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Lower Back FAQ

Would exercise make my back pain better? I recently had a baby, and my back started hurting during pregnancy.

I had a baby three months ago and am wondering why my back still hurts. It started the last couple months of my pregnancy. I thought once I delivered, it would stop hurting. Is there something wrong?

I am eight months pregnant and have gotten comments about my "waddle walk." Why is this happening? Does it have anything to do with the aching in my groin area at the end of a day?

I've been reading a lot about back pain and learned that people who have a harder time getting along with others are at more risk of having lower back problems. Is this true?

I fell off a ladder at work and fractured one of the bones in my lower back. My doctor put me in a brace and told me to lie low. But I'm sick of staying in bed all day. Is it okay for me to move around?

I recently fell off a scaffold while doing construction and fractured a vertebra in the lower part of my back. Will I be able to get back to work?

I broke a vertebra in the lower part of my back, and the doctor wants to put a screw in it. I've heard stories about people being paralyzed from back surgery, and I don't want to wind up in a wheelchair. Should I let the doctor operate?

I have serious pain in my low back that's kept me from getting back to work. My doctor says it's called sciatica and that surgery could help. Will surgery get me back on the job?

I have severe pain running down the back of my leg. My doctor says this is from a ruptured disc in my low back and that surgery can fix it. Back surgery sounds serious. Is it worth the risk?

I have sciatic pain due to a ruptured disc in my low back. I've heard that removing the disc can clear up the pain, but is surgery just a quick fix? Will the benefits last?

Is low back pain preventable? If so, how can I keep my kids from getting it?

My 13-year-old says his low back hurts. Is this normal?

My doctor says injection therapy can be given in different places for low back pain. What are the different places?

I've heard that injection therapy is effective in treating back pain. But what does "effective" mean?

Can injection therapy really get rid of low back pain?

My 60-year-old mother fell and broke her pelvis. She had surgery, and now the doctors are worried she'll get a blood clot. Is her age working against her?

How long will it take me to heal after surgery for the two herniated discs in my low back?

What does the position of my back have to do with low back problems?

Six months ago, I injured my back in a car accident. With the help of my physical therapist, the pain is finally gone, but my back still feels weak to me. How many of the exercises given to me by my physical therapist can help me get stronger?

My husband is in his mid-forties and seems to be having more and more back problems. He went to see a physical therapist who helped him learn to move and lift correctly. The therapist even looked at his work duties and made some changes in the workspace. Now my husband is doing several exercises that are supposed to help support his back. How does anyone know if these exercises really work?

Do people with low back pain have different walking patterns than other people?

Does low back pain have different effects on walking for men and women?

How does low back pain get in the way of walking?

Six months ago, I injured myself on the job. I'm supposed to take a test to see if I'm ready to go back to work. What kind of test is this?

In two weeks, I’m scheduled for a test that will decide if I’m ready to go back to work. I’m worried that I’ll have to do too much and reinjure myself. Should I say something about this when I go in for the test?

I'm on worker's compensation for a work-related back injury. The doctor's report mentions disability and impairment. What's the difference between these two things?

I am seven months pregnant with my third child. I've had constant tailbone pain for six weeks. Last week, I fell going down my basement stairs. Now the pain is gone. What could have caused this change?

I've had pain in my tailbone for about a month. I don't remember falling on it or hurting myself in any way. What could be causing this?

Two years ago, I slipped on a patch of ice and landed right on my tailbone. Ever since, I’ve had pain so severe, I can hardly sit down for more than 10 minutes. I’ve tried everything from drugs to heat to injections. I even had the chiropractor manipulate the area. Could I have the tailbone removed?

With damage and arthritis in my low back, the doctors are advising a lumbar spine fusion. Why can't they just do a simple operation and put screws in the bone to hold it in place? They did this when I broke my arm last year and it worked fine.

I've heard there's a way to tell if fusing the low back will help reduce pain by using screws into the spine. Can you tell me more about this?

I don't have a very good health insurance policy. At the same time, I need a spinal fusion in my lumbar spine. My doctor has suggested trying a temporary fusion using screws to hold the spine in place for a week. How will this save me money? If it works, I'll have two surgeries to pay for.

My wife is going to have a lumbar spinal fusion with titanium mesh cages. Afterward, she will wear a brace. What’s the brace for and how long is this needed?

My 14-year old son was just diagnosed with "spondylolysis." Will this heal on its own?

I started having back pain about a month ago that seems to be getting worse instead of better. How can I tell if there's something seriously wrong with me?

I was diagnosed with lung cancer back in 1998. I had surgery and chemotherapy. I've been doing fine until last month when my back started hurting. Is there a quick and easy way to find out if the cancer has come back? That's my biggest fear about this back pain.

Recently I had X-rays of my spine taken. The doctor said I had really "tall" disc spaces for my age (55 years old). Is this a genetic trait?

I've had two spinal fusions so far. Both times the surgeon used bone from my pelvis. This time a special INFUSE bone graft will be used. Is this really better than using my own bone?

My mother is thinking about having spinal fusion. She has a chronic back problem from a bad disc. She just lost her job and seems depressed. Would it be better to wait and have this operation when she's in a better frame of mind?

I'm planning to have a spinal fusion at L34 for a chronic disc problem. Is there any way to tell in advance if I'll have a good result? Isn't there a personality test they say works for this?

Can you explain why I have tenderness to touch in my low back area? I've had low back pain for five months now. Just pressing on the skin and muscles makes it hurt. Why is that?

I had a disc removed from my lower back. It was supposed to be a simple surgery but I ended up with a dural tear. How often does this happen?

My husband just came out of spinal surgery. They took two discs out and fused his spine. This is his third back surgery. This time he had a dural tear during the operation. The surgeon said it's all been repaired so he's okay. He didn't have this problem with the first two surgeries...why now?

I had a complex back surgery and ended up with headaches, back, and leg pain. The surgeon told me there's a tear in the dural sac called a durotomy. I've been advised to have another operation to repair the problem. What will happen if I don't do it?

My wife is going to have a disc replacement in just a few weeks. She's wondering how soon she'll see results of this surgery.

Our local hospital wants to start a back school for people with back pain lasting more than one month. What can we use as measures of "success"?

My doctor wants me to go to a special program called "Back School." What do they do at these schools?

My doctor says I'm not a good candidate for the new artificial disc replacements. What would happen if I went ahead and got one anyway?

I have three discs that are getting thin from the aging process. One disc (the worst one) is going to be replaced with an artificial implant. Will this affect the height of the other two discs?

I'm a school nurse in an elementary and middle school. I see students of all ages starting to have back pain. It seems like much more than it used to be. Is there any known cause of this problem in such young children?

I just graduated from nursing school. The first three hospitals I applied at all required preemployment screening. They weren't screening for drugs like I expected. They were screening for back pain. What's going on?

I'm thinking about going to nursing school. I heard that many nurses have to quit nursing because of back pain. Is this true?

Over the summer our high school freshman was diagnosed with spondylolysis. He was treated by a physical therapist for a month and sent home with an exercise program to continue until school starts. He's still wearing a brace and it's time to start football practice. Is it safe for him to join the team this soon?

My 18-year old daughter injured herself while working on a summer construction project. The doctor took X-rays and didn't find anything. Now a special CT scan has been ordered. Do we really need the extra studies?

I had a spinal fusion at three levels last winter. It's been six months and I'm just finally getting rid of the spinal brace the doctor gave me. My neighbor had the same surgery and she only wore the brace two weeks. If I didn't wear mine, my back and ribs started aching. She never had any symptoms. Why the difference?

My father was in terrible pain for six years until he finally had his back fused. He's definitely better, but he's not pain free. Did he wait too long or are we expecting too much that he wasn't cured?

I saw in my medical record the doctor recorded "Absence of Waddell signs; patient is a good candidate for spinal fusion." What are Waddell signs?

I am a new graduate nurse from an accredited program. One of my patients is seeing a psychologist for "fear-avoidance beliefs" (FABs). The doctor thinks the patient's back pain is caused by FABs. We didn't learn about this problem in school. What can you tell me about it?

My 66-year old mother is seeing a physical therapist for low back pain. The therapist tells Mom to "face your pain" and "stop avoiding movement." I'm concerned that more harm than good will be done with this kind of approach. What do you think?

I'm seeing a physical therapist for back pain that's lasted six months. My exercise program isn't based on my pain levels. I'm supposed to keep increasing how long I exercise. This just doesn't make sense to me. Won't I be able to do more if my pain is taken care of first?

I've been exercising on my own after finishing a back rehab program for an injury six months ago. The therapist gave me balance exercises to do. I get on my hands and knees and lift one leg and the opposite arm. I really hate doing these. Are they important enough to keep in the program?

I don't have much time to exercise but I want to keep my back strong for my job. Is there one single exercise I can do that will cover all the bases?

I'm in a catch-22 situation. My back hurts when I move it but my doctor wants me to move as much as possible. How can this really help?

After six months of daily back pain I got better by getting out and exercising. A friend of mine did the same thing but her doctor advised her to join a group. Does it really matter if exercise is done alone or in a group?

My husband hurt his back and was told by the doctor to get back to regular activity as soon as possible. He hasn't done this and I'm worried. Could something serious be wrong?

Are women employed outside the home more likely to have back pain compared to homemakers?

Do women who work outside the home have more sick days than homemakers?

I've been taking a drug called diazepam for back pain. I saw a commercial on television for Motrin. It was advertised as a pain reliever for cramps and back pain during the menstrual cycle. Since my back pain is worse during that time of month should I take both?

My doctor gave me some samples of Flexeril to try for back pain. What kind of drug is this?

I went to my doctor for a bout of low back pain. I came away with a prescription for muscle relaxants. Should I take these? I don't really like using drugs for anything.

I heard a report that people who work at night are more likely to see a doctor for back pain than day-time workers. Is there any particular reason for this? I work at night but I've never had back pain while on the job.

I saw a report that only 30 percent of people with back pain seek help. Isn't that good to keep down costs?

I've had a couple back injuries over the years. Now I'm looking for a new job. What should I look for to help me tell if the job is going to be too hard?

My doctor explained there are a few possible problems after radiofrequency treatment for my low back pain. I know there can be pain, burning pain, or changes in sensation. What causes these problems

I'm planning to have a radiofrequency procedure on my spine. What are the chances something can go wrong?

Two years ago I tried radiofrequency treatment for my low back pain. It worked pretty well. Now I have pain down lower. Can I have this treatment again?

I had an ultrasound treatment for low back pain. It only took five minutes and I didn't feel any better afterwards. Should I keep getting this treatment?

I'm going to have a spinal fusion at the L4/5 level. I'd like to do everything possible to have a good result. Are there any tips you can offer?

I just had a disc removed two weeks ago. I'm finally pain free and I feel great. How soon can I drive my motorcycle and go back to work?

Is there any kind of surgery that works for sciatica pain? I'd rate my pain an eight on a scale from zero (no pain) to 10 (worst pain). It's keeping me from regular activities, sleeping, and making my life miserable. I'll do anything at this point to be pain free again. What do you advise?

I'm 52-years old and have a fairly inactive job at the city newspaper. Last week I stood up and got a shooting pain down my leg. Now I can hardly straighten up. The doctor thinks it's a disc problem. How could this happen? I wasn't lifting or twisting.

I've heard smoking causes back pain. Is this true?

I've been told I have osteoporosis throughout my spine from smoking. I'm trying to quit smoking, but it's very hard. Even though I still smoke, would exercise help my back?

I've been having some trouble with back pain off and on over the last six months. Right now it's more on than off. My doctor tells me quitting smoking would help. Is it enough to cut back the number of cigarettes I smoke?

I am the sole breadwinner for a family of six. After injuring my back, I've been able to keep working, but just barely. The doctor thinks surgery to remove a disc could help. What are my chances of getting back to work after this type of operation?

I heard that people in countries like Canada with national health insurance have far fewer operations than anywhere else. Is this true?

I've had two lumbar discs removed and need another. Is there a disc replacement available yet?

When I take my car in and get a part replaced, the new part usually has some kind of guarantee. When I go in next week for a disc replacement in my spine, are there any guarantees for the implant?

I had an artificial disc put in at the L3/4 level in my spine. Before the operation I had severe back pain. The back pain is gone, but now I have leg pain I didn't have before. Is this common?

What is "preemptive analgesia?" My husband is having back surgery and the doctor mentioned this as a way to control his postoperative pain.

How does "preemptive analgesia" work? My doctor used this on me during a recent discectomy. I had very little pain afterwards.

I was going to have a special method of pain control during my recent back surgery. It was called preemptive analgesia. It never worked out because the doctor couldn't get a needle into the right spot. What could cause this problem?

Last week I had a steroid injection for a large herniated disc. Today I woke up with numbness between my legs going down the inside of my thighs. Is this a normal result from steroid injections?

I'm going to have a steroid injection for a large herniated disc at L4/5. Will one injection be enough to take care of the problem? How do I know if I've waited too long to get treatment?

I've been treated for a large disc protrusion in my low back area. So far there’s no change in my symptoms. The doctor is suggesting either a steroid injection or surgery to remove the disc. Which one is better?

My doctor is advising me to have a steroid injection for a disc problem. I thought steroid were bad for you. Why do they use them for problems like this?

All my tests show a disc problem at L4/5. What are my treatment options for this problem?

I had some tests done that show my low back pain is coming from a damaged and protruding disc. I opted to try diet and exercise instead of an operation. So far I've lost 50 pounds and my back pain is better. It does seem like a slow recovery. How can I tell if the disc is getting better without getting another MRI?

What is "lumbago?" My grandmother keeps telling me she has this condition. It seems to come and go, but I can't figure out what it is.

I've been seeing a physical therapist for chronic low back pain. I'd like to keep track of measurable improvement. Is there some scientific way to do this?

After years of chronic low back pain, I started exercising regularly despite having bad days. Over time my pain has gotten much better. Though I still have some bad days, these are far fewer. Can anyone explain why exercise works this way?

When I filled out a form at the doctor's office I had to rate my back pain as a number from zero to 10. How do I do this when my pain is a two in the morning and a six at night?

I'm supposed to have a stress test for my heart, but I have a bad back. I'm not sure I can do the test. Are there any other ways to get the same information without a stress test?

Last week I had a steroid injection for a large herniated disc. Today I woke up with numbness between my legs going down the inside of my thighs. Is this a normal result from steroid injections?

I'm going to have a steroid injection for a large herniated disc at L4/5. Will one injection be enough to take care of the problem? How do I know if I've waited too long to get treatment?

I have a bad disc in my low back. I've tried exercise, rest, drugs, and brace. Nothing works. I'm looking into having the new IDET treatment, but I've been warned I may end up with surgery later anyway. What are the chances of this happening?

A year ago I had a special heat treatment for a disc problem. It worked okay. Yesterday I got a phone call from the clinic asking me questions about the results. I didn't know the person calling me. How can I find out if this is legit?

My doctor is advising me to have a steroid injection for a disc problem. I thought steroid were bad for you. Why do they use them for problems like this?

Ten years ago I had a disc problem. Doctors used an MRI to find it. Now I've had another disc go bad on me. Instead of an MRI, the doctor wants to do a discography. Why didn't they do this the last time I had a disc problem?

Years ago I hurt my back in a work-related accident. After attending a rehab program witha psychologist, physical therapist, and vocational counselor I went back to work full-time. Over the years I've seen a chiropractor and massage therapist for occasional backpain. Is this what's keeping me from getting back pain again?

I've had back pain for the last four years from a car accident that broke two vertebrae and my pelvis. I'm going to a chronic pain clinic every week for the next two months. Every time I go there I have to see at least four or five different staff members. Why can't I just see one doctor?

I've been in treatment for low back pain for about six months. Now my doctor wants me to see a psychologist. What good will that do? I'm not depressed and I'm not a hypochondriac.

What's the difference between "disability" and "impairment?" I'm on worker's comp and I see both these words used to describe my case, but I don't undertand them.

I injured my back in a work-related activity. After surgery and rehab, I'm ready to go back to the job. I had to take a test to measure my motion and function. By the time I got done twisting, turning, bending, and moving, my back was very sore. I never do that much moving on-the-job. Was this really necessary?

I saw a TV report about the latest research on spinal fusions. Japanese scientists are using an old formula from Boeing Company to find out how much stress is put on the tissues after the operation. I must have missed the reason why that would work. Can you explain it?

My brother and I were in a snowmobile accident together. We both injured our backs, but he ended up with a spinal fusion and I didn't. The doctor said we had just about the same injury and force on our spines. My brother's discs started to deteriorate and he's had constant pain ever since. Mine healed and I'm fine. How do you explain this?

I have low back pain all the time. The doctor wants to fuse the spine together, but there are already signs of disc degeneration at the next level up. I've been told fusion can make this worse. If I get one level fixed, will the next one go bad later?

After lumbar spine surgery, my wife had such low blood pressure the doctors thought she was hemorrhaging inside. They opened her up again, but didn't find anything. Was this second operation really needed?

What is a "false aneurysm?" My husband had back surgery and now he's back in the hospital with back and leg pain caused by this problem.

I've been in treatment for a back problem for about six weeks now. I feel like I'm about the same, but my wife says she sees some progress. Is there any way to keep track of my results more objectively?

I have a condition called spondylolysis that I've had since childhood. How often do children have this problem? Can adults have it, too?

I'm with a group of physical therapy students planning a research study. We are looking at back pain in older adults and measuring it against their function. Can we rely on patients to answer our questions honestly to get an accurate result?

I read a report in a runner's magazine about what kind of muscle fibers are present in people who have chronic low back pain compared to normal, healthy adults. All of the subjects were men. Why aren't women included in these kinds of studies?

My doctor thinks I need surgery for a herniated lumbar disc. I've seen reports that the results are only 50-50 in the United States and much better in Canada or the Netherlands. Is this true?

My father had sciatica for about six months. When he found out it was caused by prostate cancer and not from a disc problem, his pain and drug use went way up. Before he was using ibuprofen, now he's taking codeine. Is this really necessary? We are all worried he will become addicted.

I've had back pain off and on for the last six months. The doctor can't find anything wrong and has strongly advised me to exercise. How can I exercise when my back hurts?

I'm on a weight loss and exercise program because of back pain. I'm five feet tall and weigh 300 pounds. I'm trying to save money for a trip when I lose 100 pounds. Can I exercise at home and get the same results as going to the gym?

I am a regular exerciser. I walk three miles five times a week. I lift weights three times a week. Even so, I hurt my back last month and still haven't gotten over it. I thought exercise was supposed to prevent back problems. What went wrong with me?

I signed up at the university to be in a study using high heat to treat disc problems. After six weeks the study was cancelled. They sent out a letter saying too many subjects were ineligible. What does that mean?

I signed up at the university to be in a study using high heat to treat disc problems. After six weeks the study was cancelled. They sent out a letter saying too many subjects were ineligible. What does that mean?

I was in a study at the clinic in our town. A new treatment for disc problems was given to some patients. Others got a "pretend" treatment. None of us knew which group we were in. I thought I was in the treatment group because I got better. Is there any way to tell, really?

I was in a special study to treat back pain from disc problems. After six months I found out I wasn't in the real treatment group. This doesn't seem fair. Now I have to start all over again seeking treatment for my back pain. How do they get away with this?

Is it true that once you've injured your back, you're more likely to hurt it again?

Every now and then my back goes out on me. It seems to happen at the oddest times. I'll be doing the simplest thing, like reaching for a glass of water or turning off a light. What's causing this to happen?

Last year I injured my back in a job-related accident. After being off work for six months and completing a rehab program, I came back as good as new. Two months later I started having back pain again. What's going on?

I went to the doctor for a sudden episode of low back pain. I thought I'd at least get an X-ray to find out the cause. The doctor gave me a prescription for painkillers. Should I go to the emergency room next time?

I'm an amateur golfer trying to improve my swing. I notice at the top of my backswing I get twinges of low back pain. What could be causing this?

I had surgery for spinal stenosis 10 years ago. I hear the operation is much less invasive these days. What does that mean?

I have chronic back and leg pain from spinal stenosis. If I have the surgery to take pressure off the nerve tissue, will the pain go away?

What is spinal stenosis and what causes it?

I have a very painful tailbone, which the doctor calls "coccygodynia." What can cause this condition?

I've heard that humans really have a tail at the end of the spine. Is this true?

After a very long and difficult delivery, I gave birth to a 12-pound baby. In the process my tailbone broke. Now it's healed in a crooked position. It's very painful. Is there any treatment for this problem?

I saw a report from Canada that some physical therapists don't think spinal manipulation works for low back pain. Does it?

I heard a report that there are more and more back injuries in the workplace. It seems like everything is automated now. Shouldn't there be fewer back problems?

Every year the United States spends millions of dollars on people with low back pain. What's all this money spent on?

Everyone at the gym is doing Pilates for core strengthening. Is there really anything to this?

How long does it take to heal after a lumbar discectomy?

The doctor is going to do a discectomy on me at the L3/4 level. There's some question about how much of the disc should be removed. What's best?

I'm scheduled to have a limited discectomy next week. What is this exactly?

I've heard the indirect costs of back pain are as much if not more than the direct costs. What are these indirect costs?

I work as a vocational manager in a large meat packing plant. When workers are out with back pain or injury for more than six months, I meet with them to look at ways to get them back to work. It seems that spinal fusion has become a very popular treatment method. More of our workers get back to work after this operation. What other options do workers have for this problem?

I've been off work for almost a year with chronic low back pain. I'm out of sick leave and disability. Now I'm losing pension benefits. Is it worth the cost of having surgery to fuse the spine? There's no guarantee I'll get back to work, but I feel like I've got to do something.

I've heard that more and more doctors are treating chronic low back with spinal fusion. Is this true? And is it really the best treatment?

I've heard there's a fake ligament that can be used to fuse the spine. It's used instead of a metal plate and screws or a bone graft. What can you tell me about this?

Are the results of spinal fusion surgery based on the underlying problem in the spine? In other words, are some problems easier to fix with spinal fusion than others?

I hurt my back on the job about three years ago. The physical therapist gave me stabilization exercises at that time. I've been pain free ever since. Now after delivering a 10-pound baby I'm having the same back pain again. The stabilization exercises seem to be helping. How often should I do them?

When I was pregnant with my first child I had terrible back pain that went away when my son was born. My younger sister just had a baby. She had no back pain during the pregnancy, but now she has low back and pelvic pain. Is this hereditary?

I had a baby about six weeks ago, and I'm trying to get back in shape. Everytime I do any exercises I get back and hip pain. Is this normal?

Is it true that once you've injured your back, you're more likely to hurt it again?

Every now and then my back goes out on me. It seems to happen at the oddest times. I'll be doing the simplest thing like reaching for a glass of water or turning off a light. What's causing this to happen?

Last year I injured my back in a job-related accident. After being off work for six months and completing a rehab program, I came back as good as new. Two months later I started having back pain again. What's going on?

I had a spinal fusion that didn't work. X-rays show there's still movement at that level, and I still have disabling pain. The doctor wants me to try a device that emits electromagnetic waves to build up the bone. Can't I get cancer from this? Isn't it the same energy waves that power lines put out?

My 78-year-old mother had surgery to fuse her spine, but it didn't work. She still has movement at that level and an unstable spine. Her health really isn't good enough to have another operation. Are there any other options here?

After a spinal fusion at two levels in my low back, the X-rays show it wasn't successful. There's still motion at one level. I'm not having any symptoms. Should I still have another operation to fuse it again?

I hurt my back at work six months ago and still haven't been able to go back. After going through rehab, I'm no better than I was at the time of the injury. I think I need surgery. How do I get this while in the workers' compensation system?

I had an aneurysmal bone cyst removed from the T12/L1 vertebrae. The doctor rebuilt the spine using a new titanium cage. What's to keep this device in place? Why doesn't it pop out when I bend over?

I had a bone tumor taken out of my spine along with a fair amount of bone. The doctor replaced the missing bone with a titanium, mesh cage. X-rays show the cage is fractured. Now what will happen?

My 78-year old mother had a burst fracture of her spinal vertebrae. She was given an exercise program, a brace to wear during healing, and some drugs to build up her bones. Now all of a sudden, she has become hunched over and the doctor says she has post traumatic deformity. What happened?

My sister has been driving 250 miles to see a doctor who does prolotherapy for back pain. Is this treatment really safe? Won't all that driving just make her worse?

What is prolotherapy? My cousin just had it for her back pain and swears by it. I'm thinking of doing it, too.

I'm a nurse with a new job. I just started working in a pain clinic with chronic low back pain patients. The clinic uses a survey called the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM). What can you tell me about this?

I hurt my back in an on-the-job accident last week. I'm very interested in getting back to my regular exercise program and back to work. Should I tell my physical therapist this or just go with whatever program is set up for me?

I filled out a form at the rehab clinic when I went there for a problem with back pain. Most of the questions were about work and sex. I am retired and widowed. Why do they make us fill out forms like this that don't even apply to me?

I am working as a research lab assistant in a clinic in Norway. A group of physical therapists are going to teach us how to perform the Biering-Sørensen Test. Can you tell me what this is before I head into work next week?

I'm on my college crew team this year. I have a herniated disc that has kept me from rowing. The doctor gave me two treatment choices: a lumbar fusion or an exercise program. Will I lose strength more with one over the other? I need both strength and endurance to keep up with the rest of the crew team.

My doctor told me exercise is really the way to go for a problem with back pain. I'm not really sure what kind of exercise to do. What do you recommend?

