Back pain is ubiquitous in our society. If doctors don’t suffer from it, they must have lots of patients who do.
It is a very common cause of lost time from work, contributes to diminished productivity, and a lot of just plain misery.
It is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. There are many treatments available, some are simply bogus attempts to separate you from your money; others are practical and seem to really work.
Causes of back pain vary from severely devastating diseases such as prostate cancer to other causes like job or family stress.
There is some evidence that there is a familial incidence of degenerative disc disease.
I had my first episode of severe back pain when I was thirty-one years old. I was a physician in training and I was working quite hard.
The job was quite stressful; I had previously been quite obese but had lost about one hundred pounds in medical school, so that was already out of the picture.
An orthopedic friend sent me home for a few days of rest, gave me some non-steroidal drugs to take. Recommended that I elevate my head and shoulders and put a pillow under my knees to relieve the pull on my back.
The pain subsided and I was good to go.
What he had me do was emulate in my bed what the zero gravity chair for back pain can do even more efficiently. I got a recliner put into my office in the cardiac cath lab and rested there while doing paper work and reading.
A major relief that allowed me to work productively through the day.
Unfortunately this introduced a pattern that has continued through out my life. I had three back operations and was left with spinal stenosis that no one is inclined to touch today.
I don’t take NSAIDs because of occasional GI bleeding that causes me to become iron deficient. I don’t take the various painkillers because they really don’t relieve the pain, they just make me not care.
I walk, maintain my weight, and take some acetaminophen.
I recall that during a vacation at the shore I was out floating about in the ocean.
I had this startling insight – my back did not hurt! It was a wonderful feeling!
I spent the rest of that week floating in the ocean. At night I thought about it and I realized that I was doing most of the things that doctors and textbooks told me to do, but hardly ever told me how to do them.
I was floating on my back. My cervical spine and head were a bit forward, my back had no pressure on it, my thighs were flexed, and my knees stuck out of the water while my lower legs and feet trailed lower and behind.
They can be had in most any price range starting within $100 but there are important considerations. Getting some information and then visiting a reputable dealer is important.
Be realistic about how much time you will use it. If it is infrequent, then don’t invest in some super high-end chair. If you will use it frequently, then spring for a more comfortable, less Spartan chair. Make sure it has a good warranty. Make sure it fits your body. Some chairs have weight and height limits or are designed for a specific range. You can even get a custom fitted chair built for yourself if you do some prospecting.
I tried one; it was just like floating in the ocean. Still remember, beware of the sharks!
- Dr. Pac Mclaurin,MD