechanical Back Pain

Most people with mechanical back pain experience pain primarily in their lower back. The pain may radiate to your buttocks and thighs. Many people may also experience spasms with mechanical back pain. The symptoms of mechanical back pain are generally more noticeable with flexion of the back and when lifting heavy objects.

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Symptoms Of Mechanical Back Pain

Mechanical back pain is more commonly seen as a low back pain.1 Mechanical Back Pain is often felt in the back region, around the muscles surrounding the back, hips and the buttocks. Back pain may be dull aching, as if muscles were stiff or can occur suddenly making it difficult to move.

One of the symptoms of Mechanical back pain is that the pain may sometimes, even radiate to the buttocks, thighs, legs and to the feet. This commonly occurs, when the sciatic nerve supplying the legs, gets compressed, resulting in pain in the back of thighs and legs. Such pain may be associated with numbness and tingling in the legs and feet. Occasionally, burning sensation or changes in feeling of hot or cold may also be felt.

Pain is worse on bending forward, twisting the back, lifting weights, sitting or standing for long and over exertion. Pain may be relieved by resting on the back, applying heat or cold compresses and with therapeutic physical exercise.

Exercises For Mechanical Back Pain

Mechanical Low Back Pain

Exercises for mechanical back pain should be performed under supervision and as advised by the physician.

Find some of the best back strengthening exercises that can be helpful for mechanical back pain.

Lie on back with knees raised and feet on the floor and perform the following:

  • Static Back Exercise â Press the low back region, so that it touches the floor hold and release.
  • Pelvic Bridging â Raise your hip and pelvic portion, hold and release.
  • Knee to chest â Bend one knee and bring it close to touch the chest. Repeat the same with other knee. Perform the same with both knees together.

Cat-Cow Stretch â Lie on all fours. Tighten the back to form a curve of the back and then release.

Walking in swimming pool and aquatic exercises also help in relieving mechanical back pain and should be performed as advised.

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Ways To Treat Chronic Back Pain Without Surgery

Back pain is considered chronic if it lasts three months or longer. It cancome and go, often bringing temporary relief, followed by frustration.Dealing with chronic back pain can be especially trying if you dont knowthe cause.

Back pain rehabilitationspecialistAndrew Nava, M.D., offers insights into common chronic back pain causes and nonsurgicaltreatment optionsand advises not to give up hope.

Understanding The Lower Back

The lower back is also called the lumbosacral area of the back. It is the part of the back between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the legs.

Most of the lower back is made up from muscles that attach to, and surround, the spine. The spine is made up of many bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae are roughly circular and between each vertebra is a disc. The discs between the vertebrae are a combination of a strong fibrous outer layer and a softer, gel-like centre. The discs act as shock absorbers and allow the spine to be flexible.

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What Is The Treatment For Chronic Nonspecific Low Back Pain

Initial treatment is similar to sudden-onset attacks. That is, aim to keep as active as possible. Also, painkillers can help. In addition to the painkillers listed above, your doctor may advise a course of an antidepressant medicine in the tricyclic group – for example, amitriptyline. Tricyclic antidepressants have other actions separate to their action on depression. They are used in a variety of painful conditions, including back pain.

Also, a national guideline , referenced below) recommends one or more of the following treatments should be considered. Each of these treatments has some evidence from research trials to suggest that they will help to ease symptoms in some people :

  • Structured exercise programme. This means a programme of exercise supervised by a professional such as a physiotherapist. This is likely to be in a group setting. Exercises may include aerobic activity, movement instruction, muscle strengthening, posture control and stretching. It typically consists of up to eight supervised sessions over 8-12 weeks with encouragement to keep on doing the exercises at home between sessions.
  • Manual therapy. Typically this includes several sessions of massage, spinal mobilisation and/or spinal manipulation. With spinal mobilisation the therapist moves the joints of the spine around in their normal movement range. In spinal manipulation, the therapist moves joints beyond the usual range of movement.
  • A course of acupuncture. It is not clear how this may work.