Is there any truth to the idea that tall, heavy men are at greater risk for back injury than small, short women?

I heard on the radio that yard work is bad for men and puts us at risk for back pain. Is this true?

I read that low back pain is the most common health problem around the world. Who is affected the most: young laborers or older inactive adults?

I notice my aunt says her back pain is less, but she isn't getting better. She can't walk any further, keep up with household chores, or sleep at night. Is she just acting out for the attention?

I hear a lot about quality of life. Even medical treatment is paid for by my insurance based on improving quality of life. What's included in this idea?

I found out I have a very small (quarter inch) difference in the length of my legs. The right is shorter than the left. Should I do anything about it?

My doctor told me I have one leg shorter than the other, and that I should get a shoe lift. Does it matter whether I use a shoe insert versus a shoe lift?

Wow! I can't believe the difference in my low back pain from wearing a simple shoe insert. It seems I have a very slightly shorter left leg. The insert is only worn in the left shoe. It makes sense to use a shoe lift or insert but how does this work exactly?

My 75-year old father was just told his back and leg pain and weakness is from lumbar canal stenosis. What is this?

I had a laminectomy two years ago at two levels in the lumbar spine. No matter how much I exercise or what I do, I can't seem to get my strength back. Is that typical?

I'm going to have surgery for a lumbar disc herniation. What can I expect for results?

I'm usually a pretty positive person. As I head into back surgery next week for spinal stenosis, how high can I set my expectations?

What makes an operation "minimally invasive"? The doctor says my spinal fusion will be minimally invasive. Seems like any time a person goes under the knife it should be considered invasive.

I have a problem with slipping vertebrae and slipping discs. After two operations to fuse two separate levels, I still have low back pain. The doctor says my low back is "too flat." Why does this make a difference?

I'm 65-years old and feel like the replacement man. I've got dentures, a total knee replacement, and a fake eye because of macular degeneration. Now I see they have disc replacements for the spine. Is that another thing I can expect to see in my lifetime?

My boss is constantly reminding me to use good posture when lifting at work. Does it really matter?

I've read that the best way to prevent a back injury while lifting is to increase the stability of the spine. What does that mean and how do I do it?

Which is better when lifting: squat or stoop?

I'm going to have a spinal fusion with these new cages they put in from the front after they take the disc out. What keeps that little device from just going straight out the back?

I had a spinal fusion with a titanium cage between the bones from the front and two screws in the back. The surgeon says the operation was a 100 percent success. How come I don't feel any better? I still have pain, and I can't walk very far.

I had two bouts of low back pain last year. I saw two different physical therapists at the same clinic. The treatment program was different each time. They both seemed to do the same kind of exam. Why the difference?

Tomorrow I see my physical therapist for the third time this week. My problem is a very painful low back. She wants me to take a fear beliefs survey. I guess I must be fearful because I'm afraid to take the test. What can you tell me about the test?

What does it mean to centralize low back pain? I read my file while waiting in the physical therapist's office. It said the goal of my treatment plan is to "centralize the pain." I'm sure the therapist probably explained the idea to me. I just don't remember it.

I'm in perfect health. I work out at the gym regularly. Last week I hurt my back doing a simple task. I thought being in good shape would prevent this. What happened to me?

I'm supposed to have an exercise stress test for my heart but I have back pain, and I'm afraid I'll hurt myself again. What can I do to keep this from happening but still get the test done?

My doctor wants to inject my sacroiliac joint to help decrease my low back pain. What if that's not the problem?

I had a lidocaine injection into my SI joint and ended up with sciatica on top of the low back pain. What causes that?

I have low back pain that I suspect might be my sacroiliac joint. How can I know for sure?

My doctor wants me to have a diskography test before having surgery for a disc problem. The test is supposed to show if the disc is really the problem. I've been told the test itself is painful. Are there any after effects?

I know that a bulging disc can cause pain because it puts pressure on the nearby nerves. Does the disc itself feel pain?

My wife is being treated for a sudden problem with low back pain. It just came out of the blue without an injury or warning. I'm worried it might be something serious. The doctor doesn't seem too concerned that it's anything like cancer. How can they know for sure?

My mother-in-law has leg and back pain from spinal stenosis. There's been some talk about surgery for this problem. Is the risk of developing other problems from the surgery worth taking a chance to get some pain relief? We don't know what to tell her.

My doctor tells me to stay active and get back to work despite back pain rated as an eight out of 10 on a scale from zero (no pain) to 10 (worst). How can I really do this when I'm in so much pain?

I've accepted the fact that I have chronic low back pain. When I went to see the doctor for this last bout of back pain the report listed "subacute chronic back pain." What does this new label mean?

I just came back from the physical therapist's office. I'm being treated for low back pain that started about three weeks ago. No one seems to know what's causing the problem. How can they treat me if they don't know what's really wrong?

I'm very distressed because my mother is in the hospital for back surgery. She seems to be in a lot of pain but the nurses won't give her anything more for it. They don't seem to really believe Mom. What can we do?

I had an L45 lumbar fusion two years ago. Everything was going fine but now the tests show the segment above is starting to fall apart. How often does this happen?

I had one of those new PLIF surgeries for my low back. I guess it's some kind of fusion. I'm doing fine but the X-ray showed that one of the screws is starting to back out. Will this affect my recovery?

My doctor keeps telling me to exercise but I'm afraid it will just increase my low back pain. How should I get started?

Can you tell me more about cognitive behavioral therapy? I went to the Mayo Clinic for evaluation of my chronic low back pain. The team strongly recommended CBT treatment. What is it exactly?

I hurt my back in an on-the-job accident. The company doctor gave me some muscle relaxants and a prescription for rest for a week. I'd really like a step-by-step list of what to do when. Is that available anywhere?

I'm going to be seeing a physical therapist later this week for a recent bout with low back pain. What should I expect?

My mother fell and hurt her back last week. We're trying to convince her to see her physical therapist sooner than later. She insists that if it isn't better in a month, then she'll go. Is there any proof that early treatment is better than the wait-and-see approach?

What is the lumbosacral radicular syndrome? My brother emailed me that he's having surgery for this problem. What are the chances he'll recover?

I just started going to a pain clinic for chronic low back pain. The first day I took a test called the Pain Self-Efficacy Questionnaire or PSEQ. What does this tell them about me?

I'm going to have a discectomy at L34 in two days. As part of the postop instructions I was told to get back to work and daily activities as soon as possible. The handout says to follow my doctor's advice. What do most doctors tell their patients?

Ten years ago I had a disc removed along with the bone on one side of the disc. Now my 34-year old son is having a disc taken out. They aren't going to take any bone out. Will he really get the help he needs without this extra step?

Am I too old to get a disc replacement? I'm 65 years "young".

I've had cancer that metastasized to the spine. With radiation, they were able to stop the spread and even reverse some of the bone growth. At the same time, my L45 lumbar spine collapsed because of the effect of radiation on my disc at that level. Could I get one of these new disc replacements that are out?

Last month I had a lumbar discectomy. My back and leg pain were so much better I could have gone home right away. Instead I was in the hospital for 48 hours. I could have saved a lot of money if I left sooner. Can this be done on an outpatient basis?

I'm scheduled to have a discectomy as an outpatient next week. I'll be in and out of the hospital in less than 24 hours. Is this really a good idea? What if something goes wrong?

I'm thinking about having a disc replacement at my L34 spine. How safe are these things?

I'm looking into the possibility of having a disc replacement. I have two degenerative discs with lots of pain that never goes away. What happens if the disc doesn't work or wears out?

I ruptured a disc just by sneezing. There was no warning at all. I never had a day's worth of back pain until this happened. How do you explain this?

What is disc degenerative disease? That's what the diagnosis is but I'm only 38-years old. Is that possible?

I've had chronic low back pain for years. My family is always trying to get me to have some surgery to help the problem. I really don't want a spinal fusion. What else is there?

I've had an MRI that shows the inner core of my disc at L34 is starting to leak. My doctor mentioned a disc replacement if conservative treatment doesn't work. Can't I just get a patch or something to stop the leak? What about some kind of injection?

I am the director of a large clinic specializing in the treatment of back pain. I know that the evidence shows that using published clinical practice guidelines for acute low back pain (LBP) gets better patient results. How can I get my staff to follow these more often?

Sometimes I see reports on healthcare saying that patient satisfaction was improved. Just what is patient satisfaction? Doesn't it change from person to person?

After a year of daily back and leg pain, I'm ready to do anything that might help. What do you think of these steroid injections people get?

I had spinal surgery to fuse L45 six months ago. My surgeon says I had a perfect result. How can that be when my pain level is only slightly better? What's so perfect about that?

I just got the results back from tests done after a failed spinal surgery to fuse my lumbar spine. The report says that no definitive diagnosis could be made. The surgeon explained this by saying the results of testing did not match my symptoms. What's really going on here?

I'm 57-years old and falling apart. I've already had shoulder and knee surgeries and now I find out I have spinal stenosis in my low back. Is this an age-related problem, too?

My 72-year old mother has lumbar spinal stenosis. She's really not up for any kind of surgery. Is there any other way to treat this problem? She's in an awful lot of pain most days.

I've been taking Darvon for about three months for a chronic back pain problem. So far I'm getting good pain relief and no bad effects. I've been warned about the downward spiral of these drugs. Just what does that refer to?

I've had a couple of episodes of low back pain lasting several weeks to a month. My doctor did an MRI that showed degenerative disc disease at L345. My job involves some lifting. Am I more likely to hurt myself big-time because of this disc problem?

I work as a medical transcriptionist for a physician. I notice there are many people who come in with back pain who have no injury, accident, or trauma. How is it possible to get back pain without doing anything to yourself?

I am strongly left-handed and play amateur tennis in local, regional, and state tournaments. I often wonder if I shouldn't practice playing with my right hand just to stay evened out. Is there any research on this topic?

I see so many people with low back pain who can't exercise. Some can hardly get around at work. I really like participating in sports of all kinds. With my limited schedule, is it more important to work on strength or flexibility?

I just had my six-month check up after getting a new lumbar disc replacement. I feel great: no pain after three years of constant pain. But the X-ray shows ossification around the implant. Will this eventually cause me some problems?

My wife is going to a special clinic to get help for her low back pain. She's been going for six months now. I can't really see that it's helping. How can we tell if the treatment is really working or not?

I went to a special spine center for help with my chronic low back pain. I had to take three written tests that took over an hour to complete. My back was killing me after sitting that long. I found out later the tests were checking to see if I am depressed or not. Why didn't they just ask me? I could have told them straight out -- yes, I am depressed!

Well, I've tried everything to get rid of my sciatica -- and I mean everything. Massage, acupuncture, stretching, exercise, yoga, and more. I even quit smoking and tried hypnosis. Nothing worked. I'm ready to have the doc just cut the herniated disc out. What does this kind of surgery involve?

I had my shoulder shrink wrapped with heat using radiofrequency about five years ago. The surgeon has suggested trying radiofrequency to relieve my sciatica. Does this treatment shrink the nerve or what?

About six months ago, I started having low back pain. No one knows what caused it. I saw a physical therapist and that was helpful. But I still have back pain. I went to see a different therapist this time. I thought he might do what the first therapist did to help me. This time the program is very different. Should I go back to my original therapist?

What is Cauda Equina Syndrome? My sister just called and said her husband is having emergency surgery for this problem.

Two months ago, I had emergency surgery for a herniated disc. My legs had gone numb and I couldn't control my bladder. I'm slowly improving. How long will it take to get back to normal?

Ten years ago, I looked into having a disc replacement in my low back. The operation was still too new at that time, so I didn't do it. I'm still having back problems from degenerative disc disease. Is it safe now to get a disc replacement?

My husband had a disc replacement in his low back two weeks ago. The surgeon wants him to continue with physical therapy, but he doesn't like to exercise. Will it really make a difference if he quits now?

I've been taking oxycodone for low back pain for six months now. My pain is not better but it's not worse. The doctor wants to wean me off the drug because it's not helping. I think they are helping. How can I convince my doctor to let me stay on this drug?

My doctor has suggested I see a psychologist to help me manage my chronic low back pain. The problem is that my insurance company won't pay for it. I can't afford it on my own. What else can I do?

I saw a report that psychological care for patients with chronic low back pain works. I fall into this category. I'm ready to try just about anything. What kind of psychological treatment do I need?

My 77-year old Nana was just diagnosed with spinal stenosis. What happens to people with this condition?

I am a retired nurse with a new health problem: spinal stenosis. My doctor suggested a steroid injection. But I don't see how this will help. I don't have inflammation, just a too-small spinal opening around the spinal nerves. What's the rationale for this treatment?

My wife has sciatic pain frequently from a back injury many years ago. Someone else I know has sciatica but doesn't feel much pain at all. What are the symptoms of sciatica and how common is it?

I've been trying to help my father get on a better exercise program. He has back and leg pain from stenosis so anything he does seems to aggravate it. I'm concerned that the more inactive he becomes, the worse his general health will be. What can you suggest?

Have you ever heard of an X-stopper for spinal stenosis. My father called and said he's having surgery Monday to put an X-stopper in his spine. I went on-line but couldn't find anything to explain this.

My wife is going to have a new procedure called X Stop for spinal stenosis. I'm planning to take off work to help take care of her afterwards. What should I expect?

I've been having back pain off and on for the last two months. Just in the last two weeks, it's starting to go into my buttock and down my left leg. How long should I wait to see if it might clear up on its own?

I just came from seeing the physician's assistant at our local clinic. I've been having trouble with low back pain for the last six months, and they can't figure out where it's coming from. He asked me a lot of questions about being depressed. Does this mean he thinks it's all in my head or just an emotional problem? I'm not getting anywhere with this problem.

What is a fenestration operation? My father says this is what he's having for his back problems. I think he has a herniated disc.

I've had back pain now for six months. It's time to do something and get out of this fix. Where do I start?

I'm finding more and more that my activities are limited by back pain. My family tell me to just push through the pain and do whatever I want anyway. Is this good advice? I'm afraid I'm just going to make myself worse.

It used to be that if you had back pain, the doctor would tell you to stay in bed until you felt better. But I'm seeing more and more that people are not being kept in bed. Why is that?

I had a herniated disc removed at L45. The pathology report says it was a grade III specimen with crystal deposition. What does this mean exactly?

My mother and father lived into their 90s with very few health problems. I'm only 66 but already I'm having back pain that's been diagnosed as spinal stenosis. Since no one else in the family has this problem, how come I do?

I should have had surgery six months ago for a herniated disc that's pressing on my sciatic nerve. Now the symptoms are much worse. Is it too late to have the disc removed now?

I have got to do something about this sciatica I'm having. Pain relievers don't do anything. I've even tried narcotics. It's driving me crazy. If I ask for surgery, what would they do? I don't really want them cutting on my leg.

My doctor has told me that I can put off having surgery for a herniated disc but how long should I wait? How can I tell when to do it?

What's the best way to treat spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis? My 80-year old father has both conditions and we are trying to figure out how to help him.

I've been told that surgery might help me with my severe back and leg pain from stenosis caused by spondylolisthesis. Just what kind of surgery are we talking about?

My doctor wants me to have diagnostic facet blocks for my back pain. How will this help?

How can I know if facet joints are causing my back pain?

I'm 42-years old and a third grade teacher in an elementary school. I've had two back surgeries that didn't work. Now I have seriously severe back and leg pain. I may have to give up my job and go on disability so I've started looking into having one of those spinal stimulators put in. Everything I read says there are some device-related complications. What does this refer to?

I signed up for a study using a nerve stimulator inside my spinal cord. It's supposed to help reduce my back and leg pain by as much as 50 per cent. The brochure says some people aren't eligible for this treatment. How do they decide who is and who isn't eligible?

I run a small manufacturing plant that employs 25 people. Whenever someone is out due to back pain, we try to get them back to work as soon as possible. But I'm afraid I may be expecting too much. Should I push my employees to work through their pain? Or am I setting them up for further injury?

I've heard that once a person has back pain, he or she will always have back pain. Is there any truth to this idea?

My psychologist says I have chronic back pain because I'm so stressed. I maintain that I'm stressed because I have constant back pain. Which is it?

I was evaluated by a team of specialists for my low back pain. I must have taken six different pencil and paper tests. Does this hurt? How do I feel when this or that hurts? Does my pain get me down? Does it keep me from sleeping at night and on and on. Can't they just give us one test to cover everything?

I've had sciatica for six months now. It just never seems to go away no matter what I try. I saw a surgeon but he couldn't guarantee the operation would work. Why is it so hard to tell if surgery would be helpful?

I had a lumbar discectomy eight months ago for terrible sciatica. Unfortunately, I still have the pain. It is better, but not by much. Should I have a second surgery? It seems like the only option left open to me.

I was told my back pain is caused by pars defects at two levels in my low back. What are my options for treatment?

I was told that after my back surgery to repair pars defects I would have to wear a corset. Is that really important?

What are some of the complications that could occur if I decide to go ahead with a spinal fusion?

Shouldn't X-rays be taken for people with severe low back pain? I can hardly move around, yet my doctor says stay active. I was told X-rays were not needed at this time. What gives?

What's the best treatment for low back pain? I have back pain that hasn't gone away after two months. I've tried rest, medications, and exercise. Has anything been proven most effective for everyone?

I went on-line to see what I could find about self-care for low back pain. Several sites mention the use of extension exercises for centralization. What is centralization? I'm not familiar with this term.

I'm going to have an artificial disc replacement at L45. The X-ray shows some degeneration at L3. Will my new disc help slow down the wear and tear in the rest of the spine?

My back surgeon tells me with a new artificial disc, I'll have enough motion that I can golf again. Right now, I can move okay. I'm just very slow because of the pain. Can this operation really restore my fast and easy golf swing?

I've heard mixed reports about whether or not chiropractic care works for back pain. Every time I go, I seem to get relief. Does it work or am I just seeing the results of wishful thinking?

I'm really concerned that my wife's back pain could be something serious. She refuses to see a doctor. Is there anything you can tell me that would help me judge whether or not this is more than just an ongoing back ache?

I might qualify to be in a study of patients with chronic back pain from degenerative disc disease. If so, I could get a disc replacement. What are the possible risks of this surgery?

I've heard that even older adults can qualify for a disc replacement. I have severe degenerative disc disease. I'd be willing to try anything to get some relief from my pain. How do I find out more about this?

I'm wondering if I might qualify for one of those new artificial disc replacements. I have had a previous discectomy but it's at a different level than my current back problems. Will the fact that I've already had one surgery keep me from having a second?

My back pain has not gotten better as expected after three months. My provider is asking that I see a psychologist. Does that mean he thinks it is all in my head?

I have heard that chiropractic treatment is quakery but yet know of several people who have found it helpful.

How do studies on low back pain in the United States compare with studies in other countries?

My surgeon suggests that I have a microdiscectomy at L5-S1 because of an extruded disc which is causing significant leg pain and weakness. My job requires significant physical demands. Will I be able to return to my job?

Is it true that smoking can affect the outcome of my microdiscectomy surgery?

When my back pain was more acute, an epidural spinal injection provided some relief. Now that my back pain is more chronic, is it reasonable to assume that it could help again?

Is there a specific injection that could be more beneficial for chronic low back pain?

Could a TENs stimulator help my chronic low back pain?

It was suggested that I give physical therapy another try for my chronic low back pain. The heat, ultrasound and electrical stimulation was helpful initially but then seemed to decrease in the relief they provided. Could physical therapy really be helpful at this point?

Is it helpful to continue taking muscle relaxers for my chronic low back pain?

My doctor has suggested I try lidoderm patches for my chronic low back pain. I understand that this use is off-label so is it safe to use?

Would surgery relieve my chronic low back pain?

Why is my doctor sending me to a psychologist for my chronic low back pain?

I have benefited from trigger point injections in the past. Is it worth having them repeated for my chronic low back pain?

Is botulinum toxin used for chronic low back pain?

I watch an exercise show on TV everyday and try to do the exercises with them. Sometimes they use a Swiss ball. Those exercises look more difficult so I haven't tried them. Is there any real advantage to doing the ball exercises? Am I missing out something important here?

My uncle complains about his back hurting but he never does anything about it. What are some simple things I can suggest to help him?

Can you tell me what degenerative disc disease is? My mother just called and said this is what she's been diagnosed with. Is this a learn-to-live-with-it kind of condition? Or can something be done to ease her pain?

About five years ago, I had a spinal fusion at L45. Now I'm having disc problems at the L34 level. I've heard there's a new heat treatment I could try instead of surgery. How do I find out more about this?

I had two steroid injections into my spine as a trial treatment for arthritis of the spinal joints. It didn't seem to have any effect at all. What else can I try?

Do they ever do those slippery injections for the spine? I had three on my knee and they worked like a charm. I've got arthritis in my back and thought maybe the same treatment might help.

I'm going to have a heat treatment to a bad disc in my back. It's supposed to be a stop-gap measure before surgery. What should I expect after the procedure?

Years ago I had traction therapy for a bad back. It really seemed to help. But the last two places I went didn't have traction at all. Isn't this treatment used any more?

I see a sign outside a local clinic advertising the new VAX-D treatment for low back pain. What is this? I have low back pain off and on. Could this help me?

I'm starting to slip into a deep funk. A back injury years ago is acting up and causing pain everyday now. I'm not sleeping well. I can't exercise or golf like I used to. I've got to get this turned around. What can I do?

I've been struggling with low back pain off and on now for three years. I think I'm doing better but it seems like there's always some new program or new drug to try. Is it better to stick with one thing that seems to be working? Or should I just try everything all at one time and hope for the best?

I've had back pain for so long, my friends and family are telling me to deal with it and get on with my life. I'd like to, but I honestly don't know how. How do other people cope with this problem?

I just received a prescription for an antidepressant to treat my back and leg pain. What's the rationale for this kind of treatment? How is an antidepressant going to take away my leg pain?

I'm being tested next week for a radicular versus pseudoradicular cause of my back and leg pain. What's the difference?

I've seen some information that says there are certain yellow flags doctors look for in back pain patients. What does this refer to?

I've heard that smoking is the cause of low back pain in smokers. What's the link here?

I had three lumbar vertebrae fused about two years ago. My pain level has gradually increased since that time. The doctor wants to do X-rays to see if there is any breakdown at the next level. Do these changes occur above or below where the fusion is located?

Is there any way to determine nerve problems from my low back other than having a nerve conduction study?

I am having pain down my leg to my knee. Is it possible that I have a pinched nerve?

I often get painful sciatica. My neighbor tells me that it's my back that is causing the pain, even though the pain is in my backside, hip and the back of my leg. Is she right?

I've been having a nagging backache for weeks now. I finally went to see my doctor. She suggested I try a couple of sessions with a physical therapist. The therapist just did a little pressing on my spine and I was much better right away. Was this just a psychosomatic response -- I wanted to get better so anything would have worked?

No one can seem to find out what's causing my low back pain. I've seen three specialists so far. No one has spent more than 20 minutes with me to even find out what's wrong. Does this seem right to you?

Have you ever heard of rescue medication? My older sister says this is what the nurse practitioner gave her for her chronic back pain. My sis seems to think this might work for her. What is it?

My doctor has suggested I try some cognitive-behavioral counseling for my chronic low back pain. I'm sure I have something wrong with my spine. How is this going to help me?

I am having ongoing problems with my low back. My medical doctor and my chiropractor have both suggested exercise as a way to break through the pain-spasm cycle that I'm in. I tried it for a little while, but it didn't seem to help. What should I do next?

I had part of a disc removed at L3,4 six months ago. Now I need a second operation to remove more of the disc material at the same level. Does this happen very often? I'm most unhappy about it.

My husband just came out of surgery for a herniated disc. The surgeon did a discectomy and said the nerve was pulsing beautifully before they finished the operation. What does that mean?

I work in a moderate-size spinal disorders clinic. We are trying to find a quick and easy survey tool that can be used to measure before and after results with our patients. What are other clinics using? Can you recommend anything to help us get started?

I've had chronic sacroiliac pain since the birth of my first child. X-rays didn't show anything but a CT scan shows significant degenerative arthritis in that area. What is it that shows up on a CT scan in this area that you can't see on an X-ray?

I had a lumbar fusion at L5S1 and ended up with problems in the sacroiliac joint on both sides. My low back pain is better but now I have SI pain. Is this a typical response after surgery?

Our 78-year old mother is terribly disabled with pain from spinal stenosis. She wants to have surgery to remove some of the bone pressing on the nerves. But she also has hypertension, a thyroid problem, and a past history of cancer. Is it really safe for her to have major surgery of this kind?

I'm thinking about having surgery to relieve my back pain from spinal stenosis. Besides the usual risk of infection and blood clots from any surgery, is there any reason NOT to have this operation?

When I hurt my back, my doctor at the time told me one thing about how long it would take to get better and then a later doctor told me another. It seems that neither was right and I still have chronic back pain. Why the different opinions?

Will there come a time when doctors can properly diagnose lower back pain? I'm so fed up with the tests and no answers.

Why is pain sometimes referred - in other words, if my back is injured, why do I feel pain in my thigh?

I've always had friends and family members with back pain but I prided myself in never having that problem. Well, guess what? I'm 55-years-old, newly retired, and down with a bad back. What's the best way to get back to normal?

My grandfather used to complain of "lumbago," which I understand is just low back pain. I remember my father having low back pain off and on his whole life. Neither one of them had found much that made them feel better. How do they treat back pain these days?

