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Back Pain - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Back Pain. 2 nd most common cause for office visit 60-80% of population will have lower back pain at some time in their lives Each year, 15-20% will have back pain Most common cause of disability for persons < 45 years 1% of US population is disabled Costs to society: $20-50 billion/year.

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Back pain l.jpg
Back Pain

  • 2nd most common cause for office visit

  • 60-80% of population will have lower back pain at some time in their lives

  • Each year, 15-20% will have back pain

  • Most common cause of disability for persons < 45 years

  • 1% of US population is disabled

  • Costs to society: $20-50 billion/year

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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Oh My Aching BackTreatment Options for Back Pain

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine


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  • Part 1:

    • Introduction

    • Review of anatomy

  • Part 2:

    • Acute low back pain

  • Part 3:

    • Chronic low back pain

    • Prevention

  • Questions ??

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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Low Back Pain

  • “One would have thought by now that the problem of diagnosis and treatment would have been solved, but the issue remains mysterious and clouded with uncertainty.”

    • Rosomoff HL, Rosomoff RS. Low back pain: Evaluation and management in the primary care setting. Med Clin North Am 1999;83:643-62.

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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- Anatomy

Lesson #1

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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- Anatomy

Lesson #2

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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Introduction to Ed

  • Ed has had lower back pain for the past 24 hours that he feels is related to yard work that he did over the weekend. He missed work today, Monday.

  • He wants to know what can be done for his back pain?

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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What should Ed expect from his health care professional?

  • Be able to recognize the difference between routine lower back pain and dangerous forms of lower back pain.

  • Provide information, advice, and a plan of action.

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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% of Back Pain due to Herniated Disk?

  • 4%

  • 14%

  • 40%

  • None of the above

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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Causes of Low Back Pain

  • Lumbar “strain” or “sprain” – 70%

  • Degenerative changes – 10%

  • Herniated disk – 4%

  • Osteoporosis compression fractures – 4%

  • Spinal stenosis – 3%

  • Spondylolisthesis – 2%

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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Causes of Low Back Pain…

  • Spondylolysis, diskogenic low back pain or other instability – 2%

  • Traumatic fracture - <1%

  • Congenital disease - <1%

  • Cancer – 0.7%

  • Inflammatory arthritis – 0.3%

  • Infections – 0.01%

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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History of cancer

Unexplained weight loss

Intravenous drug use

Prolonged use of corticosteroids

Older age

Major Trauma



Back pain at rest or at night

Bowel or bladder dysfunction

Red Flags

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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  • Anti-inflammatory medications (NSAID’s):

    • Beneficial; no differences; watch side-effects

  • Tylenol:

  • Narcotic Pain Relievers:

    • No more effective than NSAID’s

    • Many side effects

  • Muscle Relaxants (ie. Flexeril®):

    • Can decrease pain and improve mobility

    • 70% with drowsiness/dizziness

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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  • Davenport, Iowa in 1895 by David Palmer; ‘done by hand’ (Greek)

  • Spinal manipulation

  • Conflicting evidence on the effects of spinal manipulation

    • ~75-90% improvement anyway within 4 weeks

  • Greater patient satisfaction

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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Exercise & Bed Rest

  • Advice to stay active:

    • ‘There is no evidence that advice to stay active is harmful for either acute low back pain or sciatica.’

    • Hurt does not equal harm

  • One or two days of bed rest if necessary

  • Light activity, avoiding heavy lifting, bending or twisting (ie. walking)

  • No data on any particular exercises

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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Massage & Physical Therapy

  • Might be beneficial

  • More quality research is needed

  • Different types of massage

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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  • Very little quality research and data

  • Seems to indicate that acupuncture is not effective for the treatment of back pain

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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Other Modalities

  • Back Brace/Corset/Lumbar Support:

  • Traction:

  • Injections: Inconclusive evidence

  • TENS:

  • Hot/Cold:

  • Ultrasound:

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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Ed, again…

  • Now, Ed has not had improvement in his lower back pain and 6 weeks have gone by since the initial painful event.

  • What types of therapies might be beneficial for Ed now?

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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Role of X-rays (Radiology)

  • Usually unnecessary and not helpful

  • Plain X-ray:

    • Age>50 years

    • No improvement after 6 weeks

    • Other worrisome findings

  • MRI:

    • After 6 weeks if have sciatica

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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  • Similar to acute pain….

  • Antidepressant medications can improve pain relief

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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  • Improves pain and function

  • Many programs available, but difficult to make any scientific recommendations for one type versus another

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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  • Epidural injections:

    • Insufficient and conflicting evidence

  • Facet joint injections:

    • No improvement

  • Local/Trigger point injections:

    • Possibly some benefit

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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  • Diskectomy improves pain in short term but not long term (ie. 10 years)

  • Microdiskectomy similar to standard diskectomy

  • Automated percutaneous diskectomy and laser diskectomy both less effective

  • ? Arthroscopic diskectomy

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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Other Modalities

  • Back Schools: - possibly effective

  • Multidisciplinary Therapy: - probably yes

  • TENS: - no

  • Spinal manipulation: - conflicting data

  • Massage: - probably yes

  • IDET:

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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  • No convincing evidence that shows the short or long-term clinical efficacy of this procedure.

  • Safe with few adverse effects

  • ? Long-term effects

  • Wall Street Journal (Feb. 11, 2003)

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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  • Exercise:

    • Aerobic, back/leg strengthening

  • Back braces and education about proper lifting techniques are ineffective

  • ? weight loss and smoking cessation

Steven Stoltz, M.D.

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Web Resources


  • (“Helping people make well-informed decisions about health care.”)


Steven Stoltz, M.D.