This article is provided for general information purposes and should not be construed in any way as health or medical advice or treatment recommendations.

If you are currently experiencing any symptoms, consult your physician immediately.


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Other Name(s):
Spinal Stenosis, Spondylosthesis, Disk Disease

What is Low Back Pain?
Sudden or gradual onset of pain in the low back. Most of the time the cause of low back pain is not known. Some of the possible causes are disk disease (protrusion of the disc into the spine), spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal), or spondylolisthesis (horizontal shift of one vertebrae relative to the next).

Areas of Body Directly Affected:
Low Back, Bottom, Legs.

Symptoms:
Pain or aching in the low back which may include pain or numbness extending down the leg (sciatica).

Treatment:
Most of the time sudden onset low back pain will resolve within days or weeks with conservative treatment. This should involve as much light activity as tolerated, such as walking, but avoid strenuous exercise or lifting. Control pain with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (Tylenol or Motrin). Avoid postures that increase the severity of sciatica. For persistent or very severe pain see a physician to identify possible underlying conditions and consider more aggressive treatment.

Modifying Computer Work
If the pain is positional - that is, made worse in a seated posture or a standing posture - then the chair and workstation should be modified to allow working in the most comfortable posture. Some people find that a standing workstation is best with a foot rail that allows one foot to be slightly raised (like a bar) - the keyboard should be at or a little above elbow height - the top of the monitor at eye level. If sitting is uncomfortable, some people find that sitting on a 'kneeling chair' which has no back support works for them.

If standing is uncomfortable, sitting in a good size chair with tall back support and good lumbar (low back) support may allows one to work for long hours. In this situation, leaning back in the chair may be beneficial. If much recline is required (greater than 20 degrees from vertical) then the chair should also have a head support. The chair should be appropriate for your body size.

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