I've been having some back pain the doctor thinks is disc related. I was told to keep active and exercise. Nothing I do seems to hurt until much later. How can I figure out what makes it worse and avoid those exercises?

My 22-year old nephew just had surgery for a disc problem. He doesn't even have a job lifting or carrying heavy objects. How can he have a herniated disc at his age?

What exactly is a limbus fracture?

Is there a way to help lumbar fusion surgery heal faster?

Does tissue engineering show any potential for use in spine surgery?

Dad is a veteran of the Vietnam War. He receives excellent services from the VA in our area. In fact, we're concerned that maybe he's getting too much help. For his chronic back pain, he's on powerful pain relievers AND getting steroid injections. Is this all really needed?

My mother hurt her back lifting tray tables at a restaurant where she was a waitress. She's been in constant pain ever since. The medical community says they can't do anything more for her. I think if she would just try moving a little more, she could get over this. What can we do as a family to help her?

I work in a small factory where back pain seems to be the norm. I notice some people hurt their back and get right back to work. Others linger and finally end up on disability. Why do some people get better and others don't?

I have had back pain for two years now -- ever since I fell down a flight of stairs. I notice on the nights that I don't sleep well, my pain is much worse the next day. It seems like this makes sense but what is really going on? How does sleep (or lack of sleep) affect pain?

Is it OK to drive after selective nerve root block in my lumbar spine?

My ability to brake reflexively is different since having a selective nerve root block done a week ago. When should I notice improvement?

I had a lumbar fusion 10 years ago. My doctor says that I have adjacent segment disease. What does that mean.

How are results of lumbar fusion, and lumbar total disc replacement comparing?

Is it possible to have total disc replacement following lumbar discectomy?

What are the benefits of lumbar total disc replacement rather than a fusion?

Since people with rheumatoid arthrosis are prone to having involvement in the cervical spine, is it possible to have involvment in the lumbar spine?

After having a spinal injury from an auto accident, my doctor wants to do fusion on my spine from the front and the back. Is this common?

Ten years ago, I blew a disc at L34. The doctor advised me to wait it out rather than have surgery. Eventually the pain went away and I healed up. Now I'm facing another disc herniation at L45. This time, I've been told to have the surgery right away. Should I be worried that something is drastically wrong?

Every magazine I read has the answer to low back pain. Usually, it's some kind of exercise program. But it's never the same set of exercises. Isn't there a one-exercise-fits-all kind of program for back pain?

I'm looking into the possibility of having a disc replacement at L45. I know there are two basic implants available. Is there any great advantage of one over the other?

I had a total disc replacement six months ago. I'm very pleased with the results. I can move pain free again. However, I'm concerned because my first set of X-rays showed everything was fine. On my latest X-rays, the disc height is less at the place where the implant is located. Is this serious? What could cause it?

Whenever I browse health magazines, it seems like there's always so much about back pain. I've never known anyone to die from back pain. What's all the fuss about?

I've been nursing a bad back for quite some time. My doctor has prescribed a muscle relaxant but I'm sticking with Tylenol and trying to tough it out. What causes these flare-ups I'm having? I'll be going along doing fine and then bam! I have a day or week of extreme pain again.

I'm wondering about the treatment I received for low back pain this week. In the past, when my back flared up, I would see my physical therapist and get a massage and some heat. Now that's all gone by the wayside. Everything is exercise-based. Is there any proof that one works better than the other?

I keep hearing that the cost of caring for people with low back pain is skyrocketing. Where's all the money going?

We are faced with a dilemma I hope you can help us figure out. Our 16-year-old son hurt his back during last season's track and field events. A CT scan shows he fractured the apophyseal ring in the L45 segment. He's still having quite a bit of pain. Would surgery to remove the damaged disc and broken fragments be helpful?

I'm going to have a spinal fusion at L45 for a spondylolisthesis that is unstable. The surgeon will probably use bone taken from my hip and screws to hold everything together until it heals. Would it be possible to just use the screws without the bone fusion? I have heard a lot about how bad the donor site can be.

I might have a chance to be part of a group that gets surgery to insert a Dynesys screw to hold my lumbar spine in place. The surgeon would use this system to keep my spondylolisthesis from getting worse. What can I expect for results from this operation?

I am a physical therapy student getting ready to put on an in-service for the clinic where I am training. I've chosen to do a case presentation on low back pain with radiculopathy. I'm finding many opinions about the use of the straight-leg raise test for patients with back pain. No one seems to agree on the best way to do this test. What can you tell me?

I saw an orthopedic surgeon for back and leg pain I just started having. Without even an X-ray or MRI, I was diagnosed with a probable herniated disc and put on medications. I'm supposed to see a physical therapist, too. Should I get a second opinion?

What is the one thing a golfer can do to prevent low back pain?

Some of my friends advocate for the modern versus the classic style of golf swing? Is there really that much of a difference?

Should I expect to have disc degeneration as I age?

Whatever happened to the idea that bedrest can help with back pain? When my back hurts, I just want to lay on the couch. But my doctor and physical therapist both gang up on me and insist I stay active, exercise, and show up for work everyday. Is that really sound advice?

When it comes to shopping for medical advice and health care, it seems like my generation (I'm a Baby Boomer) wants to run the show. At the same time, I always feel like the physicians refuse to give up the idea that they are God. Their way is the only way. Do you expect this to change anytime soon?

What is a cauda equina problem?

Our 32-year-old daughter is pregnant on bedrest because of a bulging disc. There is some concern that if she doesn't have surgery to remove the disc, she could end up paralyzed. Is it really safe to do this type of operation on a pregnant woman?

On the basis of a few questions he asked me, my doctor thinks I should see a counselor to help me deal with my back pain and depression. He thinks the two are linked together and the only way I can lick one is to work on both areas at the same time. I don't see the connection myself. Is there any way to research this on my own?

I'm totally freaked out. My whole family has chronic back pain. Up until now, I've been the only one without it -- and I want to keep it that way. But last night, I was shoveling snow and felt my back go out on me. Am I doomed to be like the rest of my family members who can't do anything fun because their backs always hurt (or might hurt)?

My husband hurt his back a while ago. The doctor assured us it would resolve itself in a couple of weeks. Well it didn't, and now he's depressed and withdrawn, losing sleep, and may lose his job over it. What do we do now?

Despite hundreds of dollars in medical tests, they still don't know what's wrong with my low back. The X-rays show signs of moderate osteoarthritis in the lumbar spine. But the doc doesn't think that's what's causing the problem. I'm really frustrated. What do you recommend?

I am an old-timer in the health care field. I keep hearing about the new ICF model for treating patients. At first, I didn't pay much attention, but now it seems like it's in every journal I read. What can you tell me about it?

I am a physical therapist in an outpatient setting (a spine clinic). I went to a series of physical therapy meetings where they talked about using the ICF model now instead of the Nagi model. I am only familiar with the old model. How does this new model work with the kind of patients I see everyday?

I have a bad back and have had it for several years. My doctor asked me if I wanted to take part in a study that looked at exercise to help improve the back. I backed out because every time I went for an exam, I had to spend a long time filling out forms, questionnaires and answering questions that were constantly repeated. After all, how many times can I say that my back hurts and it hurts all the time? What is the purpose of all these questions?

I had two epidural steroid injections for back pain with no effect whatsoever. Should I even bother considering a third? Some say the third time's the charm.

I've been going to classes at a pain clinic to help me deal with chronic pain from surgery I had years ago. After listening to all the lectures, I'm wondering if maybe what I really need is something like a novacaine injection to the sciatic nerve. Someone else in the class had that and it worked great. Would it work for me?

Mother had a steroid injection for back pain that was coming from spinal stenosis. She got a lot of pain relief. I have a herniated disc and back pain from that. Would an injection like that help me?

I've been diagnosed with piriformis syndrome. I understand there isn't a good way to know for sure if that's what I really have (no tests outside of my symptoms). I also know if physical therapy doesn't help that I might be able to have an injection. What does the injection do and what are the side effects?

I'm going to have a lumbar fusion at the L45 level. Will I need to wear a brace afterwards? What kind and for how long?

My doctor and my physical therapist agree that my back and leg pain are really coming from my sacroiliac (SI) joint. How is that really possible? Shouldn't the pain be right over my SI?

I'm having some low back pain that's off to the right of center. No one seems sure just what's causing it. One person thinks it's the lumbar vertebrae, another says it's coming from the sacroiliac joint. Is it always this difficult to tell what's going on?

I'm very proud of myself because I have made the decision to have an artificial disc replacement for a damaged disc at the L45 level. Now that I'm ready to take this step, I'm asking myself what I hope to get out of the surgery. Pain relief is number one. What do other people look for to say it was or wasn't a success?

Two years ago, I considered having a disc replacement. There just wasn't enough evidence to satisfy me that these new implants were really the way to go. I had a fusion instead. I keep wondering if I made the right decision. What's the status of this new treatment now?

I dropped out of college after two semesters because I could tell I just wasn't cut out for Wall Street. I'm perfectly happy working in a big box store waiting on customers and stocking shelves. All the other workers assure me that sooner or later I'll hurt my back. If that really happens, would I be out of work? If that's the case, then maybe I should go back to school and finish my business degree.

My insurance company won't pay for treatment I had for back pain because I had used up all my services for that episode. I maintain that this was a new episode and the clock should start over. Can you help me with this?

I had a series of bad days with low back pain -- couldn't walk, couldn't work, could hardly get out of bed. I was so glad when that cleared up, I vowed I would do whatever it takes to keep from going through that again. Before I could turn around, it hit me again. My orthopedic surgeon thinks I never really recovered from the first episode. How can they tell that?

I am a newly hired middle manager for a large manufacturing company. I'm facing my first compensation claim by a blue-collar worker who has hired a lawyer. Everyone tells me once a lawyer is involved, we'll never see that worker back on-the-job. Is there any truth to that idea?

I'm very excited that when I have the disc removed in my low back next week, there will be the tiniest scar. I can even have the area tattooed to cover it up. The surgeon was very clear that this is a better way to do things. Why isn't everyone doing surgery this way?

After I had a disc replacement in my lumbar spine, I found out they are making replacements just for the inner portion of the disc. That's probably what I really needed. How far are we from having that technology ready?

I have several lumbar discs that are causing me problems. Eventually they will have to come out or I'll need a spinal fusion. I'm anxious for the new central disc replacements to be perfected. That way, maybe I can escape the bad results my father had with his fusion operation. The surgeon told me this isn't really ready for general use -- too many complications. What kind of problems are they encountering?

I'm very excited because my doctor showed me a device called an X-stop that could help my mother. She has spinal stenosis so bad, she is always bent forward and can no longer stand up straight because of intense pain. Are these safe for 80-year-old women?

I am a piano teacher with scoliosis. I sit for long hours each day. By the end of the day, I am more twisted than ever and suffer a lot of pain. I don't want major surgery with long rods to hold my spine straight. But I was looking through the magazines in the orthopedic surgeon's office. I saw a little metal plunger unit that is supposed to hold two of the spine bones together without doing a fusion procedure. Could they use something like this for me?

I saw a short videotape at the surgeon's office about spinal fusion using a tiny incision from the side of the person. The idea is to avoid cutting into the back muscles to get to the bones of the spine. Can you tell me how this method compares to the regular way of doing the surgery?

I've been told that in California, they have the latest and best ways to do spinal fusions. I heard there's only a tiny incision and I can go home in a day or two. I live in Washington state but would be willing to travel there if that's true. What can you tell me about this new operation?

I'm a 54-year-old woman off work for a work-related back injury. After eight weeks, my back pain still isn't any better. I feel like I might as well be at work. Is there any study that says I'll just make it worse if I go back? Or any reason why I shouldn't return to work?

I notice at work more than half the people have taken time off because of back pain. So far, it hasn't struck me. If it ever happens, is there some way to cut the sick leave short and get back to work? Maybe I shouldn't think like this, but I do like to be prepared.

My physician has written me a prescription for aquatic therapy. She thinks this could really help keep me in good condition despite the chronic low back pain I'm struggling with. To be honest, I'm really afraid of the water. Will it really help if I'm panicking?

I used to be a cracker jack swimmer "back in the day" as they say now. But for the last two years, I've had constant back pain from an old injury. I've been faithfully doing my exercises at home but always thinking I might just get back in the water and skip all this core training. What do the experts advise?

My wife was just diagnosed with spinal stenosis after a long period of back pain that was just getting worse and worse. I'm really concerned because I've never seen her like this. The doctor doesn't seem in a big hurry to do anything more than send her to a physical therapist. Should we be pushing for surgery?

My doctor says I have spinal stenosis. She saw this on the X-rays and my symptoms match what she says is typical for this problem. Now she wants to send me for a CT scan and an MRI. Do I really need all these extra steps? Seems like an unnecessary expense. Is it?

I read the orthopedic physician's assistant's report on me after I went in for sciatica down my leg. There was mention of the flip test being negative. Could you tell me what this test is for?

When I had sciatica back a few years ago, I remember one of the tests they always did was to raise my leg off the table while I was lying down and see if that caused my pain. This time when I went in to see the doctor, they also did the test with me sitting up. There was no pain in the sitting position, but it did hurt lying down. What does that mean?

Can you tell me what it means to have nociceptive back pain? And what is allodynia? Both of these words are in a medical report about my college-aged son. He doesn't seem to remember what the doctor said about why he's having back pain. We're trying to get some answers and explanations before calling the doctor directly.

I have a herniated disc that is causing me a lot of back and leg pain. When I saw the orthopedic doctor, she said something about the back pain being separate from the leg pain. I got the impression that if I have the disc removed, it will probably help my leg pain but won't do anything for the back pain. Why not?

I'm training to be a case manager for our State Workers' Compensation program. I've had years of experience treating these patients, now I'm switching hats and sitting on the other side of the table. I'll be working primarily with back pain cases. My reading so far of the research available suggests that Workers' Compensation patients don't really respond to treatment the same way as other nonWorkers' Compensation patients. Is that true? And what are the reasons for this?

I'm out of work on Workers' Comp for a back injury. I have two choices: rehab for six weeks or surgery and then rehab. I'm very eager to get back to a project I've been working on for two years. I really don't have the luxury of six weeks off. My dilemma is if rehab doesn't work, then surgery is the next step. Should I save time and just cut to the surgery step?

The surgeon I went to for evaluation of my L45 spondylolisthesis invited me to attend a meeting where other surgeons would be discussing the kinds of surgeries done for this problem. Most of it was understandable but when they started talking about ALIFs, PLIFs, and TLIFs, I confess I got lost and tuned out. Now I'm looking back at my notes and thinking if you could explain these terms to me, then I might be able to understand what was said about my case in particular.

My 23-year-old daughter has just been diagnosed with a low-grade spondylolisthesis. I saw the X-rays so I understand this is a slippage of the 5th lumbar vertebra forward over the sacrum below it. But what does low-grade mean? And what are her chances for recovery?

I had an injection in my low back that was supposed to numb one of the tiny nerves to my L5 spinal joint. I did get almost complete pain relief but it didn't last more than two weeks. Should I go back and do it again? Would the results last longer with a second treatment? It was so nice being able to walk again and go about my business pain free.

My brother had nerve blocks for back pain that seemed to work great. I have back pain from spinal stenosis. Would something like that help me?

I keep hearing that there is help for people with chronic low back pain. What about folks like me who just don't seem to get better no matter what I've tried?

My mom wants me to see a doctor for my chronic low back pain. It's been aggravating me ever since I had my second child. But I don't want drugs and I don't want surgery, so what's the point?

I was searching the Internet for any information I could find on these new X-stop devices used for spinal stenosis. My surgeon is strongly suggesting I consider having one of these put in at the L4-L5 level. I found reference to the sandwich phenomenon as new complication of this operation. What is this?

I know I should see my neurosurgeon about this, but before I do, I thought I'd just ask what you think about my situation. Six months ago, I had two X-stops put in my lumbar spine. Everything went well and I've been doing fine until this week. Then suddenly, I started having back pain again. It doesn't go down my leg like it did before, so I'm hoping it's nothing. Should I be worried?

We are on our way to a large children's hospital where our 14-year-old daughter can be evaluated for a transverse sacral fracture she got in a horse back riding accident yesterday. Our local hospital just isn't equipped to operate on this type of injury. They weren't even sure surgery was needed. How do surgeons decide if and when surgery is needed for cases like this?

I have a pinched nerve in my sacral area. I got it when I was riding in the car for 13 hours on the way to visit my son and his family. The surgeon wants to treat it with an epidural steroid injection. They call the procedure an ESI. The operation was explained to me but I can't help wondering if they can really get a needle in that small area. I confess I'm about 200 pounds overweight. Won't the fat get in the way?

Dad had an epidural steroid injection into his sacral spine for a pinched nerve. The surgeon told us that he was unable to get the injection into the right spot so he wasn't sure it would work. Where does the drug go when it's injected into the wrong spot?

I saw a specialist today for my chronic low back pain (I've had it for six years now). Because I've been treated at a chronic pain clinic with little change in my pain, they are suggesting I consider surgery. The surgeon will remove the two discs that are causing the problem and then fuse the spine there. But one of the surgeons warned me that I might have waited too long and the procedure may not eliminate the pain. Why is that? I thought the body was very adaptable and able to heal if given half a chance.

Okay, so I'm all checked in for surgery in two-days for a lumbar fusion. I've read all the pre-op materials and I'm getting nervous. There's a whole page just on possible complications. I remember the surgeon mentioning something about this operation putting more pressure on the spine above the fusion and how that could cause another disc to go. Should I really have this surgery if it's just going to cause more problems than I'm solving?

I'm looking into having lumbar fusion at the L45 level for degenerative disc disease. Are there any good ways to tell if I'm really going to be helped by this procedure? I know people who have back surgery and they never seem to get better.

Everyone in my family (and I do mean every one) has had disc problems. I'm the youngest now (I'm 44 years old). Is there anything I can do to prevent becoming next in line for this problem?

I turned over in bed and blew a disc in my low back. My husband says that's not really possible but that IS what happened to me. Can you explain this?

My husband has cysts in his back. The doctor called the synovial cysts. How does someone get cysts in their back?

Last year, I had a spinal fusion at L45. The surgeon avoided using bone harvested from my hip by mixing a bone-growth protein with bone taken from the spine. I heard on a radio report that someone else had this same procedure and ended up with a bone tumor. Is this something I need to be concerned about?

I have a special problem. I need a spinal fusion for chronic back pain but I can't donate my own bone for the graft because I'm osteoporotic. The surgeon has suggested two possible alternatives: one is using bone from a bone bank. The other is a bone substitute product. Which one is safer and works better?

I hurt my back at work six weeks ago and I'm still hobbling around. My wife wants me to give it a little more time before going back to work. Mentally, I'm ready and my job does keep me moving around, which seems to help. What do you think?

My brother and I are having a debate about back pain. We both seem to suffer from chronic low back pain. He maintains that we have gotten out of shape because we can't do anything with the pain. I think we got the back pain because we were so out of shape to begin with. Which is it?

Can you explain this to me? I had what the surgeon calls minimally invasive lumbar fusion at the L4-L5 level. The surgeon assures me the full procedure was done but all I see are two tiny incisions. They aren't even an inch long. How do they do dig around in there, remove the disc, jack open the vertebra and stick the cage in there [at least that's how I understand what they did]?

What is fusion disease? Is it some kind of fungus? I had a lumbar fusion and heard several other patients in the doctor's office talking about this. Now I'm wondering if I might be susceptible to it, too.

I heard there's a way to tell if I might be a good candidate for the X-stop device. It's supposed to go between two of my back bones and give me some relief from the pain caused by stenosis. Is there a way to help me decide if I should have this procedure or not?

Dad has been on antiinflammatories and received cortisone injections for back and leg pain from spinal stenosis. The surgeon has suggested trying something called an X-stop next. If the other treatments didn't work, why should this one?

After my physician got done showing me the X-rays of my spine, I felt like I had aged 50 years. My wife says I am over reacting. Is this normal?

My primary care physician sent me to a special spine clinic to help sort out what is causing my chronic (severe) low back pain. I had to fill out three different questionnaires about what I can and can't do. And there were two separate papers on pain intensity. Why are they asking me all these questions? Pain is pain. If I say it hurts like hell, why don't they believe me?

With chronic low back pain, I am at a cross-roads decision point: should I have a lumbar fusion or a disc replacement? The surgeon has explained both and all the plusses and minuses of each. My biggest concern is for the long-term results. What will my back be like 10 or 20 years from now?

If artificial disc replacements are available now, why do surgeons continue doing spinal fusions instead?

I just came back from the surgeon's office with my father who is facing possible spinal surgery. They are talking about doing a lumbar fusion on him. This completely freaks me out. He's 82-years old for goodness sakes! At his age, major surgery like this could put him in the grave. I know I'm probably being overly dramatic but I'm afraid to lose him. Should he go through with this?

Mother is an octogenarian and proud of it. After a lifetime of active service as a school teacher, she's retired but suffering from severe low back pain. The surgeon has suggested surgery to fuse two spinal levels. They tell us everything is less invasive now and that she will recover quickly. But we're still quite worried that she could lose more than she gains from something like this. What can you tell us about these fusion operations?

Five years ago, I had a disc removed and fusion of the L45 spine. Now, I'm getting ready to do it again only this time at the L34 area. Will they use the same scar from the previous surgery and just extend it up? Or do they start over with a fresh incision? Anything new in the way the operation is done these days?

I had one of those new back surgeries with the tiny incision. It was supposed to protect my back muscles from all the cutting that goes with an open incision. Well, it didn't work. I ended up with muscle damage and weakness. I thought maybe other people would like to know it's not a 100 per cent perfected yet.

What kind of problems can crop up with lumbar spinal surgery? I'm going to have a fusion where the surgeon comes in from the side rather than the front of back of the spine. This is supposed to avoid any problems running into organs, blood vessels, or the spinal cord (or so the surgeon tells me). I understand this is a new way to do the operation so I'm doing some checking on my own to find out what could go wrong. I trust my surgeon, but you know, it's always good to be prepared.

What kind of results are people getting from their lumbar fusions? I have a degenerative disc problem that I'm considering fusion for. What are my chances for a good, solid fusion?

I see from wandering around on the Internet that surgeons are making major improvements in how they do surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis. Since I have this condition and I know I'll eventually need surgery for it, what can you tell me about the latest treatment for this problem?

I'm in need of a cleaning out of the little hole where the spinal nerve comes out in my low back. I think the surgeon said around L4. I saw a video on You-Tube how this is done. Is it done the same way for everyone? After I saw what they did, I'm not sure I really want to have this done after all.

My surgeon told me straight out she is learning a new technique for spinal fusion called minimally invasive. Though she has practiced on many cadavers and been supervised by more experienced surgeons indozens of surgeries, I'll still be only the 14th patient she's actually used this method on solo. Do you think it's still safe?

In preparation for spinal fusion surgery, I watched a video at my surgeon's office that showed how it's done. I still don't get how they can put a tiny tube down through a small opening and see what they are doing. Even on the video, it just looked like a lot of weird tissue and blood to me. What is it the surgeon is really seeing?

I am going to have a lumbar spine fusion at the L45 level. The procedure involves a "lateral" approach. I understand the angle and direction. I'm just not sure why this is such an important point for the surgeon to make to me as a patient. Is there something magical or extra special about this?

The neurosurgeon I met who is going to fuse my lumbar spine showed me the handful of "hardware" that will replace the disc and hold everything together. I know they are going to enter the spine from the side but how in the world do they get all that stuff inside (and in place) with only a two inch incision?

I am trying to understand my husband's behavior. He has chronic low back pain but sits in front of the TV for hours in a chair with no support. The doctor has recommended exercise. He does nothing. Says it will hurt to exercise. I'm the kind of person who sees a problem and goes after finding ways to solve it. If it were me, I'd be at the health club everyday, not investing in being a couch potato. Can you help me wrap my brain around this kind of passive behavior?

I see a chiropractor every time my back goes out. But sometimes I wonder if at the end of the year, I wouldn't be just as well off without the expense of these treatments. Is there any way to tell what would happen if I didn't get adjusted?

Whenever I go in to see my chiropractor, I get the full works: usually three adjustments to different parts of my neck and back, a massage, and answers to all my questions about nutrition, supplements, pillows, and computer chairs. Sometimes I wonder if one of these treatment approaches is really all I need. Is it possible I would get well with just one adjustment? Or maybe just a massage without the adjustment? I'm probably obsessing but every time I go, these thoughts do roll around in my mind, so I thought I'd ask.

I've been searching the Internet for information on a condition called lateral listhesis. I have back pain and the surgeon thinks this listhesis is the cause of it. What are my chances of getting better without surgery? I figure if you go to a surgeon, they do surgery so that's what they recommend. My regular doctor doesn't really know enough about the condition to advise me. I need the advice of an expert who is impartial. What do you think?

What's the difference between spondylolisthesis and spinal stenosis? I have both and can't quite figure out what's going on back there.

Dad and both his brothers have all had disc problems ending up with surgery. My brother and I are both hale and hearty but we have jobs in construction that involve a lot of heavy lifting, pushing, and pulling. Are we doomed by genetics and occupation to follow in their footsteps?

I am a twin. I've heard that twins have more back problems than other people. Is this true?

I'm 35-years-old, think I'm done having children, but need a little advice. I have three really bad discs in my low back from playing high school and college football. The surgeon has made it clear that one of the possible complications of spinal surgery could be the end of sex as we know it. Just how likely is this problem?

