Back problems are another source of chronic pain. Sciatica affects the lower back and legs. It starts in the sciatic nerve, which runs down the lower back, hips, buttocks, and legs. A herniated disk that puts pressure on the sciatic nerve often triggers sciatica. Spinal stenosis; a narrowing of the spine, can also put pressure on the sciatic nerve. Sciatica can be very painful, but medicines, physical therapy, and other treatments usually improve the pain within a few weeks.
Sometimes back pain can be traced to the kidneys, which are located on the back side of the body. Many people mistake kidney pain for back muscle strains. The most common causes of kidney pain are infection, kidney stones, polycystic kidney disease (in which growths called cysts form in the kidneys), bleeding, and kidney cancer. Because kidney pain can signal a more serious condition, it’s important to call the doctor for any constant, dull pain on one side of the back.
Cortisol is a vital hormone produced and secreted by the adrenal glands. Cortisone is released in a rhythmic fashion, with levels peaking in the morning (to help wake you up) and steadily declining throughout the remainder of the day. Cortisol maintains steady blood sugar levels and helps provide energy to … Read More
Osteoporosis is a condition of very low bone density that is commonly seen in women over the age of 50. It also can occur in men, typically after age 65. When bones lose density, either from having low bone mass or excessive bone loss, they become fragile and more likely … Read More
One of the unfortunate things about type 2 diabetes is that classic diabetes symptoms—excessive urination and thirst, for instance—rarely occur until the disease is well advanced. This means diabetes often remains undiagnosed for many years, such that approximately 50 percent of patients already have dangerous diabetes-related complications by the time … Read More
As a rule, upper back pain is unusual, since the upper back is structurally stronger than the lower back and also isn’t as mobile, due to being connected to the rib cage. This lack of motion affords it some protection against the bending-twisting types of injury you might sustain in … Read More
Like the upper back, the mid-back region is very stable, and this stability gives it some protection from injury. But the same underlying conditions and circumstances that can result in upper back pain also can result in middle back pain. These include: Poor posture: This is a major risk factor … Read More
Aside from the occasional aches, pains, and sleeping troubles, my 82-year-old mother is in very good health for her age. But like many other older adults, she takes a medication to help control high blood pressure symptoms. And like plenty of older individuals, she relies on her doctor to let … Read More
As a naturopathic physician, I use a variety of tools and strategies to help my patients. One of them—homeopathy—is widely misunderstood. Some people mistake homeopathy as just another word for natural medicine. Rather, it’s a specific technique that uses very small doses of highly diluted substances to stimulate the body’s … Read More
If you have any of the following environmental risk factors, the good news is that by altering them, you may be able to lower your risk of back pain in the future. Smoking Most people relate smoking to heart and lung problems, but it also puts you at risk for … Read More
When you think about the more than 200 bones that comprise the skeletal framework supporting your body, you probably envision them as sturdy, rigid, and unchanged. Actually, your bones are in a constant state of flux. Cells known as osteoclasts break down weakened portions of the bone, while cells called … Read More