Gentle Mobilising Exercises For An Acute Back Pain

Mechanical or Simple Back Pain – What it Really Is & Best Exercise


Cat Stretch

Gently round your pelvis downwards towards the floor and then gently stretch it up towards the ceiling. Repeat 5-10 x . Only move as far as it feels comfortable which may not be too far to begin but keep gently moving. ALWAYS STOP IF THE EXERCISE MAKES YOUR BACK FEEL WORSE DURING OR AFTER.


Knee Rolls

Gently keep your feet and knees together and roll your knees gently side to side. Only move as far as it feels comfortable which may not be too far to begin but keep gently moving. Repeat 5-10 x .ALWAYS STOP IF THE EXERCISE MAKES YOUR BACK FEEL WORSE DURING OR AFTER.


Knee to Chest

Bring one leg gently to the chest and repeat the other side. ALWAYS STOP IF THE EXERCISE MAKES YOUR BACK FEEL WORSE DURING OR AFTER.

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Treatment Of Mechanical Neck Pain

Mechanical pain in both neck and back has a negative impact on a persons quality of life. Discomfort, stiffness in the affected area, headache, and other symptoms make even the easiest activities burdensome. Your range of motion is severely decreased and every move becomes difficult to perform.

Not only you find it difficult to move around your home, but your work suffers too. Pain affects concentration, doesnt let you focus, and its needless to mention you cant move as freely as youd like. Due to all these reasons and many others, it is important to be proactive regarding pain in the neck.

Dont wait for it to go away on its own, particularly if the pain is persistent. Consult your healthcare provider regarding symptoms you experience or visit a chiropractor.

While mechanical pain in the neck is frustrating, you can manage it successfully and increase your range of motion. The most beneficial treatment for this type of pain is a combination of exercise and mobilization or manipulation.

Another popular alternative to joint pain relief is joint pain medicines. These supplements target the root cause of joint pain to eradicate it completely from the system. You can consider Schwartz Turmeric Curcumin as an option since it might deliver desired results.

Types Of Low Back Pain

There are many ways to categorize low back pain two common types include:

  • Mechanical pain. By far the most common cause of lower back pain, mechanical pain is pain primarily from the muscles, ligaments, joints , or bones in and around the spine. This type of pain tends to be localized to the lower back, buttocks, and sometimes the top of the legs. It is usually influenced by loading the spine and may feel different based on motion , activity, standing, sitting, or resting.
  • Radicular pain. This type of pain can occur if a spinal nerve root becomes impinged or inflamed. Radicular pain may follow a nerve root pattern or dermatome down into the buttock and/or leg. Its specific sensation is sharp, electric, burning-type pain and can be associated with numbness or weakness . It is typically felt on only one side of the body.

    See Radiculopathy, Radiculitis and Radicular Pain

There are many additional sources of pain, including claudication pain myelopathic pain, neuropathic pain, deformity, tumors, infections, pain from inflammatory conditions , and pain that originates from another part of the body and presents in the lower back .

It is also possible for low back pain to develop with no definitive cause. When this happens, the primary focus is on treating the symptoms and the patients overall health.

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How Long Does It Take To Recover From Mechanical Back Pain

The earlier you seek professional care and consistency with your prescribed rehabilitation program the more likely you are to have a smooth recovery. There are many variables that will influence the length of time you are in pain, it can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months. In the rare case your mechanical back pain has not improved as expected your Physiotherapist or Chiropractor will refer you on for a more specialized consult with one of our


Physical Therapy And Manual Medicine

What Is Mechanical Back Pain

Physical therapists play an integral role in the diagnosis and treatment of low back pain variable evidence exists for specific physical modalities. Manipulation and mobilization are no more effective than inert interventions for acute low back pain.38 However, a systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that osteopathic manipulative treatment is effective in reducing acute and chronic mechanical low back pain.26 There is strong evidence that spinal stabilization exercises have no long-term advantages over other exercises.39 Exercise therapy is as effective as other therapies for the treatment of acute low back pain, and is slightly effective at reducing pain and improving function in chronic low back pain.40 However, early guideline-directed physical therapy has substantial reductions in use of health care and overall costs.41

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