I'm getting up the courage to have spinal surgery for a benign (not cancerous) tumor that is pressing on a nerve in the lumbar spine. Because of the location of the tumor, I'll have an anterior approach. As it has been explained to me by the surgical nurse, there are lots of potential problems that could occur with this operation. Would you go over these with me once more? I want to make sure I've given this the careful attention it deserves.

When I described my symptoms to my sister, she immediately thought that I have a sacroiliac joint problem (based on her own experience with the same problem). How can I find out for sure what's causing this pain? It's located to the left of my spine right about where the dimple is above my buttocks. Is that the sacroiliac there?

I've struggled with sacroiliac joint pain all my adult life. Having three children made my life wonderful but wreaked havoc on my low back and SI joint. Is there anything new out there in the way of surgery that might help me?

I'm doing some research on-line for my brother who is going to have a spinal fusion. He has a condition called degenerative spondylolisthesis. They are talking about extending the fusion from L4-L5 to L5-S1. From my reading, I'm not sure there's any real advantage to doing that? Am I understanding this correctly?

What's the difference between a lumbar floating fusion and a lumbosacral fusion? My surgeon has talked to me about the pros and cons of these two procedures but I can't keep them straight in my mind. Please remind me which is which. Oh, I have something called degenerative spondylolisthesis.

I'm worried about my husband. He's been in the construction business since he was 16. Now 30 years later (at age 46), he's still expected to work another 20 years. Can his back hold up under this kind of strain?

Is it true that being tall is actually bad for your back and makes you more likely to blow a disc? Somebody at work told us that. We've each got $5.00 riding on this one. Maybe us short guys finally have some kind of advantage! What can you tell me?

I just found out my nagging back and leg pain is from a disc herniation. The surgeon tells me I can go to physical therapy or have the disc removed. I have a trip to Europe planned (the dream of a lifetime). If I go to physical therapy, how long can I wait before having the surgery?

Is there any reason to rush into surgery for a lumbar disc herniation? I keep thinking two things: "fools rush in where angels fear to tread" and "act hastily and regret at your leisure." But I gotta tell you, the pain is hard to wait out. I need help making the decision.

I'm a little mystified by the advice I've gotten for my back pain. It seems pretty serious to me with severe degeneration of the spine and disc narrowing at all levels in my low back. Yet the doctor I'm seeing and the physical therapist are insisting I need to exercise, stretch, and keep moving. Won't increased activity make it worse?

I discovered the hard way that I am what they call a "catastrophizer" and I have a problem called fear-avoidance behaviors (FABs). This all relates to my chronic back pain. I accept it and try to deal with it. Yesterday I heard a report that they now have figured out there are different kinds of fear-avoidance behaviors. What kinds are there?

Have you heard of the ProDisc-L replacement? It's the artificial disc replacement my surgeon is recommending for me. How does this one compare to any of the other ones?

How well do these disc replacements hold up in the long run? The one I have now is three years old and holding but I was on-line and thought I'd ask you what you are seeing there.

I had a supposedly simple back surgery for a herniated disc two months ago. The surgeon swooped in, cut a piece of bone to get to the disc, took the disc out, and that was supposed to 'fix' me. Well, it didn't and I'm pretty disappointed in the results. Can you help me understand why some people get better while others (like me) don't?

I'm back to work after four weeks off for back pain but I gotta tell you, the pain isn't gone. I just suck it up and do my job, but I'm wondering if I'll ever get back to my old self. What are my chances for a full recovery?

What's the best way to predict prognosis after the first episode of low back pain?

I am scheduled for spinal surgery (fusion) in two weeks. As part of the work-up, I've had to fill out tons of paperwork including questions about my lifestyle (do I smoke? am I overweight? how do I spend my leisure time?). There was even one survey just about depression and anxiety. Is all this really necessary? It makes me feel like the doctor doesn't believe me when I tell her I'm having such intense, constant pain all the time.

Mother has had two surgeries for spinal stenosis. They both worked for a while but then her back and leg pain seem to come back. The surgeon is talking about another surgery but Mom seems unable to make the decision and wants us kids to tell her what to do. This is very unusual for her. She's always been such a strong-minded, decisive person. What should we tell her?

Can you give me a quick summary of the different ways to fuse the lumbar spine and the pros and cons of each one? I have had a preliminary surgical workup done and it looks like I'll have a posterior lateral interbody fusion (PLIF) but I would kinda like to know how this method measures up to some of the others.

I'm going to have a spinal fusion I guess is a little tricky: L5 to S1. The surgeon showed me a 3-D video about how the procedure is done. I'm starting to have second thoughts about this. Is it really safe? Could I end up worse than before?

I went to the doctor for back pain and came away with a new diagnosis: metabolic syndrome. She said any time someone my age (66-years-old) who is overweight (which I am) develops back pain, she checks for metabolic syndrome. What is this new problem I've developed and what can I do about it?

I saw something somewhere that said women with metabolic syndrome are more likely to have low back pain. I have both. What's the connection?

Most of my buddies at work go see a chiropractor when they tweak their backs at work. Now that I have a back problem (first time last week), I'm not sure who to see: my GP, an orthopedic surgeon, or a chiropractor. What do you advise?

I hurt my back at work lifting a load that was too heavy for me. But my work partner hurt his back las week and couldn't share the load evenly. Now we are both gimps. Do you think we should ask our employer for an MRI to make sure we are okay?

I'm scheduled to have an implant put between the two bumps along my low back (L45, I think). What should I expect after surgery? Like how long will I be out of commission. Will I need someone to come take care of me? (I live alone). What else can you tell me?

About two months ago, I had a special device put in my back to hold my back bones apart and away from each other. This really helped take away the back and buttock pain I was having from stenosis. Now the pain is back worse than before. Is this normal?

Tell me if my thinking is right here. I have significant degeneration of my neck at the C56 level. I'm thinking if I go with a disc replacement, I could keep as much motion as possible for as long as I can. Then, if it doesn't work or it starts to break down as I get older, I could always have the other option of fusion. Is this a reasonable way to go? Or am I missing something here?

I'm debating whether to have a neck fusion of disc replacement. The surgeon has explained the pros and cons and told me about the risk of breakdown at the next spinal level. Can you give me sort of the big picture on this problem? What do you recommend?

I am 75-years-old with a very bad (painful!) case of spinal stenosis in my low back. I've had two weeks of physical therapy with no change in my symptoms. I'm starting to look for a neurosurgeon to put an end to this misery. But everyone I speak with tells me to avoid back surgery at all costs and to stick with conservative care for at least six months. How does a person do that when the pain is excruciating?

I live in a small town in a rural state. I know I need surgery for a severe problem with lumbar stenosis. According to my local doc here, I would probably have a laminectomy and/or spinal fusion. How do I go about finding a place to go for this? There are "spine centers" listed on-line in two states near me. Does it make a difference which one I go to -- or is this the kind of problem that is treated the same everywhere so there's no need to look around?

Can you help me understand something? I had a spinal fusion surgery for degenerative disc disease six months ago. The surgeon gave me a thumbs up based on some test scores that showed improvement for me. Maybe I'm being a spoiled person but I'm actually disappointed in the results. Maybe I should have stuck with giving it some more time and trying other nonsurgical methods of treatment. What would you have advised?

Which is a better way to deal with painful degenerative disc disease: give it more time and stay with the conservative approach without surgery or go for the spinal fusion (which is kind of a final no going back step for me).

I'm recently retired and looking to take up a new sport -- possibly golf. I'm looking for any suggestions you might have for an "older adult" (I'm 72-years-old) that might help me stay fit without injuring myself while learning a "new game."

I'm looking for any information you can offer on how to improve my golf swing. I'm starting to have some low back pain and my golfing buddy suggested trying this web site. Evidently, he found some useful tips that helped him last year.

Why am I getting shorter with age?

How quickly can I expect to lose my height?

What is the difference between nonspecific low back pain and other types?

Should I trust that my therapist or practitioner is using a high-quality, research supported methods for treating my back pain?

Should I Get My Sciatica Relieved Surgically, Or Should I Wait?

What if I want to hold on surgery for my sciatica and go the nonoperative route?

I have pain that is radiating to both my toes.  My doctor says that I have spinal stenosis and that I need a surgery.  He is recommending a fusion and wants to take some of my hip bone to help stabilize my spine.  Isn’t this excessive?  Why doesn’t he just use some screws?

What is the difference between a decompression and a laminectomy?  I am in my 70’s and have spinal stenosis and am not thrilled about the prospect of surgery.  

What can I do to understand more of facet joint radiofrequency denervation?

What can be done for facet joint related pain?

I have lumbar degeneration including spondylolisthesis and have been attempting non-operative treatment without relief of symptoms and will be undergoing surgery soon, what does the research show in terms of cost-effectiveness and quality of life?

If the data examining the cost-effectiveness of surgical treatments for lumbar spine disorders is so limited where should research efforts be focused to help determine the most optimal cost-effective care?

Is there good research to indicate that active rehab prior to lumbar spinal stenosis surgery improves outcomes?

Is spinal stenosis surgery going to relieve my leg pain?

If I have radiating pain from my back down my leg, should I look into getting a steroid injection?

I have had low back pain for years and have tried a lot of different treatments, but nothing seems to get it better. Is there anything else out there that is effective?

Which treatment is most effective at reducing non-specific low back pain, standard physical therapy-type treatments of back stretches, strengthening, and hands-on therapies or cognitive functional therapy?

I have low back pain. If I just use a brace, will it go away?

Some of my co-workers use back support belts when they lift at work. Should I use one?

Are men and women equally at risk for developing low back pain?

Can what I do at work affect my chances of having low back pain?

If I have a spine fusion in the lower part of my back, will I still be able to bend over?

I know it's important to bend my knees when I lift heavy things. But I've had surgery on both of my knees, and they really hurt when they bend too far. How can I protect my knees and my back when I lift?

My lower back hurts. Should I go to work?

I'm using a back support belt for my intense low back pain. It helps so much. Why can't I wear it all the time?

I feel like my low back pain is going to last forever. When will it go away?

I know it's supposed to be better to lift with bent legs. But it's easier and faster to keep my legs straight. Is lifting with straight legs really so bad?

I am almost 70, and I've gotten used to the arthritis pain in my right hip. But now I have pain that goes from my low back to my knee along the front of my thigh. What is the causing this pain?

I am an athlete. When can I get back to my sport after low back surgery?

I've been diagnosed with sacroiliac dysfunction. What is it?

I've heard that sit-ups can help prevent low back pain. Should I do military sit-ups or the stomach crunches?

An X-ray showed a vertebra in my low back that is slipping forward. Will it keep slipping? Could it slip completely off the rest of my spine?

I started walking for exercise to help my long-term back problem. Lately I've started getting a burning pain in my legs after a few minutes of walking. It goes away if I rest. What is happening?

I injured my lower back a few weeks ago. It still hurts, but my doctor wants me to go back to work. Shouldn't I wait until I don't have any more pain?

I've had lower back problems for a long time. My doctor is recommending surgery. Will it help me?

My abdominal muscles tore when I had my last baby. Can they be fixed?

I had low back surgery last week. There were no complications, but now my calf muscle is red and very sore. Is it related to my surgery?

After many years of pain in my lower back and legs, I'm having spine fusion surgery. Will surgery make my pain go away?

I've had problems with my sacroiliac joint since I was pregnant. It won't go away. Do I need to see a doctor?

I am going to have surgery to take out a disc in my low back. What will replace the disc?

I am pregnant and have low back pain. I've gotten ultrasound treatments to ease my back pain before. How come I can't get them now that I'm pregnant? I just had an ultrasound to look at my baby.

I am 55 and suffer from chronic back pain. I don't do heavy labor, but it seems like the stress I have at work makes it harder to deal with my back. Is the pain I feel all in my head?

I've been experiencing pain in my lower back for quite some time. My doctor doesn't seem to be able to determine the cause, but she also doesn't think I should have X-rays of my lower back. If she's uncertain of the cause, why wouldn't she order the X-rays?

I've been suffering from low back pain, and it seems to be getting worse. My doctor has suggested that I have X-rays of my lower back. A friend had a similar problem and didn't get X-rays. Why the difference?

I've been to two different doctors who have suggested two different reasons for my low back pain. I'm frustrated by this. Neither doctor has suggested X-rays. I'm afraid of offending my current doctor by suggesting something so obvious. Should I bring the subject up?

Is my sacroiliac joint supposed to move? Ever since I got injured in a car accident, I keep feeling a clunk in my low back when I lift my leg up.

I have a kind of low back pain that makes it hard to bend over. My doctor says this is a problem of the sacroiliac joint. She wants me to have physical therapy. Will physical therapy take the pain away?

What is the sacroiliac joint?

I have low back pain that hits right where my back and pelvis come together. I've had it for about three months. What do I have to do to make it go away?

I get a burning sensation in my lower back if I stand on my feet at work for more than two hours. My mother had back surgery years ago and felt much better afterward. She thinks maybe I need back surgery too. Does it sound like I need surgery?

I've just had my first experience with low back pain. What can I do to ward off similar problems in the future?

I do a lot of heavy lifting at work, and I've had a few brief spells of low back pain over the years. Am I more likely than the average guy to have low back pain in the future?

What is the multifidus muscle?

I have low back pain for the first time. My physical therapist started me on a program to train my low back and abdominal muscles. Will these exercises pay off in the long run?

Could my divorce be giving me low back pain?

I'm prone to low back pain. I'm afraid to go back to work or do sports because I don't want to bring on the pain. How can I get past this?

I've had low back pain off and on for years. My doctor suggested I start some kind of exercise therapy and return to my normal level of activity as soon as possible. Does it matter which type of therapy I choose?

What determines whether people become disabled from low back pain?

Does low back pain actually affect the muscles in the back?

I've been doing physical therapy for low back pain. My therapist says I've gained a lot of strength in my back. Does this mean my back muscles are actually getting bigger?

I have chronic low back pain, and my doctor wants me to start exercising. He says I'll see improvement in just a few months. Will exercise really affect the muscles in my low back?

I've had occasional low back pain for years. I just started physical therapy using exercise bands and other special equipment. Is this really going to help me get stronger?

I've had low back pain off and on for years. My doctor wants me to do exercises to strengthen my back. Does it matter what type I do?

I used to do a low-impact aerobics class every day, but ever since I developed low back pain, I've stayed away from the gym. Now I'm thinking I should exercise again. Could aerobics help my back?

A few of my employees recently hurt their backs on the job and are collecting workers' comp. Should I expect that they'll come back to work?

I am a foreman in a factory. We've had a couple of guys come back to work after back injuries. How likely are they to stick with their jobs?

Does age make a difference in whether people with back injuries can return to work?

What's the best way to tell whether surgery for low back pain has had good results?

Do patients with different low back problems have different amounts of pain?

I hurt my back lifting a 50-pound sack of seeds at work. Because I had a previous injury while playing golf, workers' compensation is not covering my injury. Isn't there some way to show that regularly lifting heavy items at work is what caused my back to go out in the first place?

I hurt my low back while lifting a heavy piece of lumber. Now I have extreme pain on one side. The doctor gave me a pamphlet with information about keeping active and exercising. All I want to do is lay on the couch and never move again. How do I follow my doctor's advice to keep moving when it hurts so much?

I have been having low back pain that travels down the back of my leg. The doctor has recommended steroid injections. Aren't there some serious side effects from this treatment?

I have been having trouble with sciatica off and on for the last eight months. I have been doing the exercises given to me by a physical therapist. Is there anything else that might help take care of this problem?

I injured my back lifting too much weight at work. An MRI showed that one of the discs in my spine herniated. To avoid surgery, the doctor has recommended steroid injections. What's the thinking behind using a medication like this for a damaged disc?

I have watched many co-workers injure their backs and never return to work. I always thought they were just soft. Now it's my turn. After hurting my back six weeks ago, I am still having enough pain to keep me from doing my job. What is it that keeps some of us from getting back to work quickly--or at all?

Six weeks ago, my 12-year-old son had an operation on his back to take out two discs. He had immediate relief from his back and leg pain. He is ready to go back to playing soccer. Is this safe?

Will my 12-year-old son be able to stay active in sports now that he's fully recovered from back surgery to remove an injured disc?

My 17-year-old son is scheduled for a back operation. The doctor is planning to do a hemilaminectomy and a discectomy. What do these big medical terms mean?

My 16-year-old daughter hurt her back when she fell off her horse. This happened over a year ago. She has been treated with medications, exercise, and a brace, but she still has back pain that shoots down her left leg. Are there any other treatment options?

After hurting my back in a car accident, I was given a booklet with helpful tips on lifting, sleeping positions, and exercise. Even after carefully following all of these instructions, I still have back pain. What else can I do?

I have two brothers who were told they have spondylolisthesis in their low backs. Is this a coincidence, or does it run in families?

I am a 16-year-old female gymnast. Some of my teammates have back pain and were told they have stress fractures in their spines. What are the chances I'll end up with a problem like this?

The doctor told me I have lumbar spinal stenosis, which is putting pressure on a nerve root in my low back. How should I try to position my back when sleeping at night?

I've had ongoing tightness in my buttock ever since I got in a car accident one year ago. My piriformis muscle gets super tight, even after physical therapy. Would an injection into the piriformis muscle help?

Can having one leg that is three-quarters of an inch shorter than the other cause a disc to become herniated in the low back?

A smoker for 25 years, I'm having a hard time quitting before my lumbar fusion surgery in six weeks. Are the benefits worth the effort it is taking me to stop smoking?

I have a disc problem in my low back. How should I try to position my back when sleeping at night?

A spine specialist told me I have two herniated discs, and that a piece of disc broke off and is floating around in my spinal canal. Is it possible to avoid having surgery with a loose fragment like this?

Some of my older patients have pain from nerve compression in the low back (lumbar spinal stenosis). I encourage them to keep moving, but often they tell me walking is just too painful. What determines their degree of difficulty walking?

My mother is 65 and has started to have trouble walking, especially uphill. Her back looks stooped, and she says it hurts to stand up straight. Why is this?

What is lumbar spinal stenosis?

I have been treated for low back pain since my car accident four months ago. I seem to be getting better slowly, but how do I know if the treatment I'm getting is helping or if I'm just getting better on my own?

I hurt my back in a work-related accident. Even though I use proper lifting techniques, all it took was a slight turn to the side and my back went out. How can I prevent this from happening again?

I heard that more and more studies are showing that back belts don't really protect the back and may even weaken it. How is this possible?

I'm thinking of wearing a belt at work to protect my back while lifting and carrying objects. What kind of belt should I get?

What's the latest thinking on wearing a protective back belt while lifting?

For the last six months, I have had pain in my sacroiliac joint. The pain seems to come and go, but I don't know what brings it on or makes it go away. At the same time, I've noticed some problems holding my urine and dribbling before getting to the toilet. Are these two problems related?

I recently took a misstep off a curb and landed on my right buttocks. I have been seeing a physical therapist to help with the pain in my sacroiliac joint and difficulty of lifting my leg. One of the exercises I do is to improve the use of my diaphragm muscle. What exactly does this muscle do, and how will exercises help?

I was reading about back pain and its effect on walking. There was a report that when someone has back pain, the coordination between the trunk, thorax, and pelvis gets off balance. Can you help me understand the difference between these body parts and how they get out of balance?

I have been seeing a physical therapist for a back pain rehabilitation program. The therapist told me I am using my muscles to protect my back, which is keeping me from moving normally. Is this a common problem?

Six weeks ago, I had an episode of extreme low back pain for no apparent reason. With medication and exercise, I am almost back to normal. One problem I am still having is with walking. I can walk easily at a slow pace. If I try to increase my speed, I just can't seem to coordinate my arms and legs with my back. What is causing this?

My 17-year-old daughter was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis. She is a competitive gymnast and can no longer perform or compete. What is this condition, and why is gymnastics forbidden?

My uncle needs spine fusion surgery. His doctor refuses to do the surgery unless my uncle quits smoking. Why is this necessary?

I read a magazine article about back pain and smoking. What is it about cigarette smoking that causes back pain?

I've heard that strengthening the abdominal muscles helps protect the back. I don't have any specific back problems, but I do have trouble with my sacroiliac joint. Will strengthening my abdominals help with this?

How can I treat my back pain without surgery?

I hurt my back in a car accident. The physical therapist has been teaching me spinal stabilization exercises. How do these exercises work?

I was recently diagnosed with "lumbar osteophytes." What does this mean?

I injured my back lifting too much weight at work. There was a disc protrusion identified on MRI. To avoid surgery, the doctor has recommended steroid injections. What's the thinking behind using medication like this for a damaged disc?

I have been having trouble with sciatica off and on for the last eight months. I have been using a back support and doing the exercises given to me by a physical therapist. Is there anything else that might help take care of this problem?

I read a magazine article about differences in how men and women use their backs while lifting. There was also some information about the differences between people who have hurt their backs compared to people who haven't. How do scientists get this information?

Before beginning a new job on an assembly line, I had to attend a two-day class on how to prevent back injuries. Part of the class was on proper lifting and handling techniques. Has it ever really been proven that lifting in a certain way is good or bad for the back?

I hurt my back while lifting at work. I've been off work for six weeks, and I've gained 20 pounds. I was already 20 pounds overweight. My doctor is advising me to lose weight to improve my back recovery. Will this really help?

I had surgery on my back six months ago. The surgeon used a device that screws into the bone to hold it in place. Everything was going well until last week when part of the device broke. My doctor told me that the bone had healed. What could have caused the screws to break?

My 69-year-old mother just had spinal surgery that included a fixation device to hold the healing bones in place. When the physical therapist came in to work with her, my mother was not allowed to walk a lot or sit up straight. Why is that?

My 75-year-old father has developed age-related fractures in his spine. The doctor feels these are caused by wear and tear from arthritis and has scheduled my father for surgery. The surgeon will implant screws to hold the bone in place. What can we expect during my father's recovery? How soon will he be up and about?

I've heard that stress can increase the risk of developing back problems. What kind of stress puts people at risk?

My brother hurt his back in a work-related accident. The MRI showed a disc protruding in the low back at two different levels. I thought women in desk jobs were more likely to have this kind of problem. True?

When an MRI is used to diagnose a disc problem, what does it show?

Last year, I had quite a bit of low back pain. After seeing a physical therapist, I stayed pain free so long as I did the exercises the therapist prescribed. The exercises that seemed to help the most involved the muscles in my buttocks. What do these muscles do?

I was part of a study about back pain patients. As a former patient, I filled out several forms with many questions. Some of the questions asked about my pain and function two years ago. How helpful can I be if I don’t remember exactly?

I had surgery to fuse my spine after a fall that damaged two disks. I don't have less pain, but I can do more at work. I also sleep better at night. Would you say the surgery was a success?

Can the new IDET treatment for disks be used by anyone?

I read a pamphlet in my doctor’s office about disk problems and back pain. It says that the disk doesn’t have nerves that send pain messages. So, why do I have pain?

Is electrotherapy for disk problems a form of surgery?

After having two back injuries, I've been sent to physical therapy. The therapist is going to teach me how to find my "neutral spine position." What is this and how's it done?

What is proprioceptive training for the spine?

I'm on worker's compensation for a work-related back injury. The doctor’s report mentions disability and impairment. What's the difference between these two things?

I am an active horsewoman. I ride, train, and show horses on a regular basis. Is there any reason I can’t go back to these activities after back surgery? I am having a disc and part of the bone removed.

I'm thinking about having lumbar disc surgery. What are the success (failure) rates for this operation?

I'm going to have back surgery to remove two discs. I've heard different advice about restricting my activities after the operation. What's the latest on this?

Can coughing from asthma cause back pain? My husband and daughter both have asthma and often complain about backaches and pains.

I heard you can tell at an early age if you'll have back pain later in life. Is this true? How do they know for sure?

My 15-year-old son has come up with one problem after another. First it was low back pain and headaches. Now it's asthma. Are these common problems during the teen years?

I've heard that the chances of having back pain increase as we get older. When does this really start to be a problem?

My daughter is going to college for the first time this year. She was on the cross- country team in high school but doesn't think she'll have time for it now. Should we encourage her to stick with this activity where she can meet people? Or put all her focus on her studies this first year?

I am the new director of a university student wellness center. I'd like to start a program to decrease the number of students who show up with low back pain. What do you suggest for a starting point?

My daughter-in-law and I are having a debate about cold versus heat. I prefer a heating pad for my back pain. She's a nurse and insists I use a cold pack. Cold just puts me in spasm. She says that's because I've made up my mind against cold. What do the experts advise?

My mother is very overweight and complains about back pain constantly. The doctor won’t operate on her until she loses 100 pounds. This isn't likely to happen. There are so many advances in today's medicine. Couldn’t she get some pain relief from surgery while still being overweight?

My doctor tells me if I have surgery to remove a disc from my spine that I'm at increased risk for problems afterward because I'm overweight. Just what kind of problems are we talking about?

My 86-year old father just had back surgery. With the high cost of health care today, shouldn't old age keep people from having surgery?

I'm having some new pains in my low back area. I notice when I stand on my right leg I can stay straight, but when I stand on my left leg, my whole body twists to the right and my pain is worse. What could be causing this?

I'm going to have a disc replacement at the L4/5 level. The doctor showed me three different kinds of discs. Some are metal. Others are plastic or ceramic. Does it make any difference which kind is used?

Ten years ago I had a spinal fusion at L4/5. Now I need another fusion at the level above. The doctor offered me an artificial disc instead of a fusion. This is new. Which is better?

How long can I expect my new disc replacement to last?

I'm going to have the first operation of my life: a spinal decompression. What can I do to get the best results afterward?

I woke up with buttock and leg pain that my doctor says is coming from my back. I'm not having any back pain so how can this be coming from the spine?

Three years ago I had surgery for low back pain. I had a good recovery but reinjured myself last month. I'm looking at having another operation. Can I expect the same good results I had the first time after surgery?

I work in a medical clinic filing medical claims. It seems like patients with the same problem get different treatment based on who's paying. Has anyone ever looked at this?

I injured my back while gardening last week. It didn't get better so I went to see my doctor. In order to get any treatment the insurance company requires an exact diagnosis. The doctor put in lumbar disc with radiculopathy (leg pain). I don't really have any leg pain. It seems like the system forces the doctor to lie. What can be done about this?

My doctor used a test called a straight leg raise (SLR) to see if I have a disc problem. The test was positive on the right side so an MRI was ordered. The MRI showed a bulging disc on the right. If the SLR test was positive, why did I need the MRI?

What are McKenzie exercises? Would they help me with my back pain?

I've had low back pain of unknown cause for three months now. I've seen two doctors, two physical therapists, and one chiropractor. They've all told me something different about what's wrong. Why can't I get a straight answer from these people?

I'm thinking about joining a study at our local university on back pain. They are looking for volunteers who have had recent back pain of unknown cause. I'm wondering if all that poking and prodding will make me worse. Is there any way to tell before I go?

Why do I get back and leg pain every time I cough or sneeze?

After suffering a disc herniation, I've been reading up on disc problems. I keep finding mention of "creep behavior" in discs. What is this?

I am about 100 pounds overweight. I've had two work-related disc herniations. Does obesity wear out the discs?

My doctor tells me my low back is unstable. What does that mean?

I've had low back pain off and on for a long time. Lately it's become more "on" than "off." I've tried steroid injections and exercise with no change. The MRIs and X-rays are negative. Would prolotherapy help me?

When research on exercise is done on healthy, young adults can the results be applied to older adults with conditions like arthritis or disc disease?

My 13-year old son was injured in a wrestling match. The X-ray showed a defect in the spine called a spondylolysis. Did this cause the injury or did the injury cause the defect to form?

My grandson is going from the eighth grade into high school. He's been on a "junior" wrestling team up until now and has done very well. No injuries! I'm concerned about high school wrestling. How often do these boys get hurt wrestling?

Ten years ago I had a spinal fusion for a disc problem. Now that same area has degenerated and I need a new fusion. The doctor is going to do what's called an interbody fusion. How is this better than my last fusion?

I'm going to have a spinal fusion for severe degenerative disc disease at L4/5. Since I am mildly osteoporotic, I can't donate bone to myself. The doctor wants to try something called rhMBP-2 instead. What can you tell me about this?

My 83-year old father woke up this morning with one foot cold and slightly pale compared to the other foot. What could be causing this?

My wife had spine surgery two months ago. We finally got the bill and I see charges for a vascular surgeon we've never even met. Is that normal in this kind of operation?

I'm scheduled for lumbar surgery to remove the disc and replace it with an artificial one. The doctor is going to go through the front of my body to get to the spine. How safe is this operation?

I'm only 38 years old and the doctor tells me I have disc degeneration. I thought this was a disease of old age? Why am I falling apart so soon?

I recently had a test done that showed high levels of blockage in the blood vessels to my spine. I don't have any back or leg pain. How is this possible?

What does it mean to have a Grade 5 disc degeneration? My father just came back from having an MRI and that's what the doctor told him.

I'm seeing an osteopathic doctor for chronic low back, buttock, and hip pain. Right now my only treatment is an injection called prolotherapy. Shouldn't I be doing something else to get better?

My husband is getting prolotherapy injections for low back pain. It seems to be helping. Everytime we go, the doctor injects a different spot. How do they decide where to put the injections?

I've seen two different doctors for prolotherapy to strengthen the ligaments in my back. Both doctors injected different areas. One doctor had me come once a week; the other doctor waited a week in between injections. Is there a "best way" to get this treatment? Should I go every week, once every two weeks, once a month, or what?

I hear a lot about people missing work because of back pain. What about neck pain? That's my problem. Seems like there would be more neck back than back pain because of so much time in front of computers.

The last three mornings I have woken up with sharp back and buttock pain on one side. What could be causing this? Should I see a doctor or a chiropractor? What's best for something like this?

I'm 18 years old with a back pain problem. I keep missing my physical therapy appointments. I had to drop out of treatment. Is there a program that makes phone call reminders for patients? I'd like to finish therapy, but can't seem to get it all together.

While on a walking tour of Ireland my wife started having back pain. It was bad enough she couldn't continue on the tour with us. She saw a physical therapist there who did inferential therapy on her. It seemed to help. What is this?

I just had my first episode of back pain ever. I'm 55 years old and thought I was immune to back problems. The doctor couldn't find the exact problem. Is back pain like one-size-fits-all? Everyone gets one kind of back pain when there's no known cause?

I noticed my 13-year-old daughter has a large swayback posture. Is she likely to have back problems when she's older?

I hurt my back playing tennis last week. I always hear about tennis elbow (which I've never had), but never about back injuries. Are back injuries unusual in tennis players?

What is a "graded return to activity?" My doctor wrote this on my discharge instructions after back surgery. I'm sure someone explained it to me, but there's a lot I don't remember from that time in the hospital.

My physical therapist told me today "hurt doesn't equal harm." He was referring to the increased back pain I was having during PT treatment. Is this really true?

I'm seeing a physical therapist for low back pain that started two weeks ago. The treatment doesn't seem to be focused on getting rid of the pain. Shouldn't that be first?

Four out of my five closest friends have had a spinal fusion. We're all in our 70s with back pain. Should I have this done too?

I've been thinking about having my low back fused based on my doctor's advice. When I went on-line to read more about it, I saw there can be lots of problems later. This is especially true when the level below the fusion starts to break down. Since I'm having the last two vertebrae fused, am I safe from this problem?

My mother had spinal surgery about six months ago for chronic low back pain. The pain has come back in a slightly different spot. The doctor says she has "adjacent segment degeneration." What is this and what happens next?

I'm a nurse with 25 years of experience, so you know I'm not a spring chicken. I heard a news report about a study in Sweden comparing trained judo fighters that's supposed to help nurses. The fighters lifted patients while the abdominal pressure and muscle activity was measured. How's a study like this going to help someone like me?

I'm a nursing supervisor in a large acute care hospital. Many nurses have low back pain from lifting patients. Should we try to recruit more male nurses to combat this problem? Do male nurses have fewer injuries lifting patients compared to women?

My husband had back surgery yesterday. I read the instruction sheet that said to "avoid using Valsalva's maneuver." What is this?

What is a lumbar facet syndrome? My doctor says this is what I've got. All I know is there's a lot of low back pain on one side. I can hardly sit or twist to one side.

I'm scheduled to have a procedure called radiofrequency neurotomy for chronic low back pain. The doctor explained the nerve is going to be heated up until it's damaged and can no longer send pain messages to the brain. Won't it be painful to heat a nerve that high?

I had a nerve block to stop my low back pain from a chronic facet joint problem. I got good pain relief for about a year. It's starting to come back now. Should I have this same treatment again soon?

I've been reading up on back pain. I see lots of studies from around the world on this topic. Scientists in Sweden seem to really follow their back pain patients the longest. Doesn't getting older increase the risk of back pain? How do they account for this factor?

My husband started having back pain almost a year ago. It's still ongoing. Some days are better than others. If he's not healed by now, does that mean he'll be like this the rest of his life?

How can you tell if a second bout of back pain is really just part of the first episode? I've had three rounds of back pain. Each one is a little different but the insurance company wants to say it's all one problem. There's a limit on how much treatment they will pay for each "episode."

I hurt my back at work several months ago. It still bothers me off and on. I do a lot of lifting and climbing. Would it help if I did some exercises to strengthen my arms and legs?

I think my abdominal muscles are weak but I don't know for sure. How can I figure this out?

After hurting my back I had some special testing done. The tests showed there is weakness of the muscles on one side of my spine. It's the same side I have pain on. Did I hurt my back because I have this weakness or did the weakness come on after the back injury?

I've been in rehab for a back injury. My program is going to be changed next week to "core training." What is it and what does it do?

I've been doing a set of exercises for my back a physical therapist gave me six months ago. My back feels fine and I'm tired of doing the same exercises. Can I quit doing these?

I'm 45 years old and starting to break down. I've had problems with two discs in my back and now a third is going. Could this be related to my years in track and field events like the high jump with all that twisting and hyperextension?

I like to watch track and field events on ESPN. I can't help but wonder about some of the events. For example, the shot put. Doesn't spinning around like that and throwing a heavy weight put a lot of pressure on the spine? What about the pole vaulters? Doesn't that twisting and arching cause problems in their backs when they get older?

I've had back pain for the past two years. I'm seeing a new doctor who wants to take more X-rays. These will be taken while I bend and extend my back. What does this show?

I'm a 52-year old construction worker on disability for a back injury. I had surgery to remove a disc in my low back. Now I'm having back, buttock, and thigh pain. The results of the MRI were "normal" for my age and previous injury. Is it possible the problem is coming from higher up in my back?

I am 71 years old and no spring chicken. I've had sacroiliac problems off and on for years. Usually it's a nagging ache in my low back. Now I'm having back and thigh pain. Can the sacroiliac joint cause pain in both areas?

Our 16-year old son went to Australia on a high school exchange program. He got a groin injury playing Australian football. He doesn't seem to be getting better. Should we have him come home for further testing and/or treatment?

Our grandson is a very fine soccer player. This year he's had a run of bad luck with constant groin pain. Could it be something serious like bone cancer?

My three sisters and I have all had bouts of tailbone pain. Is this hereditary?

My boyfriend has a problem called coccygodynia. He's reluctant to talk about it. What can cause a condition like this?

My 15-year old daughter has taken up kick-boxing as her new favorite form of exercise. Now she's having groin pain every time she kicks. We had X-rays taken that didn't show anything. We don't know what to do next. Would physical therapy help with this problem?

I hurt my back at work last week. The doctor who saw me told me to stay active and get back to my usual routine as soon as possible. I'm not really getting any better. Aren't there some specific exercises I can do to help?

I have a painful problem when sitting called coccygodynia. It's gotten so bad I can't go anywhere without a donut-shaped pillow to keep the pressure off my tailbone. I'm seriously thinking of asking my doctor to just take the tailbone out. What do you think of this idea?

My elderly mother has been in an exercise program for back pain the last three months. I'm afraid she is being taken advantage of. Her insurance gets billed every time she goes and gets help. How can I find out what she really needs?

When I saw my doctor last week for back pain, I was told not to move in the direction that causes pain. Of course this makes sense, but how do I know what movements to avoid? Usually by the time I make a move that hurts, it's too late and I'm in pain again.

I've been looking into the new artificial discs for low back pain. I tend to have allergies to dyes, foods, and metals. Would I have a problem with an artificial disc? Are they made of metal?

My doctor has advised me to think about having a disc replacement instead of a spinal fusion. What can you tell me about this new treatment? How well does it hold up? Will my activities be restricted?

I have chronic back pain from a problem called spondylolisthesis. I understand this means a vertebral bone is slipping forward. The slippage then pulls on the disc and nerves causing pain. I saw a report that disc problems can be solved by using a disc replacement. Would this help me with my problem?

Can you explain something to me? I work in the purchasing department of a large hospital. My job involves light lifting but constant bending over to pick up items and then putting them on shelves. I notice on Monday and Tuesday, I'm just fine but by Wednesday my low back starts to ache. I can make it through to the weekend. After resting I'm fine again but on Monday, the cycle starts all over. What's happening with my back?

I work for myself and I'm able to set my own hours and schedule. Some of my work involves repeated movements of my arms and back. I try to take breaks every hour. Is this enough?

Are there any studies to show how much rest is needed between work days for the back and other body parts to recover from chronic use? I'm on partial disability and trying to figure out how much I can work without reinjuring myself.

I've had two operations to remove discs in my spine and two more to take out some bone pressing on the nerves. I still have back pain and numbness down my leg. I saw on the internet they can fuse the spine with special cages inserted between the bones. Have I already had too many operations to be a candidate for this new treatment?

Whatever happens to people in experimental studies? Does anyone ever check on the results years later? I've been asked to be in a new study but I don't want to just be a number lost in the shuffle.

I had a spinal fusion that is fully healed now. Other patients I've talked to who've had this operation then had the screws taken out after the fusion is solid. Should I do this too?

I'm going to have two vertebrae fused together in my low back area. How much pain will I have after the operation?

I had a spinal fusion six months ago that didn't turn out as expected. The rods and screws used to hold the bones together got infected and loosened up. What causes this to happen? Did I do something wrong?

Can I make my back pain worse if I'm afraid to move? In other words, if I expect my back to hurt, will it?

I am going to have some muscle testing done for a chronic low back pain problem. Is it better to be tested when I'm having a relapse and the pain is at its worse--or when the pain has gone away?

I've been told my back pain is due to a bulging disc. It sure feels like the muscles are the real problem. Is there any way to tell which came first--the disc problem or the muscle imbalance?

I have been told my back pain is due to a bulging disc. It sure feels like the muscles are the real problem. Is there any way to tell which came first--the disc problem or the muscle imbalance?

I have signed up to be one of the first patients to get an artificial disc replacement at our university hospital. What can I expect the implant to do and how long will it last?

I had a back injury last year that seems to be fully recovered. Sometimes though I'll turn just the right way and get a twinge of pain. It makes me wonder if there isn't some kind of exercise I should be doing to protect my back. What do you suggest?

My doctor tells me a spinal fusion is my next step for low back pain from a degenerative disc. The brochure I read about the operation says that fusion relieves pain, reduces instability, keeps the normal disc height in the spine, and keeps the spine at that level from getting worse. It sounds too good to be true. What's the catch?

I've read a couple reports that low back pain is common in adults of all ages. Since I'm an active adult and very athletic will I be spared this kind of problem?

I'm a downhill ski instructor. Recently I hurt my back. Is it safe to ski when the back is sore? I've heard movement and activity is the best treatment and I don't want to miss any work.

I just started a job as an over-the-road trucker. I drive about 60 hours/week. I have a history of back pain off and on. I'm wondering if there's any research showing truck drivers have more back pain than other occupations.

My husband had surgery for a painful disc in his low back. He had good results. He's almost pain free and able to do many of his regular household and work tasks. It's been almost six months and he's still taking pain relievers and hasn't gone back to work. Am I expecting too much?

What is conscious sedation? I'm going to have some back surgery on my lumbar discs and the doctor mentioned this.

I saw a physical therapist for low back pain that just wouldn't go away. I was asked all kinds of questions about my activities, how far I can walk, my ability to use the bathroom, and so on. Are all these questions really needed? Can't we just get to the treatment and get the back pain taken care of?

I'm 66-years old and just starting to notice some low back pain. It seems to get better when I bend forward and worse when I straighten up. I don't want to get stuck in a stooped position. What can I do about this?

My father had back surgery (laminectomy) to take pressure off his spine. His back pain is gone but he seems so unhappy and uninterested in life. Is this from having the surgery or something else?

My 82-year old grandma had back surgery for spinal stenosis. Six months later she died of an unrelated brain hemorrhage. Was it really worth it to have the back surgery in someone this old?

My elderly mother has severe back and leg pain from spinal stenosis. She has tried everything to treat it: drugs, exercise, a brace, and even acupuncture. She's had no relief from her pain. Is there anything else she can try?

I am a 66-year-old African American male in need of a spinal fusion. Are there any studies to show how well (or poorly) black men do after this kind of surgery?

My 56-year old twin sister is having spinal fusion in a few weeks. The operation is going to include using interbody cages to replace the damaged disc. I'm very concerned about the long-term picture. She's still pretty young. How well do these things hold up 10 or 20 years from now?

I read a news brief that said patients often aren't satisfied with the results of spinal fusion. What does this mean?

What's the number one risk factor for back pain? It seems like most of my family members have back pain. So far I haven't had any problems, and I don't want any. How can I avoid it?

I'm having chronic back pain probably from a disc problem. My doctor has suggested doing a discography test. Does this help us know what to expect over the next few years?

After hurting my back at work I switched jobs. Now I'm not doing as much heavy lifting and I feel much better. Is this just all in my head or does it really make a difference?

I've just finished a six-week rehab program for chronic back pain. I'm back to work and feeling good. Do I need to do anything else to keep this good result?

When I started having low back pain, I went to my doctor and a physical therapist. I got better quickly, but my daughter says that it’s because I wanted to get well … not because of anything they did to help me. Is this possible?

My father has been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis. He complains of pain when walking and bends forward to relieve the pain. What is happening to cause these symptoms?

I was told last year that the pain in my back and legs is from spinal stenosis. Despite drugs, injections, and a brace, this problem is only getting worse. Would surgery help me?

After suffering back pain for two years, I had the L4-5 facet joints injected with a local anesthetic. This relieved my pain and the doctor then used a heat treatment to destroy the nerve. Six weeks later, the same pain is back. What can I do now?

I've been having low back pain off and on for the last two months. It's worse after sitting for more than an hour. The doctor and physical therapist both tell me it's from worn out facet joints. How can they tell this without an MRI?

My husband has been having low back pain constantly for the last six weeks. The MRI showed an intradural lipoma. What is this?

My daughter was just told she has an epidural abscess. This has been causing low back pain and leg muscle weakness. What is an epidural abscess?

What is a nucleoplasty, and when is it used?

My doctor wants to use a special heat treatment into the disc in my spine to help cut off the pain signals. Before I do this I want to know if there is any proof that this works?

I am going to have a spinal fusion and donate bone to myself for the operation. The bone will be taken from the pelvic bone. Does it matter which side they take it from?

I have been told one of the disadvantages of having a spinal fusion is the "fusion disease." What is this?

Can you tell me what is a seat belt fracture?

The doctor told me I'm going to have a 360-degree lumbar fusion. Can you explain what this really means?

I had an operation for a herniated disc where the surgeon just took out the pieces of the broken disc, not the whole disc. I knew I was taking a chance that the disc would herniate again. It's been four months and I'm starting to have back and leg pain again. What do I do now?

I ruptured a disc in my low back lifting something I should never have attempted alone. The doc wants to take the whole disc out. Why can't they just remove the part of the disc that's herniated?

I had a complete discectomy six months ago and now I'm having the same back and leg pain again. How is this possible? I thought once the disc was removed the problem was solved.

I have chronic low back pain that seems to come and go at least once a year. I've seen people at the gym working out with an exercise ball. They put their legs up on the ball while lying on their backs. Should I be doing these exercises too?

When my back goes out should I see a chiropractor or just get back to my exercise routine? Is there any proof that one works better than another?

After having three bouts of back pain in two months, I went to see a physical therapist. The exercises I'm supposed to do just make my back hurt more. Should I stop doing them?

Does it make any difference if I have two, three, or four spinal segments fused? Is a shorter fusion better or worse than a long fusion?

I'm having chronic low back pain from a disc problem. The doctor wants me to join a swimming group for six weeks before surgery to fuse the spine. How can I do this when I'm in so much pain already?

My wife is going to have a lumbar spine fusion at L1-L2. I've heard that spinal fusion is a three-step process. What are these three steps?

I have a computer job that requires long periods of sitting. Should I take the back of my chair off to help me sit up better?

After several weeks of back pain I went to see the doctor. An X-ray showed I have a spondylolysis on one side. The doctor suggested using a corset and avoiding sports activity for six months. How's that going to help me?

I've had low back pain off and on over the years. I notice when I carry a backpack I have much more discomfort, even when the backpack isn't that heavy. Other people don't have pain when wearing a backpack. What's my problem?

What is lumbago? Is this an old-fashioned term for back pain?

I have a really large bulging disc at L4/5. The doctor thinks I have a chance to recover without surgery. Does the size of the bulge make any difference in the healing process?

I've heard that a herniated disc can repair itself. Is this true?

My doctor is advising me to have a discogram. Why do I need another test? I've already had X-rays, CT scans, AND two MRIs.

Three days ago I had a discogram as part of a pre-operative work-up. My pain is worse than ever and now my leg is numb and my foot is acting weird. Will this go away?

What's a provocative discogram?

My doctor says I have mechanical low back pain. What is this?

Whenever I see an exercise show on TV it's always the same pattern: warm-up, stretching, aerobics, cool down. Now it's all about the core program. There's another 10 minutes for that. Does it really matter what order I do these exercises in? I do have chronic low back pain?

I've had all kinds of treatment for my low back pain. I've tried massage, acupressure, trigger point therapy and beyond. None of those work as well as the spinal mobilization my physical therapist does. Yet when the mobs are being done, I hardly feel a thing. Am I imagining this or is it for real?

How does acupuncture work? I had two sessions and my back pain is all gone.

Who should I see for low back pain: a doctor, chiropractor, or physical therapist?

I just started having some low back pain in the last few days. Is there any way to tell how long this will last?

I'm having my third bout of low back pain in three months. This time there's pain going down into my right buttocks and then down my leg. I don't seem to be getting better like the first two times. Is this typical?

Sometimes I see pregnant women at the gym wearing a special belt. It goes under the belly and around the back. This is obviously some kind of support but why are they wearing them? My generation managed to have babies without ever wearing such a device.

What's the best exercise program for back and pelvic pain with pregnancy? I know I'm supposed to be careful doing abdominal exercises. What else should I do?

I'm six months pregnant and starting to notice increased low back pain. It's my first baby, so I'm wondering if this is to be expected.

Over the years, I've had back pain off and on. I've usually done too much gardening or lifted something wrong. What's the best way to treat this early on?

I'm seeing a physical therapist for low back pain that I've had for more than six months. What are some ways I can measure improvement?

My doctor has advised me to have a spinal fusion at two levels in my lumbar spine. Is there any way to tell ahead of time if this will work?

I went to see a physical therapist for chronic low back pain. There were several tests I had never done before. For example, the therapist asked me to count backwards by threes while she lifted my leg off the table. Then she tested my knee and ankle reflexes in two different positions. What are these tests for?

After seven months of daily low back pain, I went to see a physical therapist. The therapist put me in all kinds of positions. How will this really help me?

I hurt my back in a lifting accident at work. As part of my home program, the therapist insists that I sleep with a pillow between my legs. The knees and ankles both have to be supported by this pillow. What difference does this make, really?

Why are there so many different treatments advertised for back pain? Is there one "best" treatment method?

I'm in a rehab program to help me with chronic back pain. Is it better to go with the attitude "no pain, no gain" or "let pain be your guide"? I've heard both from different people.

I see a job opening advertised listed as "workload 2." I've had a bout or two with low back pain. Can I handle a level 2 workload?

My 68-year old mother just had back surgery for a herniated disc. The operation was supposed to take pressure off the nerve, which is causing her quite a bit of pain. My brothers and I want to do everything we can to make this surgery successful for Mom. What do you advise?

I had back surgery for a disc herniation. I thought the goal was to reduce my pain by taking pressure off the nerve root. It's been three months and I still have the same symptoms. What can I do next?

Two months ago I had a very successful operation for a herniated disc. Now I want to get on an exercise program. I'd like to keep up my strength and flexibility. How often should I exercise to get the benefit without hurting myself?

When I saw the doctor for low back pain there was a ton of paperwork to fill out. One form had a test for anxiety and depression. My score showed that I was "disturbed" (as opposed to "not disturbed"). Isn't everyone in pain "disturbed"?

I've had low back pain going on 10 years now. Sometimes it's better than others. I'm starting to wonder about myself. Is there a way I could get tested to see if I need some psychologic help?

Every time I go see the doctor about my chronic back pain I have to draw a picture of my pain on a little cartoon character. How does this help anything?

I had one of the first disc replacements in our hospital. At first I didn't think the operation worked because I still had back and leg pain. But two days later it was gone. What could be the cause of the delay?

I'm being treated for disc herniation as the cause of my low-back pain. How can they be sure that's what's causing the problem without an MRI?

I'm thinking about having a disc replacement for a worn out L4/5 disc. I know there are several different artificial discs on the market. Do they come in different sizes (small, medium, large), too?

After hurting my back at work the doctor gave me a narcotic painkiller. I've heard these drugs can be addictive and dangerous. What other options do I have?

What's the best pain reliever for the occasional bout of low back pain?

Is it okay to take narcotics for back pain when the cause of the pain is still unknown? I've had low back pain for six months with no relief. The doctor has ruled out cancer, fracture, and infection. It may just be muscular or from a torn ligament.

I seem to be all bound up in fears and anxiety about my back pain. I'm afraid it will hurt if I do certain things so I stop doing them. Now I find I'm doing less and less and hurting more and more. Is there any way out of this cycle?

After a back injury some time ago I notice that I can do everything I once used to do, but I'm much slower at it. Do you think it really matters how fast I walk or move about?

I went to a physical therapist for back pain. I had to do three tests that involved sitting on the floor and getting up again, bending forward, and walking back and forth along the floor as fast as possible. What do these kinds of tests really show?

What's the value of keeping an exercise diary? I'm doing the exercises, do I really have to write them down?

I've had bouts of low back pain off and on for the last three years. I notice when I work out at the gym I feel better. As soon as I lay off the exercise, the back pain is back. Will I ever heal or am I stuck with the daily gym routine?

I'm seeing a physical therapist for low back pain that just won't go away. Every session is like attending a motivational conference. Is all the counseling, information, and rah-rah really necessary?

What is dynamic stabilization? I heard a report on the radio that this is the future of treatment for low back pain to replace spine fusions.

I've heard that recent studies show most low back pain is really the result of psychosocial stresses. If this is true, then why do they fuse the spine?

I'm going in for my third lumbar fusion operation. I know it's hopeless for me but will future generations have a better treatment than fusion? I've lost all motion in my low back.

I'm seeing a movement therapist for low back pain. The treatment is supposed to restore the lumbopelvic rhythm. What is that?

I'm having some ongoing low back pain. My health insurance covers a visit with a doctor, chiropractor, or physical therapist. Which one should I go to?

I work in an office with 25 other people. Back pain is a common problem for many of us. I noticed several other people went to a physical therapist and got exercises. I saw my doctor and got an information pamphlet on back care. Isn't there some standard for how this problem is treated? Shouldn't everyone get the same treatment for the same problem?

The report from the MRI I had done on my lumbar spine says, "Type 2 modic changes." What does this mean?

I was surprised to find out MRIs can't really show what's wrong when back pain is a problem. I thought this was state-of-the art technology.

What's the difference between a disc prolapse and a disc herniation? I had an MRI and the results showed a bulge at L3/4 and a herniation at L4/5.

I'm seeing a physical therapist for low back pain and sciatica. Part of the treatment includes traction on a table for 20 minutes. It's been a week of treatments and so far I'm not seeing any results. How much longer should I wait before saying something?

I have been getting traction for sciatica that just started up a few weeks ago. It seems to be helping but it always gives me a headache. How long should I put up with the headache pain in order to get relief from the leg pain?

My doctor has advised me to see a physical therapist and try a short course of traction. I went on-line to read about it and found all kinds of traction. What kind do physical therapists use?

I heard on the news that artificial disc replacements are on the market now. What do they look like?

I hear they've finally come out with a disc replacement for the low back. I've had my knee replacement for almost 20 years. What took so long?

After years of chronic low back pain and every treatment under the sun, my doctor has advised surgery. I have two choices: spinal fusion or disc replacement. I'm thinking a fusion would take care of the problem once and for all. Seems like an artificial implant is one more thing that can go wrong. Am I thinking right about this?

I'm learning how to do some belly exercises to help with my back pain. While lying on my back with my knees bent I put a heavy book on my stomach. Then I'm supposed to pull my stomach muscles in. How does the book help?

I'm supposed to be doing an exercise for my back called "cats and cows." First I pull my belly in and arch my back like a cat. Then I drop my belly down and sag like a cow. I can never remember how to do the breathing. Am I supposed to breathe in or out with the cats?

I've been seeing a physical therapist for low back pain. One of the exercises is a tummy tuck in three positions. I'm supposed to draw my belly button in while keeping my spine level. It seems very easy. How is this supposed to help?

What is facet joint arthrosis? That's what I have at the L4/L5 level.

I have slowly been working my way through a long list of treatment options for low back pain. I know I have disc degeneration. I just don't want to have surgery. I've tried acupuncture, exercise, and prolotherapy. What can you tell me about disc nucleolysis?

I've had a total hip replacement on my right hip. Now I'm looking into getting a disc replacement. Will the total hip pose any problems during the surgery? I don't have full motion on that side.

I saw my doctor for back pain that came on when I lifted too much weight at work. The nurse gave me a pamphlet on back care and some advice on lifting. Is this really enough to get me back on my feet?

About six weeks ago I hurt my back and had to see a physical therapist. In the first week my pain went way down. By the second week I was back on the job. The exercises seemed to help, but how long should I keep doing them? I don't have much time now that I'm back to work.

I saw a TV program on back pain designed to help people get back to work as soon as possible. The program host kept talking about avoiding "medicalizing" the problem. What does that mean exactly?

Whenever I go in to see the chiropractor or therapist they always ask me if I'm "better," "same," or "worse." I don't really have any idea how to tell. Isn't there some kind of pain measurement I could use to gauge how I'm doing?

The nurse at my doctor's office gave me a pain scale to use to judge my low back pain. I've gone from a six on a scale from zero to 10 to an eight. I seem to be getting worse instead of better. Should I quit using this scale?

I hurt my back about a week ago. I've been getting therapy for it. Is it too soon to expect improvement?

My doctor has given me a choice between a lumbar fusion and the new lumbar disc replacement. Is there any one reason to choose one over the other?

There's a surgeon in our town who's doing lumbar disc replacements (LDR). I may be a good candidate. How much motion will I get back if I do it?

I've been in rehab after surgery for a total disc replacement in my spine. I noticed that many of the other patients who've had this same surgery seem to have much more motion than I do. Why is that?

A good friend of mine and I went to see the same doctor for back pain. Our bills were very different after only two visits. Why does this happen?

I heard on the news that more and more people are going for alternative care to treat back pain. What is alternative care?

I always see a chiropractor when my back hurts. The rest of my friends go to a medical doctor. Is there some kind of person or personality type that's more attracted to one kind of treatment over another?

My 14-year old son is showing early promise as a golfer. His doctor diagnosed low back pain as spondylolysis. Could this be caused by golfing?

My 18-year old daughter injured herself while working on a summer construction project. The doctor took X-rays and didn't find anything. Now a special CT scan has been ordered. Do we really need the extra studies?

Every time I go to the clinic or hospital I get a survey asking me if I was happy with the service. I'm always happy with the people and the treatment I get, but sometimes I'm not satisfied with the results. How do I get that across to them without getting anyone in trouble?

I saw an ad looking for back pain patients to join a survey about patient satisfaction. I can't help but wonder just what is patient satisfaction?

Is there any limit to the number of fusions a person can have? I've had one fusion at three levels. My brother was advised to have five levels fused for a similar problem. That seems like too much to me.

I'm 78-years old and thinking about having my spine fused at two levels. How safe is this operation for an old gal like me?

I saw a magazine article that said demographic factors are linked with back pain. Since I'm a back pain sufferer, I'd like to know what these are. What can you tell me?

I live in a small, rural part of the United States. So far no one in our area is doing artificial disc replacements. How long will I have to wait before we see this operation in our area?

I saw an ad for artificial disc replacement saying, "Natural motion is back." I've had chronic back pain for 10 years. Could something like this help me?

I've been told the cause of my severe back pain is a degenerative disc. How could this happen to me? I've never done sports or had any jobs with heavy lifting. Is it genetic?

I'm thinking about having surgery to replace a bad disc. I know that this kind of spinal surgery can leave me paralyzed. Can't they avoid this with today's modern technology?

I know disc replacements have been around for a long time. How come they are so much more popular now?

My mother has had back pain off and on for 10 years or more. Her pain and disability is getting worse over time. Is this normal?

I'm having low back pain that isn't easy to diagnose. The doctor thinks it's a disc problem but the MRI and CT scan were "normal." The next test is a provocative discography. I'd really like to avoid more expensive tests. Is there anything else that might help?

I went to a pain clinic for help with back and leg pain from a disc problem. The therapist says the goal is to "centralize the pain." She explained the idea to me, but I didn't get it. What does it mean again?

I've been having some low back pain that feels better when I bend over. Should I just do this every hour? Most of the exercise shows on TV show people stretching backwards not forwards for back pain.

Help! I'm self-employed. I've hurt my back, and I've got to get back on the job right away. What can I do to return to my pre-injury level of activity?

I see the drug stores have a heat wrap for use with low back pain. These are kept on for up to eight hours. I thought too much heat isn't good? I've always been told to use heat for up to 30 minutes.

Is there a 'best' way to take over-the-counter pain medications for chronic low back pain?

I've just taken over the management of a garbage collection agency. There have been many back injuries on the job this year. What can I do to reduce this?

As part of a return-to-work evaluation, I was recently tested for back strength. I was afraid of hurting myself again. I don’t think I gave my best effort. Will this affect the results?

I've had low back pain for 10 years. My doctor calls it CLBD. What is this?

I had a disc removed after suffering back and leg pain for over two years. The pain is better, but I'm still not very sure footed. Will I ever get back to normal?

Only one month after a lumbar disc herniation, I'm noticing weakness in my legs. What can I do about this?

I had a fusion done at the L3-L4 lumbar spinal level. The doctor tells me the fusion is a success. Shouldn't I feel stiff in the low back area?

I'm still having back pain after a lumbar fusion. The X-ray shows a solid fusion. What could be causing this?

My father just had a nerve block for sciatica. Isn’t this a risky treatment?

I've had one disc operation so far for a herniated disc. I'm worried about this happening again. How often does this happen?

My doctor has scheduled me for a microdiscectomy of the lumbar spine. How is this operation done?

I had a spinal fusion at the L45 level. It didn’t heal and the X-ray shows no fusion. Why did this happen?

I went to a pain clinic for help with back and leg pain from a disc problem. The therapist says the goal is to "centralize the pain." She explained the idea to me, but I didn't get it. What does it mean again?

I am having low back pain that isn't easy to diagnose. The doctor thinks it's a disc problem but the MRI and CT scan were "normal." The next test is a provocative discography. I'd really like to avoid more expensive tests. Is there anything else that might help?

My mother has had back pain off and on for 10 years or more. Her pain and disability is getting worse over time. Is this normal?

I'm going to have two levels of my lumbar spine fused with titanium rods and bone graft. Why are both needed? Wouldn't the rods be enough support?

I'm really worried. I had a lumbar fusion for back pain that wouldn't go away despite every treatment tried. Before the operation I just had back pain. Now I have no back pain but my left leg is painful and numb. Will this go away?

Despite horrible back pain, I've been able to stay in shape by swimming. I'm finally going to have a spinal fusion for the problem. Will I ever be able to swim again?

I took a health survey that asked if I agreed or disagreed with this statement: "Back pain gets better best by itself." I said, 'no' but what's the real answer to this question?

I've had several back injuries at work. I always get better in a couple weeks. My younger brother just hurt himself playing tennis. I can't seem to convince him that it will get better on its own. What are the actual odds of this happening?

My mother-in-law has been in steady decline from back pain over the last six months. She doesn't really seem to have intense pain. Why the increasing disability?

Last month I hurt my back at work. I've been seeing a physical therapist for the last three weeks. Most of the treatment is geared toward getting me to be more active. The therapist really isn't treating the pain. How can I get better if I'm in pain all the time?

I've been having some low back pain for about six months now. I'm seeing a physical therapist who wants me to start doing things that make it hurt. I'm better when I avoid those movements. Doesn't it seem like I should do whatever it takes to keep from hurting?

My husband saw our doctor for a sudden episode of low back pain. The diagnosis sent to the insurance company was just that: "back pain." That really just describes his main symptom. What's the real diagnosis?

When I saw my doctor for a bout with low back pain I was asked how "bothersome" is my pain? What kind of word is that to describe my symptoms?

How can low back pain be a "benign" disorder? It has ruined my life. If I could cut my spine out I'd do it in a heartbeat.

It's been three months since I hurt my back at work. I seem to have reached a plateau and haven't gotten any better for awhile. What are my chances for a full recovery?

After six months of treatment for back pain, the doctor has told me I'm "recovered." I may be pain free, but there are still many normal things I can't do yet. How can I be "recovered?"

I am trying to figure out what's causing my pain. It's either something in my low back or sacroiliac joint. The pain is on the right side right over the dimple in my low back area. Would an X-ray help show problems with my sacroiliac joint?

I've been to four doctors for my low back pain that doesn't go away. Nobody can find anything wrong. I'm not making up this pain, believe me. Why can't they tell what's wrong with me?

I saw a chiropractor and a physical therapist for back pain this month. They both did this funky test pressing against my backbone several times. What does this tell them?

I just found out I have a collapsed disc at L45. What are my chances for a good result with surgery with a collapsed disc?

My surgeon has explained what an anterior interbody fusion is but I'm not sure I really get it. Could you help put it into laymen's terms?

My husband had a spinal fusion six months ago. Three of the lumbar spine were fused together. The X-ray report says there is a "nonunion" at L34. What does that mean exactly?

I've been having some back and leg pain the last few months. It almost seems like the leg pain is more disabling than the back pain. Is this typical?

I had spine surgery and woke up with a surprising new symptom: numbness along the front and sides of both thighs. The surgeon told me not to worry about it. She said it would be gone in less than a week and it was. What was it caused by?

I've been having some back pain for the last three weeks. I can't remember doing anything to bring it on. I notice in my Pilates class when I'm lying down I get a shooting pain down my left leg whenever I lift it up past a certain point. Is this what people refer to as sciatica?

The MRIs of my spine and my symptoms tell the doctor I have a herniated disc with cauda equina syndrome. I've been advised to have surgery right away. Do you agree with this idea?

I had a spinal fusion about 10 years ago. The surgeon took out the disc and used bone chips from my hip to fuse the two bones together. Now I need another fusion. This time they want to put screws and a cage filled with bone chips. Why is this necessary? The last fusion was much simpler and worked just fine.

How soon can I expect relief from my back and leg pain with a spinal fusion? I'm having one level fused (L45) using the ALIF method.

I've had low back pain on and off for six years. I've tried many different treatment programs from drugs to bracing to exercise. I'm seeing a new physical therapist who wants to try stabilization exercises. Is there any way to tell if these will work for me?

What is lumbosacral instability?

I'm trying to figure out what's causing my pain. It's either something in my low back or sacroiliac joint. The pain is on the right side right over the dimple in my low back area. Would an X-ray help show problems with my sacroiliac joint?

I've had years of low back and sacroiliac joint pain. My doctor has suggested an operation to fuse the SI joint. He says less motion means less pain. It seems like a serious step to take. How can I know for sure it will work?

After my first child was born, I started having sacroiliac joint pain. My physical therapist says this can happen after childbirth. The pelvis separates and widens during childbirth. My doctor says it's not possible to have enough movement to cause pain. Who's right?

I hear the Japanese are having good success treating their older adults with lumbar spinal stenosis. What are they doing that we aren't?

My aging mother has severe back and leg pain from stenosis. She's tried drugs and exercise with no improvement. Can't they put her in the hospital and do something like traction? Maybe just getting off her feet and resting would do it.

The chronic pain clinic here is offering a new treatment for chronic low back pain from disc problems. It's a heat treatment delivered right to the disc. They say it helps promote disc healing. I'm not one for trying something brand new. How long's this been around?

I have a chronic low back pain from a work-related injury that's covered under Worker's Comp. So far nothing I've tried has helped. I'd like to avoid surgery. Would this new heat treatment called IDET work? Worker's comp won't cover it. Is it the sort of thing I should just pay for myself? I'm desperate for some pain relief here.

What is the cauda equina syndrome? How do you know if you have it?

My neighbor is 91 years old and planning to have a spinal fusion for chronic low back pain. They say the problem is just degeneration from age. Isn't 91 too old for this kind of surgery?

How does cancer get from the colon to the spine? My father was just diagnosed with colon cancer metastasized to the low back. His only symptom was a recurrent twinge of low back pain for months.

I'm seeing a physical therapist for another bout of low back pain. I see in the clinic there are groups of patients exercising together who also have back pain. Once I'm done with PT do I progress to the group?

Do I have to go to Europe if I want to have a disc replacement instead of a spinal fusion? I hear they've done thousands of these operations over there.

I saw a news report that you can have a disc replacement now ... just like a joint replacement. What holds the new disc in place? Seems like as soon as you bend over it would push out of the disc space.

If I have an artificial disc replacement and something goes wrong, what happens then? Can I get a second replacement?

I'm going to have back surgery in the next few weeks. The surgeon has offered to just take out the problem disc. Another option is to remove the disk and take out a piece of the bone along the spine. Taking out the bone takes pressure off the nerves. I could have both operations at the same time and save myself the trouble later. What works best?

I live in a large city with several teaching hospitals around. I've been to several doctors in different clinics for my problem with back pain. Every one has a different idea of what to do. I can't help but wonder if I lived out west in a small, rural town, what kind of treatment would I get there?

I'm 88-years young and still going strong. I could do a lot more if I didn't have so much back pain. The doc says it’s a combination of spinal stenosis and arthritis of the spinal joints. Is there a treatment that could work for both? I definitely don't want to have surgery.

My doctor told me having an MRI isn't always the best idea for back pain. She says there's a low positive predictive value in imaging studies of the spine. I wrote it down so I could ask: what does that mean?

I've been searching the web looking for some help for my back pain. I know from an MRI that I have a herniated disc at L4,5. What I can't find is -- what's the best treatment for this problem? Everywhere I look it's a different suggestion from bed rest to acupuncture to surgery. Is there any consensus?

The men in my family all seem to have back problems. My father and his two brothers and my own brother have all had herniated discs. As a woman am I safe from this condition?

I've had back pain for two weeks now. Everything I've read says I should avoid bed rest and "stay active." What does "stay active" mean when you have back pain? I certainly can't go skiing or do hardly anything except move from one place to another.

I heard my cousin who is a psychologist say that cognitive behavioral therapy is the way to go for patients with low back pain. Maybe this would help me. I didn't feel comfortable asking -- what is it?

I come from a long line of ranchers and farmers who work hard out doors. My own job is much easier as I do the bookkeeping, finances, and bill paying. Many of the ranch hands seem to get back pain of one kind or another. I'm wondering if there's any way we can screen our workers ahead of time to find who's at risk for back problems. It might save a lot of money in medical bills.

My wife hurt her back yesterday. We don't have insurance so we're trying to figure out if she really needs to see a doctor. Are there any red flags to point out when medical care is really needed? We definitely can't afford an MRI.

I've had low back pain for three months now, and it's not going away. My doctor wants me to see a psychologist. I know it's not all in my head so why do I need to see a shrink?

I have a lumbar spine problem called spondylolisthesis. Is it safe to do aerobic exercise with this condition?

I had a spinal fusion at L34 for a slipped vertebra. The X-ray shows it didn't take. The doctor says I have a "pseudofusion." Will I have to have the surgery again?

I have a grade 3 spondylolisthesis that causes me a lot of pain. I have trouble doing simple tasks sometimes like getting in and out of the car. The doctor wants me to have surgery but I'm just not sure. What should I do?

Several years ago I had a fusion of my lumbar spine at L45. The surgeon used a posterior approach called PLIF. Now I'm going in for a second fusion at L34. This one's called a TLIF. What's the difference and why is it better?

I'm 77-years old and have terrible back pain. I can't garden, play golf, or even go outside for a walk. The doctor wants to do a new fusion called MaXcess TLIF. What are other patients saying about the recovery time for this operation?

My doctor is going to do a minimally invasive operation to fuse my spine. It's called a TLIF. I saw the special tools that will be used. Doesn't it seem like with all of today's technology they should be able to come up with some way to minimize damage to the patient but still let the doctor see what he or she is doing?

I had a vaginal hysterectomy so no muscles were cut. Even so I'm having back pain and weakness. How do you explain this?

My gynecologist suggested I try core stabilization exercises to help prevent back pain after a hysterectomy. How do I get started?

I had my first baby six weeks ago. I had back pain all through the last trimester. I thought by now my back pain would have gone away. Does this mean I'll have it the rest of my life?

I've been labelled a chronic pain patient. After six months of treatment and rehab, my back pain is no better. I'm looking at surgery as my next option. Are there any statistics on how low back pain patients like me do after surgery?

I'm a little more than worried about myself. Four months ago I had a work-related injury. I still have low back and leg pain. Some days it's very severe. Other days it's milder. The doctor expected the pain to go away with healing and says healing has taken place now. Could I still get better? Or is this "as good as it gets"?

Are people who are overweight and therefore larger in size for their height stronger than people the same size who weigh less?

I'm 79-years old and in good health. I've started a weight-training program at the local health club. How often should I do my exercises to keep the benefit going?

I hurt my back for the first time ever last week. When I saw my doctor she did a few tests, had me bend forward, sideways, and backwards, and sent me home with a few exercises. It may have looked like my motion was normal but for me I could tell it was very restricted. How can the doctor decide what's normal and what's not?

My wife went to see the doctor for a bad back. All she got was a prescription for muscle relaxers and told to stay active. No X-rays. No CT scans or MRIs. Should she get a second opinion?

I had a discography to confirm a bad disc before having surgery to remove it. When the surgery was done, they didn't find anything wrong with the disc. The doctor said the test was a "false-positive." Why wasn't the test accurate?

My doctor wants me to have a discography before doing surgery to remove the disc at L45. I've heard these tests are painful and aren't always accurate. Is this true?

I had a nerve block injection into my spine two weeks ago. I didn't get any relief from my constant back and leg pain. Is it possible the surgeon just missed the nerve?

Ouch ouch ouch! I had a nerve block for back pain that was even more painful than ever at the time of the injection. Does that mean the doctor found the right spot? I am getting better now but the procedure itself was very painful.

How do surgeons decide who needs a spinal fusion? I went to see my doctor and he never once mentioned a fusion. My husband went to see the same doctor who advised him to have a fusion.

What's the difference between spondylotic disease and discogenic disease? According to my X-ray I have spondylotic disease but no discogenic disease. Please explain.

I saw a report that said 80 percent of Americans will have back pain at some point in their lives. I'm 56 years old and so far I've never had back pain that I can remember. Are these all people with injuries or what?

My 36-year old grandson seems to have as much back pain as I do. At 89, I have spinal stenosis that hurts like a son-of-a-gun. If he's this bad off now, what's he going to be like at my age?

My wife is having a nerve block to help with her back and leg pain. How is this done exactly? Will she come home the same day?

I had an MRI to find out what's causing my severe back and leg pain. The MRI showed a definite problem they thought was a tumor. I was scared to death. It turned out to be a synovial cyst. Did the doctors miss something on the MRI?

I am scheduled to have a lumbar injection for nerve pain that goes from my back down my leg. Is there any chance I could get worse instead of better?

Can exercise really prevent back pain? Which ones should I do?

I vowed I wasn't going to get all stiff and inflexible as I got older. But here I am at 55 and starting to notice less motion and less flexibility especially in my back. I exercise regularly every day. Is there any way to keep this from getting worse?

I hurt my back at work and want to keep from getting hurt again. Will a back support help?

Is it true that smokers have more problems after spinal fusion? I smoke about a half a pack a day and may need back surgery. What's the risk?

Is there any way to tell if someone with back pain is exaggerating their symptoms? Sometimes I wonder about some of my employees who are out on sick leave for back pain.

I've heard that being active is one way to prevent back pain. I've had one bout of back pain already. Is there any truth to this claim?

Two years ago I had a disc removed in my low back. After six months the pain started coming back. The doctor thinks it might be scar tissue. Is there any way to know for sure?

Is it true that I don’t have to restrict my activities now that I’ve had a lumbar disc removed? I've gotten so used to not bending over, vacuuming, or lifting, I'm not sure I can allow myself to start doing those things again.

I think my mother is a driving hazard. She has chronic low back pain and takes pills every day for it. She can hardly follow a conversation much less drive in traffic. Is there any way to prove this?

I read a magazine article saying McKenzie exercises are the answer to low back pain. Six months later and I'm still in pain. McKenzie exercises didn't work for me. Do they work for anyone, really?

My wife has had bouts of back pain off and on for 10 years. She's seen several different back experts. Sometimes she gets better with spinal manipulation but other times she seems to respond to exercise. Is there some way to figure out what would work best without so much time lost to trial and error?

I'm a manager at a meat packing plant. We try to keep people fully employed at all times. I notice that some worker who hurt their backs seem to get better right away. If they're not back on the job in the first month, they're not as likely to return. Is there anything to this?

I've had back pain off and on for two years. Lately it has started to get worse. I saw my doctor who put me on some medications and gave me a booklet to read. How is reading anything going to help me?

I see that more and more fitness groups and health clubs are offering spinal stabilization classes. What are these exercises and how do they work?

I sprained my back on the job about a month ago. I've been off work ever since. Is there anything I can do on my own to get back to work sooner?

What is a Swedish Back School? Is this better than other types of back schools?

What causes swayback? No matter how many sit-ups I do, my swayback never goes away.

I've heard the new artificial discs for the spine aren't working out. I was thinking about having this operation done. What's the latest?

I thought I was going to be one of the lucky ones because I was approved for an artificial disc replacement. I've had it for six months now but I have back and leg pain worse than before the operation. Is there anything that can be done about this or am I stuck?

I went with my father to see the surgeon about his ongoing back pain. The doctor suggested putting cement in the spine to glue together a fracture in his low back area. The doctor said the glue could leak. Is that a bad problem?

I've just been diagnosed with a condition called neurogenic intermittent claudication (NIC). I understand the canal in my backbone that the spinal cord travels through is narrow or closed down but what actually causes the symptoms?

I notice my 83-year old mother is sitting more and more when she used to be so active everyday. When I asked her about this, she told me her back and legs hurt the longer she stands. If she bends forward, she feels better but she doesn't want to go around hunched over. Is there some exercise she could do to help with this problem?

Before having surgery for chronic low back pain, I had to fill out question after question on three separate surveys. Why is this required now?

I was treated with a vertebroplasty for a spinal fracture caused by osteoporosis. According to the X-rays, the operation was a success. But my symptoms aren't much better. It's been slow getting back to normal. How does it get decided that an operation was a "success"?

I've been having some trouble lately with low back pain. I'd like to do as much as I can on my own. What's the best way to go about this?

I'm having some serious back problems at work. The doctor suggested physical therapy but my health insurance doesn't cover PT. Is it worth it to pay out-of-pocket for this service?

I had a discectomy about a year ago. Now I have the same symptoms again. How is that possible? Once the disc is gone, how can it cause any symptoms?

Six months ago, I had a microdiscectomy to remove pieces of a damaged disc in my lumbar spine. I've started having sciatica down the left leg again. How can this happen if the disc was removed?

I've had a bad back for years. I do okay managing the pain during the day. I really notice it when I lay down at night. I find myself staying up later and later at night to avoid the pain. Now I'm fighting fatigue and back pain. What can I do to help stop this vicious cycle?

I started having back pain after my second child was born. I've always thought it was caused by the pregnancy but my doctor thinks it's the workload of caring for children. Are there any studies on this?

Is there any truth to the idea that taking oral contraceptives can increase my risk of back pain? I've already had two episodes of back pain, and I'm trying to decide which form of birth control to use.

I just came back from the orthopedic surgeon's office. My head is spinning from all that I heard. I'm going to have a spinal fusion at L34. There are quite a few choices as to how it's done. My surgery will be a PLIF. Please tell me again what this means.

I'm recovering from an intense three weeks of back pain. I'll start back to work next Monday. When is it safe to go back to my bowling league and softball team?

My doctor thinks the low back pain I've been having is the result of deconditioning. What kind of exercise program should I do to get back in shape?

I've been off work with low back pain for the last six weeks. I'm better now but not pain free. How do I know when it's safe to go back to work?

I'd like to try doing some Pilates exercise for a chronic back problem I have. Do I need to see a physical therapist? Or can I just take a regular Pilates class?

I've been seeing a physical therapist (PT) for a problem with my low back. There's a PT student who treated me one day when my regular therapist was out sick. She did a manipulation on my back that really helped. Should I ask my regular therapist to do this, too?

I'm going to see a physical therapist for my first bout of low back pain. Should I let a student physical therapist treat me? I don't want to end up like my brother who has chronic low back pain because the therapist was inexperienced in treating me.

I've had a discectomy with a laminectomy two years ago but still have back pain and numbness down my leg. My surgeon is advising a spinal fusion. How can they do that when the bone was removed?

I had an L45 spinal fusion that didn't work. The X-ray showed a lack of fusion. What should I do now?

I've been off work for six months with a bad back. The X-rays and MRIs show a degenerative disc. If I have an artificial disc replacement, what are the chances I can go back to work?

I had an artificial disc put in my back at the L34 level. I've had just as much pain afterwards as I did before if not more. The doctor has me trying different medications so I can keep working. Is there anything else that can be done?

What is "nonspecific" back pain? I guess that's my diagnosis but I don't understand it.

I've been having some back pain that won't go away. I notice it seems worse after sitting for more than 30 minutes. Why would sitting cause it to hurt more? I would think taking the weight off my back by sitting would help, not hurt.

I'm concerned about my wife. We've both been in good health but lately I notice she's doing less and less. I can't see anything wrong exactly. We know she has spinal stenosis but that's about it. Could this be causing her gradual decline?

My 79-year old mother has quite a bit of back pain but she says 'pain is no reason to see the doctor.' We're quite concerned about her. Could this be something serious?

I've just come back from a consultation with a neurosurgeon about my chronic back pain. She is suggesting I try a spinal cord stimulator in my spine to put an end to my pain. I've never heard of this. Is it fairly new? I don't really want to try something that isn't well-tested.

Six months ago, I had a spinal cord stimulator put in my spine to control chronic and severe back pain. At first I got great relief. My pain went from a 10 down to a two or three. Now it's back up to a five. What happened?

My best friend had surgery for spinal stenosis in her low back. She seems better to me but still complains about the pain. How can I help her find the benefit in her surgery?

I've been told my low back pain is caused by a disc problem. The neurosurgeon seems to think surgery should be done sooner than later for the best result. Isn't it better to avoid surgery whenever possible?

I've always had problems with low back pain but it seems to go away quickly when I get back on my program of exercises. Lately even with my exercises, it's taking longer to recover. What can I do to change this?

I saw a news report that back pain sufferers can prevent future episodes by doing neutral zone exercises. What are these?

What is lumbago? I thought it was an old term from my parent's generation but I my brother says that's what's causing his back pain.

I'm slowly recovering from a long period of low back pain. My doctor wants me to go to a vocational rehab center. What can they do for me?

I'm very distressed because I hurt my back at work two weeks ago and I'm not getting better. My wife says I'm just making myself worse worrying about it. Can stress over an injury really keep me from getting better?

Is there any way to predict recovery from back pain. This is my second episode of low back pain. The first time it only lasted five days. This time it's been five weeks, and I'm still not better. What are the signs that I will get better?

I've been having more and more low back pain as I get older. I had one MRI but they couldn't find anything. Would one of those new moving ultrasound tests be helpful? I'd really like to know what's wrong with me.

I notice as people age they seem to stoop forward more and more. What can I do to keep this from happening to me?

Is it true that most people have positive findings on MRI of the low back but don't ever have any symptoms?

I had an MRI done because of low back pain. The doctor said it was negative. Wouldn't it be better if patients had the full report?

I've been told by one doctor that my buttock pain is caused by piriformis syndrome. Another doctor told me there's no such thing. Who's right?

Is there some way to find out for sure what's causing my left buttock pain? I'd like to know the source of my problems before taking steps to treat it.

I have a large herniated disc at L34 that is very painful and limits my activities. In preparation for spine surgery to repair the problem, I've been doing a modified program of Pilates exercises. How soon after surgery can I start doing these exercises again?

I hurt my back on the job and now I'm looking at having back surgery. The surgeon wants to fuse my lumbar spine at L45. I'm still working but worry that I might reinjure myself. Would it be better if I stayed home until the surgery takes place?

Our 82-year old father just had a vertebral compression fracture diagnosed as the cause of his back pain. What can we expect will happen now?

Whenever I go to the doctor or a physical therapist for back pain, all the testing they do makes me much worse. Isn't there a quick and easy way they can measure me without so much bending and stretching?

I have two bad discs in my low back. I've been thinking about trying those new artificial disc replacements. Can they do both at the same time or do I have to have two separate surgeries spaced out?

I have a spinal fusion at L34. I've heard there can be problems with increased motion and degeneration at the level above and below the fused site. Is there anything I can do to keep this from happening?

After a really bad bout of back pain, I had an MRI done. It showed I have a fissure in the outer covering of my disc at L45. How do you treat something like this?

I don't know what I did, but I tweaked my back and now I have a full-blown back problem. Would an MRI help?

I hear reports all the time that back pain has become our latest national epidemic. Is it really that much? Is this different from past years?

I just experienced my first back injury at work. I didn't really do anything wrong. I was turning to reach for something and the left side of my back seized up. I'm laid low in bed searching the Internet for solutions. What should I do? Should I see my doctor right away? Should I wait it out? I'm in a panic.

I hurt my back at work and just haven't gotten better. I really love my job and want to get back to it. My doctor has suggested a one-level spinal fusion (L45). What are my chances for full recovery with and without the operation?

I'd like to have the new surgery for a disc replacement instead of a fusion. My doctor has explained how the fusion will stop all motion at that level but can cause problems at the level above or below. She also told me the new disc replacements are designed to restore full motion. The problem is my insurance company won't pay for it. If the FDA approves these implants, then why won't the insurance company pay?

I've heard that workers' comp patients who have back surgery don't do so good. Is it because they are on worker's comp or because of the kind of back problem they have? I'm in a similar situation myself, and I'd like to know what to expect.

My insurance company won't pay for an artificial disc replacement because they say the results so far show a poor success rate. What is the current success rate with these implants and how is it measured?

My mother has both chronic back pain and a problem with depression. We keep trying to get her to increase her activity thinking it would help both problems. How can we tell which one of these problems is keeping her so down?

My mother is really suffering with spinal stenosis. She's tried everything from steroid injections to exercise to bracing. She's pretty frail and probably wouldn't tolerate heavy duty surgery. Is there anything else we can try?

I notice a fair number of my workers don't come back to work after back surgery. We lose some good employees this way. Is there anything we can do to help make this happen?

I've heard that disc replacements are possible now. What are my chances for getting one of these?

I've had back pain from an unknown cause for eight years now. With all the new technology, doctors still can't figure out where the pain is coming from. Is it just me or do other patients get this kind of run around?

Four years ago I had a disabling car accident. I haven't been able to go back to work since because of severe back pain. My doctor tells me the pain isn't a sign of harm, and that I can do anything I want to. How can I do that when every movement hurts?

My doctor has referred me to a restoration program for back pain. What can I expect from such a thing?

How can you tell if back pain is a flare-up from a previous problem or a new problem?

I just started a job at a car wash. I've heard that sooner or later everyone hurts their back here from constantly bending over. I really need this job. Is there some way I can keep this from happening or a quick cure if it happens to me?

I work in a canning factory and have been here for 25 years. I notice that lots of people are out for back pain even though the job is not that hard. I often suspect they just don't like their jobs. Is there any evidence to prove that's possible?

I hurt my back on the job. Now I have sciatica and back pain from a ruptured disc. What happens to people like me 10 or 20 years from now? I hate the thought of disability for the rest of my life.

Does anyone know what happens to people after they start having problems with back pain? I've heard that almost everyone will have a backache sometime in their life. I just had my first one. It went away after three weeks. What can I expect now?

My doctor advised me to rest a few days then get back to movement, activity, and work as the best way to beat the back pain I can't seem to shake. I was already exercising three times a week at the health club. Is that enough?

Six months after I got a lumbar disc replacement at L45, I started having serious back and buttock pain. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't walk. I couldn't stand for more than a few minutes. They had to take the new disc out. It was polished smooth where it wasn't supposed to be and pitted and dented where it was supposed to be smooth. What causes something like this to happen?

Three years ago I had a disc removed and replaced with an artificial one. I knew it might not last forever, but I was surprised to find out it already has to be removed. What happens now?

I've been off work four months now due to a low back injury and continued low back pain. I really love my job and want to get back. Should I just go back and take my chances that I can do the work? I'm worried I might re-injure my back and make it worse.

I've heard it said that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it seems the same is true for treating back pain. I went to my doctor who sent me to a special clinic for back pain patients. I must have seen six different people. They said it was a multidisciplinary approach. Are this many people really needed to help me?

My mother hates her job but loves her coworkers. My father loves his job but hates his boss. They both complain about back pain all the time. Is there a possible connection between work and their physical symptoms? Or should I be worried that something more serious is going on?

I work in a manufacturing plant with hundreds of other employees. We just went through a major reorganization and restructuring. No one lost their job but many people were switched around. I notice there's been a lot of people out with back pain the last two weeks. Can switching jobs really cause back pain? The work isn't that physically demanding.

I had my first MRI to diagnose the problem with my low back. There were changes to suggest disc degeneration with a mild disc herniation. The radiologist's report says the changes seen on the MRI are stable. Is it possible for the spine to heal and go back to normal?

After six months of constant back pain, I'm ready to call it quits. I had an MRI when this first all started. It looked like maybe I have a disc problem. I've had no change in my symptoms despite all kinds of treatment. Should I ask for another MRI to see what's going on?

I've seen the Bodyblade advertised as the most efficient tool ever for core training. What can you tell me about this device?

I've had chronic low back pain for 10 months now. My doctor has referred me to a pain management clinic. I think if I could just get a decent night's sleep, I would feel better. Can they do anything to help me sleep better?

I can't seem to stop worrying about my low back pain. The doctor assures me it will go away with time and a few simple, daily exercises. The more I think about my situation, the more I hurt and the worse I feel. What can I do to stop this train of thought?

I've had some problems with low back that I'm trying to figure out. I notice whenever I start to bend it feels like something is clicking or catching. What could be causing this sensation?

In an effort to learn more about my own back pain, I confess I've been surfing the web looking for more information. I've come across several mentions of a clinical practice guideline and clinical prediction rule for patients with low back pain. What are these?

My doctor has suggested I try aerobic exercise to help with my chronic low back pain. I've never really exercised much. What do I do to get started?

I've been told exercise will help boost my happy hormones and help reduce my back pain. I'm not much of an exercise buff. Isn't there a pill I can take that would do the same thing?

What is neurogenic claudication? I've heard the term and know that my mother's doctor told her that's what is causing her back pain.

My father has a very bad case of spinal stenosis. He can't straighten up without extreme back and leg pain. He tends to stand and walk bent over now. Why does standing up hurt him so?

I had a disc removed from my lumbar spine about five years ago. The doctor says it has filled in with scar tissue. That's what's causing the return of my pain. Is it worth it to have another operation to remove the scar tissue? I guess it's wrapped around the nerve, and that's what's causing all the trouble.

Should I have a discectomy? How do I decide? The MRI clearly shows a bad disc but it also shows one that healed several years ago. I didn't have surgery then and it got better. Should I use the same wait-and-see approach now?

There used to be so much hype at work about proper body ergonomics. That seems to have fallen by the wayside. Is it still important?

I just got the results of an MRI on my back. It shows a slight bulge at the L45 disc. My doctor advises exercise to improve the nutrition of the spine. What does nutrition have to do with a bulging disc?

My doctor has told me I have spinal stenosis. That's what's been causing my back pain and problems walking. I understand surgery may be needed. Is there any problem with putting it off? Will delaying the operation make things worse in the end?

My 82-year old mother has been limping along (literally) with spinal stenosis for 10 years now. It's gotten much worse in the last year. Should we encourage her to have the surgery her doctor is recommending?

My father-in-law is planning to have a spinal fusion. He's osteoporotic so he can't donate his own bone needed for the graft. He is going to accept bone from a donor bank. Is there a risk of getting AIDs this way?

I had my lumbar spine fused to prevent the lower vertebrae from slipping forward. I'm seeing a physical therapist for rehab now. I notice that I can still reach forward and touch my toes. Should I really be able to do this when my spine is fused?

Our 17-year old daughter had surgery to fuse the bottom of her spine because L5 was slipping forward over her sacrum. The X-rays show she's had some more slippage since the operation. Is this a sign that the surgery didn't work?

I have lots of friends and family who have back pain that seems to go away with time. Most of these people never see a doctor, so they don't know what's causing the problem. Is there a common problem that causes so much back trouble for so many people?

I went to a physical therapist for my back pain. She tested and measured how my legs moved in and out while I was lying on my stomach. By the time she was done, I felt much better. How is that possible? She never even touched my back.

What is fusion disease? My brother-in-law just emailed me that this is what's causing all his back problems.

I had my L4-5 fused about three years ago. Never felt better until last week. New X-rays show degeneration at L3-4 now. I was warned that the lack of motion at the fused level might take its toll on the next level above. I just didn't think it would happen to me. Should I have L3-4 fused? Or will I just end up with more problems?

I had a spinal fusion some years ago. I hear that people like me can develop a problem called transitional syndrome after fusion. What is that?

I weigh about 400 pounds. Before I can have back surgery, my surgeon wants me to lose at least 100 pounds. I don't really see that 100 pounds could make that much difference. What do you think?

My husband had back surgery two months ago. He is quite overweight but he seemed to do fine. His back pain is better but he developed a nerve palsy after the surgery. What could be causing this new problem?

Why is back pain so common?

Other than pain in my back, what are some of the symptoms for a back injury and is there anything that would tell me I should be worried?

Why is it so easy to hurt your lower back?

How can I keep from hurting my lower back?

My friend and I both have bad backs and both seem to be from our work. She bought a back support for her work chair with her doctor's blessing, but my doctor said it isn't really necessary. Who’s right?

When I read articles about back pain, a lot of them mention depression. Why is that?

Even though I've had a steroid injection in my back before, my doctor says I'm not a good candidate for this now. Should I just go see someone else who will do this for me?

I had a steroid injection into my spine to help relieve severe sciatica. The insurance company denied the claim. They said that sciatica will get better on its own, and steroid injection is not needed. Can I fight this?

My 82-year old mother is doing well but starting to have some back and leg pain. The doctor says it's caused by spinal stenosis. I notice when she bends forward the pain goes away and when she straightens up, it gets worse again. Can you explain why this is?

My father has developed more and more back pain as the years have gone by. He was finally diagnosed with spinal stenosis. The doctor showed us a picture of what's happening in Dad's spine. He mentioned Dad has a tree-shaped spinal canal that may be part of the problem. What is this and how can I tell if I have it too?

My husband and I are planning to travel to Japan. We know they have a custom there of removing their shoes in the homes. My husband has foot drop and must wear a brace and shoe to keep from falling. How do we handle this when it's time to remove the shoes?

I knew I had a bad lumbar disc but I put off having surgery. Now I've developed a drop foot from pressure on the nerve. Did I wait too long?

If I need a disc replacement, how does my doctor decide if I'm a candidate for the surgery?

What can I expect following surgery for disc replacement?

If someone hurts their lower back lifting something heavy, or something like that, will they always have a bad back?

I'm not very physically active. I have a desk job and then in the evening, I'm too tired to do anything. Why is my back sore?

What types of jobs are hardest on your back?

Both my grandparents were told they have spinal stenosis. What is it and what causes it?

My grandmother was diagnosed with spinal stenosis after quite a few years of having back pain. Is there anything her doctor can do for her?

So many people around me have back backs but mine is perfectly fine. Could it be because I'm in better shape?

One day when I woke up, my back was killing me. The thing is though, I didn't do anything that might have hurt it, although I did move some furniture around on the week-end. Could the pain be from a few days ago?

If I have injured my back in a work accident, does that mean it's easier for me to hurt my back again?

Our newspaper had a press release from the National Pain Foundation that said back pain is on the rise in U.S. workers. What's causing this to happen?

It seems like more and more of my work buddies are coming to work complaining of back pain. Is it just because we're all getting older? Am I going to be next?

I've been told that the chronic low back pain I have can actually change the pain circuits in the spinal cord and brain. If that's true, is there any hope I'll ever get back to normal?

I've been going to a new pain clinic that specializes in low back pain. They seem to have the approach that I need to work through the pain. I thought the idea that no pain, no gain was no longer used.

I've been having some trouble with back pain that's affecting my work. We do have a company (occupational) doctor. I'm wondering if I should just go see my regular doctor who knows me better. Do you think it matters?

I've been off work for two weeks because of low back pain. I took my doctor's advice and rested for a day. Then I tried to keep active and move a little bit every hour. I'm ready to go back to work. Should I ease back into it? Or do I just pick up where I left off? That idea makes me more than a little nervous.

I went to see my family doctor for a sudden problem with back pain. She basically held my hand and did nothing. What kind of help is that? Should I go see a specialist? What kind of doctor do you recommend?

My coworkers and I think we need better work stations and help with lifting heavy items. How can we convince our employer to do this for us?

Can you tell me what's the difference between disc herniation and disc protrusion? I saw two different surgeons for an opinion on what's causing my back pain. One told me it is a disc herniation. The other said it was a disc protrusion. Are they the same thing or do I have two different problems?

My doctor is recommending that I have a spinal fusion to help relieve my lower back pain. What can I expect from such a surgery?

Should I exercise after having fusion surgery?

I've been told a steroid injection can help my sciatica but I may still need surgery. Is there any point in getting my back injected if I'm just going to have the surgery anyway?

I had a steroid injection for sciatica caused by a herniated disc. Three weeks later I was in the hospital with meningitis. Is there any connection between the two events?

Okay, so I did everything my doctor told me to do for my back pain. I stayed active. I kept breathing. I took an over-the-counter pain reliever. And I drank water and ate healthy. But I still have back pain. Now what?

Can chiropractic care keep me from becoming a chronic back pain sufferer?

My best friend and I have almost exactly the same symptoms but two different problems. She has numbness and tingling in her feet from diabetes. I have the same kind of feeling but it's from stenosis. She's been taking a new drug called Neurontin and it seems to be helping her. Would this same drug help me?

My employer wants me to return to work, but I'm afraid of how my lower back pain might worsen. What can I do to keep that from happening and how do I know it's safe to return to work?

What is the difference between a bulging disk, a slipped disk, and a herniated disk?

I have several discs that are degenerated or herniated. The idea of a total disc replacement appeals to me. The surgeon tells me only one level will be replaced. How is it decided which level to operate on?

I had a total disc replacement done at L34 about six months ago. The X-rays show the implant has started to sink down into the vertebral bone. What can be done about this?

My favorite aunt is bed-ridden due to a fracture in her spine caused by osteoporosis. She's been in the hospital a week and they are transferring her to a rehab unit. What are her chances for recovery?

Two years ago I had severe, terrible back pain from a large herniated disc. I had surgery and was much better within six weeks. Yesterday I read in the paper where a big study showed that people with disc problems get better just as often without surgery. I'm wondering if I should have just waited it out. But the pain was so bad, I don't know if I could have waited.

The doctor just called me with the results of my MRI. It turns out my low back pain is coming from a disc herniation at L45. I'm supposed to start physical therapy tomorrow. With all the pain I'm in, I'd rather just have surgery. Should I try to convince my doctor to send me to a surgeon? Should I just go get a second opinion myself?

My husband had an operation to remove the disc at L45. He was doing so well afterwards. The pain was much less and he could do things he hasn't done for years. Now all of a sudden, his symptoms are back worse than before. How can that be possible if the disc is gone?

I'm going to have an artificial disc replacement at L45. I've heard terrible stories about surgery like where the patient's wrong foot was amputated. Can anything like that happen during this kind of surgery? I'm a little nervous about it.

I went with my wife to see the surgeon who is planning to do a lumbar disc replacement on her. He showed us the device that will be used. It's made of some kind of chromium and cobalt metal. The thing I don't understand is how such a big implant can fit inside my tiny wife. Is it one-size-fits-all? Also it has a jagged fin on it that looks like a shark. Where does that go?

I'm 88-years old and lived a full life. The last two years I've had some back pain from spinal stenosis. Some days it's pretty bad. My son tells me that his daughter (my granddaughter) has spinal stenosis, too. Could she have gotten it from me? I thought this was an old age thing.

I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. I had spinal fusion four years ago at the L45 level for a large herniated disc. After the operation, I had much more back pain than before the surgery. It lasted months and months before finally going away. Now I need another level fused. I hate the thought of facing the surgery and postoperative back pain. Any suggestions?

My doctor is suggesting that I have back surgery to help my chronic pain. What should I consider before agreeing to it?

I'm going to have surgery on my back and my doctor said he would be using implants. What type of implants do they use and how do they work?

My family has a pretty long history of back pain from disc problems. Would there be any point in having some testing done now while I'm in my 30s to see what shape my discs are in?

Should I or shouldn't I have back surgery for a bad disc? I can't seem to make up my mind. I've heard so many reports that it doesn't matter in the end. I won't be any better or worse off 10 years from now. If that's true, then why bother having the surgery?

I'm thinking about switching jobs at work. But the new job involves much more lifting. Should I avoid this kind of work? Is it bad for my back?

I had surgery to remove a disc at L45 last year. Before that, I did a long program of antiinflammatories and exercises with a physical therapist. I'm still not really back to normal. There are things I don't feel comfortable trying. Sometimes I have back pain for several hours to several days. Will I ever get back to normal?

Why can't my doctor figure out what's causing my back pain? I've had x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans, and no one can seem to tell where it's coming from.

I don't understand it. Every test I had suggested my back pain was coming from the spinal joints. But when I had a steroid injection, nothing happened. I still have the same pain. What happened?

I went on-line and saw there are international guidelines recommending physical therapy treatment for chronic back pain suffers. What can this kind of treatment do for me?

Well, I failed physical therapy for my back problem. The drugs I'm taking don't work. What else can I do? I can't live with this pain the rest of my life.

I've heard that having a spinal fusion just causes the next level to deteriorate. Is there any way to keep this from happening?

My brother is going to have a spinal fusion alot like I did two years ago. The main difference is my surgery was done from the front. He says his surgeon is going to open him up from the back. Is this something new? How is it decided which way to do this operation?

There seem to be so many different types of back injuries. What are the main reasons that a back is hurt?

I've been reading that bedrest is no longer recommended for back pain. Why?

I'm just starting back to regular exercise after having a disc removed at L5-S1. What kind of exercise is best?

My doctor showed me the MRI of my spine. There was an obvious dent in my spinal cord from a disc pushing against it. She said it was good that the signal intensity wasn't very intense. What does that mean?

I've got a brand spanking new titanium cage in my spine. I feel like the start of the bionic man. All kidding aside, do they make these cages out of any other material? Just curious.

Whenever I see the doctor or physical therapist, they always do the same test on me: they lift my leg up off the table. I notice that sometimes this test is done while I'm lying down and sometimes when I'm sitting up. What is it they are testing? Is one of them doing it wrong?

I've been having sciatic pain for quite some time now. Would there be any benefit to getting an MRI to find out what's going on?

My doctor thinks deconditioning causes some of my chronic back pain. I've been advised to start a general exercise program to combat this. What is deconditioning really?

My uncle hurt his back at work but refuses to slow down. We're worried he's going to re-injure himself. What can we say that might convince him?

I've been treated by numerous health care professionals for chronic low back pain. Each one seems to have their own forms to fill out. There's always a bunch of questions about the pain. Sometimes they ask me what I can and can't do. They tell me these questionnaires are important to track my progress. Wouldn't it be better if everyone used the same methods to measure progress?

I'm going to a pain clinic now to try and help me with my chronic low back pain. Everyone seems convinced that the answer is exercise. I like to exercise and I always have, but it doesn't really seem to make a difference in my level of pain. How come I'm not getting the same results as everyone else?

What kind of exercise is best for a bad back? Everyone tells me to stay active and exercise. They say that's the best medicine. But what does that really mean?

Back in the early 1980s, I had chymopapain treatments for a herniated disc. It seemed to do the trick. I haven't had any trouble since then. Now my daughter has some back pain. When I asked around, there's no one doing this treatment any more. What happened?

Well, I had three steroid injections for a disc problem that didn't go away. I've tried acupuncture, exercise, and massage therapy with no success. If I have surgery, what would they do?

About a year ago, I had the disc at L5-S1 replaced because of degenerative disc disease. I was hoping this operation would help me keep all of my natural motion. The latest tests show that I only got about half the normal motion back. Is there any explanation for this?

I'm starting to understand the idea of evidence-based medicine. What's the best evidence about spinal fusion for degenerative spondylolisthesis? I'm facing this problem myself right now.

Well, I really blew it. I had a total disc replacement about three months ago. I went back to work as a construction laborer. The disc replacement shifted out of its spot when I was lifting a heavy load. I'm waiting to see the surgeon now. What's the next step?

My aging mother needs to have some surgery for her spinal stenosis. Evidently there's enough arthritis and bone spurs built up around the joints in her low back that the discs and joints are being destroyed. The situation has recently gotten worse as the L4 vertebra has slipped forward. Just what do they do for this problem?

I understand there are two types of artificial discs available now in the United States. How do i decide which one to choose?

I'm only 42-years old but I played football for 20 of those years. My L45 disc has been damaged beyond repair. I'm thinking about going for the new disc replacements that are available. Do they hold up long enough to see me through the rest of my years?

I admit I'm a young manager in a busy blue-collar industry. But I expect my workers to come back to work as soon as possible after an injury. Others tell me to save my energy and write them off as early retirees on disability. Is there an industry standard on this?

What is a lumbrosacral radicular syndrome?

I've been doctoring for sciatica for six months now. It doesn't seem to be getting better. Where should I go for a second opinion?

After I had my hip replaced, I noticed that my back stopped aching. Is it just a coincidence or is there some connection?

I'm 82-years old and thinking about having spinal surgery. My surgeon has advised me to have a fusion for degenerative scoliosis in my lower back. I just can't help but wonder if I'm too old for this sort of operation. On the other hand, I could live another 20 years. I don't want to suffer 20 more years of back pain. What should I do?

I had fusion surgery for a slipped vertebra. My back pain got better but I still have a nagging case of sciatica. Would it have helped if the surgeon took the disc out? Isn't that what's pressing on the nerve?

I am looking into the possibility of having spinal fusion for severe lumbar scoliosis. I practice a religion that does not allow blood transfusions. My surgeon tells me blood loss is a possible complication of this procedure. Should I just give up on the idea and just learn to live with the pain?

I'm trying to apply for disability from a bad back. The doctor's notes in my medical records says I have a functional disability. What does that mean?

Is there any chance back pain can be genetic? Both my twin sister and I suffer from chronic low back pain. We have similar types of jobs with a lot of sitting, so maybe that's it instead.

Why do disc problems cause pain in some people but not in others?

My father is taking part in a study of older adults with chronic low back pain. We're noticing he's having significantly less pain now that his mental abilities are starting to slip. Should we notify the people running the study? It seems that something like this could really skew their results.

I'm 52-years old and starting to have some back pain that won't go away. It's really taking a toll on what I can and can't do. I notice that my 83-year old aunt, who has had chronic low back pain for the past 10 years, complains about the pain but gets along without any apparent difficulty. How do you explain this?

Whatever happened to the Back Schools that were so popular for people with back pain?

After months of back pain, I finally turned myself into the doctor for help. All the medical tests were negative, so I was tested by a team of rehab specialists. They felt I would benefit more from psychologic counseling than from an intensive physical training program. I don't think I have a mental problem. What good is this counseling going to do?

I see these new low-heat wraps you can buy at the pharmacy. I've been thinking about using it for my back pain. But I thought you weren't supposed to use heat for more than 20 minutes. These heatwraps last up to eight hours. Can I use it safely?

What's best for low back pain? Should I take ibuprofen? Use heat? Ice? I don't think there's anything seriously wrong with me, but I need some relief from this constant, nagging backache.

My doctor and the physical therapist who is treating me both think my low back pain is coming from the spinal joint. What's the best treatment for a problem like this?

I'm having some pain in my low back (just on one side). Usually I can put my finger right on the spot. But sometimes it seems to move up or down a little. A few times, I could feel the pain clear to my knee. Is this a sign that the nerve is getting pinched or what?

Fear-avoidance beliefs (FABs) is a fairly new concept. But it's one that researchers have validated as real and potentially harmful. FAB is the notion that activity and/or movement is going to cause more pain and reinjury in someone with low back pain (LBP). Studies are being done to see if this same idea applies to neck pain as well.

I hurt my back on the job last week. The occupational physician at our worksite has encouraged me to keep working and stay active. My own family doctor advises rest and avoiding any movement or activities that make the pain worse. Now I don't know what to do. Which way should I go?

I am a second-generation Asian American. My grandmother lives with us and needs surgery for her back. After years of working in a stooped position, she can no longer stand up straight. The surgeon is going to fuse her lower back from the front and the back. How does this help the problem of being stooped over?

What is the flat back syndrome? My grandmother has this condition, and it's causing her to get more stooped over.

My physical therapist thinks traction is the best treatment for the kind of back pain I'm having. What if this doesn't work? Then what?

I've been teaching core training in my exercise classes. What's the latest theory behind why these exercises help people with back pain?

When I want to relieve my back pain, I go see my chiropractor. After one or two adjustments, I'm back to normal. What does that treatment really do in there?

I don't have back pain but there is a spot that is just plain stiff. Are there any exercises I can do to loosen this up?

I just got the results from my MRI back. It showed that my spinal canal was more than 13 mm across (diameter). That doesn't mean anything to me but the doctor said, I probably don't have back pain from spinal stenosis. What else could be causing my pain?

My older brother just emailed me that his low back pain is from spinal stenosis. I'm having some back pain, too. Is this a hereditary condition? Should I get checked?

Can you tell me what is flatback syndrome?

I am an Asian American, born and raised in the U.S. My grandparents are still in China and continue to work in the fields despite old age and poor health. Grandmother is especially frail with a very stooped posture. Should I try and convince her to come here for surgery? I understand a spinal fusion could really help her.

I'm thinking about having surgery to fuse my spine because of a disabling scoliosis. Is there a one-size-fits-all type of operation for this problem? Do I need to see more than one surgeon to find out what my options are?

I had scoliosis as a teenager but never could afford to have it treated. Now that I'm an adult with health care coverage, should I have surgery to fuse the spine?

I just came back from the doctor's office. She showed me the MRI of my spine. I have an oddly shaped canal where the spinal cord goes through. It looks like I was born with this, but as I get older, it's starting to cause a problem called spinal stenosis. My doctor is referring me to a neurosurgeon. But what can a surgeon do about a condition I've had since birth?

My very sweet grandmother has a condition called degenerative spinal stenosis. When I looked on the internet, I found out there is a surgery that can be done for this problem. But her doctor says she's not a good candidate for the operation. She's in so much pain. Is there something else that can be done for her?

What are some of the advantages to disc replacement over lumbar fusion.

I have been shopping for a lumbar support to use while sitting at my computer. Do they really help?

I am going to have an epidural tomorrow in my lower lumbar spine. I signed a paper approving the use of a special X-ray but now I'm wondering if I did the right thing. They told me it would have a higher dose of radiation but it gives the surgeon a better view in there. Did I do the right thing?

As my parents age, I see them with more pain in their backs. It's not from lifting and stuff or arthritis, just pain. Do the backs get more fragile as people age?

Is back pain inevitable as we age?

I had surgery for spinal stenosis six months ago. I suppose I should be thankful that my back pain is all gone. I can walk now without stopping every few feet. I do have some residual numbness and weakness on that side that I'm not happy about. Is there anything that can be done about this?

I have always been very active and in good shape. Now at age 72, I find out I have spinal stenosis. How can this happen when I exercise every day, eat right, and take good care of myself?

I am the general manager of a rehab department. We are located in a large hospital. We are starting to look into developing a multidisciplinary team approach to chronic low back pain. Everything I've read suggests that this type of treatment is expensive but worth it. How do I justify the cost to upper management?

What does it mean when they say multidisciplinary treatment works for chronic back pain sufferers? I've had back pain for years. Maybe something like this would work for me.

I started having back pain about two years ago. The doctor says its mechanical and nothing is seriously wrong with me. When I do the exercises the therapist gave me, the pain goes away. But if I miss more than a week, it comes right back. Isn't there some way to get past this stage?

My mother-in-law has a herniated disc at L45. She's in quite a bit of pain. But she doesn't want to have any invasive treatment (like injections or surgery). What are her other options?

Seems like I'm getting a stiff low back as I get older. I thought staying active would prevent this from happening. Should I try some other type of activity? I hunt, fish, golf, and swim at least three to five times a week.

My mother had two epidural injections and then six weeks of therapy for her chronic back pain. When the doctor asked her how she was doing, she said she was much better. We don't really see that she's any better. It seemed like she was just trying to please the doctor. Should we intervene and let them know?

I admit my father is a bit of a complainer. He's had back pain for so long, we've stopped listening to him complain about it. But now we found out that there may be something seriously wrong with him. Shouldn't the doctor have been able to see this sooner than later?

After months of back and leg pain, all of a sudden it seems I need surgery. The decision seems a bit rushed, so I'm wondering if it's really necessary. How do I weigh the pros and cons of this decision?

Is it possible to be allergic to a metal implant? I had a titanium plate put in my lumbar spine as part of a spinal fusion. It had to be removed six months later because it came loose. The pathology report said it was scratched and corroded.

My chronic back pain makes me feel depressed and then I don't want to do anything. My doctor says I have to try to take my mind off my pain, but that's easier said than done. What can I do?

When is back pain considered to be chronic?

I have a lot of pain in my lower back from an injury many years ago. At one point, my doctor wanted to put me on antidepressants, which I refused because I wasn't depressed. Now he wants me to go for meditation and therapy. It's not in my head and I'm not depressed. How is this supposed to help me? Does he think I'm imagining it?

Why is lower back pain so common these days?

I hurt my back in a horseback riding accident two years ago. I ended up with chronic low back pain that no one could figure out. I went to doctor after doctor. I had one test after another. When they couldn't figure out what was wrong, I was told that it was all in my head. I finally found someone who would do surgery. I'm much better now. Why does this run around happen to so many people (myself included)?

I am a nurse working with chronic back pain patients. The latest approach is to treat these patients with a biopsychosocial approach. We pay attention to the social and psychologic factors when offering specific treatments. If this is really accurate, then how do we explain those patients who get better with surgery?

I'm looking into having an artificial disc replacement instead of a spinal fusion. I see there are different types of devices used for the replacement. Some are all metal. Some have plastic in them. Does it really make a difference what kind is used?

So many of my friends in their 50s are having disc breakdowns. Their doctors tell them they have degenerative disc disease (DDD). Does this happen to everyone in their 50s? I'm only 45, and I'm not looking forward to gimping around like so many of my friends.

I had a spinal fusion two years ago that worked pretty well. I remember having a great deal of pain after the surgery. I'm scheduled to have another fusion at a different spot in my spine. Is there any way to get around the post-operative pain?

When should I give up on regular medical treatment for my back pain and try therapy to try and manage it?

I know that some drugs are stronger than others, but why does something like morphine help my pain but the non-addicting stuff doesn't?

If my back doesn't get better soon, I won't be able to work. What can I do to help my back heal?

I see lots of research being done for back pain, but I don't see any results. Why are there so many studies but not much progress in treatment?

There are so many types of treatments available for back pain; how do we know which one will work for us?

Should I spend a lot of money on the equipment that is supposed to make my back stronger to keep my back from hurting so much?

I have had lower back pain for a long time and the treatments I have tried aren't helping. I want to try a chiropractor but I've heard bad things about them. Should I try anyway?

My doctor recommended that I get massages for my sore back, but the one time I tried it, my back hurt more after than it did before. Should I go again?

When I hurt my back a while ago, I was confused as to who should treat me. My family doctor said she could treat me, but then sent me to an orthopedic surgeon when things didn't improve. My sister, on the other hand, sees an anesthesiologist for her pain. Who is the right person to treat back pain?

I am seeing my doctor for back pain but would like to try acupuncture too. Is it ok to do both?

My buddy and I are both emergency medical technicians (EMTs). We also both hurt our back while on-the-job. Medical testing didn't show any real injury, so we were released back to work. I'm doing okay but he seems to believe something serious is wrong with him. He can't do half of what he could do before the injury. How do I help this guy get over the mental hump here?

I've had chronic low back pain for years. My daughter was helped by a treatment called the McKenzie method. Could this help me too?

I'm looking for an exercise program to help with my low back pain. So far it seems like everything I've tried just makes me worse. What can you suggest?

Can you tell me how homeopathic treatments might be able to help me with my back pain? I've had several friends who swear by these treatments. But they aren't covered by my insurance. I'm a little hesitant to try them.

I went to see a naturopathic doctor for help with my back pain. At first I tried a pepper cream that caused too many side effects. Now I have something called Devil's claw to try. What can you tell me about this product?

I've been referred to a pain clinic that offers a special program called functional restoration. But when I checked with my insurance company, they said they don't cover those services. Is there some way I can get them to change their minds?

My father had three spine surgeries that failed. Now he's in terrible pain and very deconditioned. The family wants him to get into some kind of exercise program but his doctor is steering him to a psychologist. Is there any proof that psychologic counseling will help him cope with his situation? Wouldn't it be better to get him up on his feet and moving?

My doctor suggested I see a physical therapist and try using some traction for my back pain. Is this covered by insurance?

I'm seeing a physical therapist for traction to the low back area. She told me it would take a few sessions to find out what kind of traction might work best for me. I thought traction was where they put you on the table, apply a harness, and the machine pulls. What other kinds are there?

My brother is finally seeing a pain specialist to help him with his chronic low back pain. He's been months monkeying around trying one thing and another. How do these specialists figure out what to do for him if everything else has failed?

Well, I've finally given in and started taking a narcotic drug for my back pain. I hated to do it but nothing else seemed to help. How long can I stay on this drug before I get addicted?

I've been working with a physical therapist who specializes is mobilization and manual therapy techniques. The goal is to break the pain-spasm cycle that is causing my low back pain. It seems to help but it doesn't last. It feels as though if I could just relax enough during the session, we could really get somewhere with this treatment. Is there a pill or something I could take that would help?

I've heard that spinal manipulation under anesthesia can help people like me. I have chronic back pain and loss of spinal motion. How does this treatment work? Would I qualify?

I went to my doctor because my lower back had been hurting for a few weeks. He checked me and then said that we'd keep an eye on it. What kind of treatment is that? He didn't prescribe anything for me.

With so many ways to treat chronic back pain, how do doctors decide what method to use?

My mother has had back pain for a very long time. For years, her doctor wanted her to try an antidepressant but she was reluctant to do so. She finally started taking one about 6 months ago and her pain is almost gone. How can an antidepressant help a physical pain?

Can giving a medication for one disorder other than what it is originally for cause problems in the long run? I'm thinking this because I take a pill for seizures for my lower back pain. I'm afraid that something may happen and make me prone to seizures or something.

How exactly should you lift something heavy without hurting your back?

I saw an advertisement for a Roman chair. It said experts recommend use of the Roman chair for anyone with back pain, especially chronic low back pain. That's definitely me. What can you tell me about this device?

I'd like to strengthen my back muscles. What kind of exercises should I do? Do I need any special equipment?

I've been seeing an osteopathic physician for chronic low back pain. He is suggesting a treatment called prolotherapy. I understand the procedure and how it's supposed to work. What if it doesn't help? Could I end up worse than before the treatment?

I'm going to have prolotherapy tomorrow to my low back area. I know they use needles to inject a liquid into the back. Is it a painful procedure? What should I expect?

I have a disc herniation on one side of my low back. I can have the disc removed or replaced. Is it possible to just have the surgeon snip off the part of the disc that's a problem and leave the rest? I don't really know if this is the sort of question I can even ask. Why do they have to take the whole thing out?

I had a disc removed from my low back about two years ago. It's been nothing but trouble since then. I thought this operation was supposed to help. What went wrong?

I'm having severe low back pain that goes down my leg. The MRI shows the disc at L45 is pressing on the nerve root. My doctor doesn't think surgery is needed. I'm supposed to go to PT instead. How come?

Is there any harm in having the inside of a protruding disc removed? My doctor has suggested I consider having this kind of a procedure. I've been told there's a good chance it could ease my back and leg pain.

I have a disc herniation at L45. It's causing me considerable back and leg pain. Exercises haven't helped. Should I have it taken out?

A friend of mine at work has suggested I try an intense training program he went through in order to get back to work after a long bout of low back pain. Our insurance doesn't cover it. He assures me it was worth it. Is something like this really worth the money?

I'm going to have a spinal fusion done from L2 to L4. The surgeon is going to use bone graft and metal plates and screws. I'm a little worried about the idea of screws in my spine. What if they hit something vital?

I had scoliosis as a kid. It hasn't bothered me much as an adult. But now I'm starting to notice more and more low back pain. Is there a connection?

I hate my job and feel trapped by my lack of money. Now I'm starting to have back pain. I used to have scoliosis as a kid. Am I just having a stress reaction? Or could it be the scoliosis coming back?

I just found out I have a posterolateral disc extrusion. I guess there are all kinds of ways the disc can herniate. How does mine compare to others?

I saw a special pamphlet for patients having spinal fusion that my doctor gave me. There was a picture of the patient face down on an operating table but in a kneeling position. This seems odd to me. Why don't they just put me flat on my belly when they operate?

My husband is a very large man (almost 300 pounds). He's going to have spine surgery to fuse his low back at L45. The surgical nurse told us he would be placed face down during the operation. He's never on his stomach because it's so uncomfortable. How is this going to work?

My doctor wants to inject my back with a pain killer or steroid for my back pain, which he says is caused by degenerative lumbar spinal stenosis. What is involved in having a shot in your back?

I am considering allowing my doctor to do a guided epidural injection into my back because the pain is unbelievable. What are some of the side effects that could happen?

I'm recovering from a back injury that occurred last year. I missed an entire season of hunting where I live in Montana. I may try to do a little practicing for bow hunting. I'm wondering about picking up my bow and trying a few arrows. Is this a dangerous activity for someone with back pain?

I'm just getting back to an exercise program after months of being laid up with back pain. What's a good way to return to strength-training without reinjuring myself?

I had a balloon kyphoplasty that seemed to work at first but then later, the spine collapsed again. Was there anything that could have been done differently to make this work better?

My wife has just been hospitalized with a burst compression fracture. There is some neurologic damage and deterioration. They are planning to operate. What are the changes of recovery from the paralysis?

I'm a nurse newly located in Alaska. Working with Alaskan natives, I've found a large number of people with painful low back symptoms from spondylolysis. Is there a reason for this?

I have a tiny nondisplaced fracture at L45, but I'm told there is a false joint there. Just exactly what is a false joint? How does it work?

Our family is trying to help both our parents with health concerns. They have both been diagnosed with stenosis in the low back. What's the best treatment for this problem? At their ages (80 and 82), they don't want surgery. What are the other options?

Is surgery helpful for spinal stenosis? I have back pain severe enough to consider even going to such extremes.

My uncle is an older gentleman, retired after 42 years as a chiropractor. He's having a significant amount of low back pain that goes into his buttocks and down his thigh. He insists it's just mechanical low back pain and not to worry. I am worried. What is mechanical pain anyway? What if it's something serious?

I'm 55-years-old and newly diagnosed with spondylolisthesis. I've never been overly active or involved in sports. How could I get something like this?

I've always had a fairly flat low back. Now my back is giving out on me. I've seen a surgeon who advises having a fusion at L45. Will this give me a more angled (swayback) result?

I had a fusion at L45 two years ago. The follow-up X-rays show some deterioration at the L34 level. I'm not having any pain or problems. Does this mean I'll eventually need another fusion?

Our grandmother is 82-years-old and having surgery to fuse her spine because of a problem called stenosis. We are all a little worried that she's really too old to be having surgery. Is this really going to help?

My father is having back surgery to take the pressure off his nerves and then fuse his spine. He has something called spinal stenosis. I'm trying to find out everything I can about the operation before he has it. Why can't they just remove the bone and leave it be? Is the fusion really needed? It just seems like more surgery to me.

Tumor necrosis factor a, TNFa, is an inflammatory mediator that has been shown to be elevated in patients with low back pain. Is there a treatment available for it?

If my TNFa level is elevated and I have back pain, will it decrease when my back pain goes away?

I have chronic low back pain and wonder if a different mattress or type of bed would be beneficial.

My friend with chronic low back pain raves about her new body conforming mattress. Is it possible that it could make that much of a difference?

Will there ever be a cure for back pain?

I have chronic low back pain from a herniated disc. I asked my surgeon about having a disc replacement. She just said that I wasn't a good candidate for that procedure. Who is?

I am a worker's comp case with chronic work-related low back pain. I've been looking into getting a disc replacement. Are worker's comp patients even considered for this type of operation?

How does it work when a bone graft is used in spinal fusion? Does the bone they take from my hip and put in the spine cause hip bone cells to form? Does it matter so long as they are bone cells? What about the new substitute bone graft material that's available? How does that make bone cells?

My brother is a recovering alcoholic. He's going to have back surgery next week. The nurse told him he would be given a pain pump to use for the first 24-hours. This is supposed to allow him to control his pain. When he needs more pain meds, he just pushes the button. Is this really a good idea for someone who already has a history of addiction?

I'm a nurse on a med-surg floor. I often have patients who have had a microdiscectomy. We give them a patient-controlled analgesic pump to use for pain control during the first 24-hours. Some patients can't seem to get enough to control their pain. Others hardly use any at all. I know people have different pain sensitivities, but is there more to it than that?

I had a lumbar spinal fusion from L3 to L5. The X-ray shows that one side took better than the other. I don't feel any different from one side to the other. Should I?

What should we do? Our 93-year old grandma has constant back pain. How can we help her?

I am seeking the services of an acupuncturist for chronic low back pain. But I'm finding that some people trained in acupuncture have other skills as well. Some are also naturopaths or massage therapists. Is it better to see someone who just does one thing (acupuncture)? Or is it better to see someone who could do a variety of treatments?

How common is lower back pain? It seems like everyone I know has a bad back.

I have chronic lower back pain and my doctor wants me to go for TENS. What is that and how does it work?

After my laminectomy, I had a bone graft fusion at the L45 level. It's been 12 months, and the X-ray shows there is still some movement at that level. Does this mean the surgery was a failure?

Despite going to yoga, Pilates, and meuromuscular integrative action (NIA) classes, I still have chronic low back pain. What else can I do to get over this?

Many people feel that back surgery should be a last resort. Is it different for cauda equina syndrome?

What are the causes and symptoms of cauda equina syndrome?

I've been warned that my upcoming back surgery (laminectomy) may not relieve my back pain. It's more likely to help with the leg pain. Does this seem right?

What's the difference between a laminotomy and a foraminotomy? I have spinal stenosis and the surgeon says these two procedures might be helpful with the back and leg pain I'm having.

I've been a chronic back pain sufferer off and on almost all my life. I've heard that medical marijuana can help someone like me. What can you tell me about this?

I've had chronic back and leg pain for the last 10 years. I also smoke. My doctor wants me to quit smoking but I'm afraid it will make me gain weight. That would not be good for my back. What do the experts advise?

I feel terrible. My neck and back hurt, my head aches, and I'm constantly tired. My adult children want me to see their chiropractor. I'd rather just wait and see if it goes away. What's the best thing to do, really?

I've had scoliosis of my spine my whole adult life. It has gradually gotten worse and worse. I'm going to have surgery to fuse the entire lumbar spine to the sacrum and up to T10. How can I tell if it's too late to even bother?

My aging mother lives with us now. We are seeing some gradual changes (decline) in her ability to walk and get around. She's most bothered by her lumbar stenosis. She can't really have the surgery they suggested for her spine because of too many problems. I've heard you can get some kind of IV treatment for this problem. What is that?

Years ago I was in a Back School program that really seemed to help. I recently re-injured my back but there was no mention at the clinic about Back School. Has it gone out of favor now?

I'm going to a clinic that specializes in the care and treatment of patients with chronic low back pain. I'm scheduled to see a clinical psychologist. I know I'm not mentally unbalanced. And it's for sure this back pain isn't all in my head. What's a shrink going to tell me that I don't already know?

I just had my annual physical complete with X-rays to check on my L4-5 lumbar fusion. It looks like the level above is starting to go now. I don't have any pain or symptoms. I would never have known this was happening without the X-ray. Should I just ignore it? Or is it best to have it fused before it starts causing problems?

I saw the X-ray report on my back surgery. It says I have "adjacent segment disease." What does that mean? I'm three years out from having a spinal fusion and starting to notice some low back and leg pain. That's why they took a new X-ray.

I've had two herniated discs and three back operations. The last X-ray showed the next disc has dried up and gone hard. I figured I was safe from any more herniations. But guess what? I was wrong. Is this a common problem or am I just the lucky one in the bunch?

I wish I had never had back surgery. I was in pain back then and couldn't see my way out of a paper bag. But now I have worse back pain, leg pain, and I'm on my way to a full-blown disability. Why don't they warn us that this could happen?

I am a store manager with three employees out on medical leave for back problems. Two of those are work-related. When I spoke with them, it seemed to me that they see their pain as keeping them from their work. I always grew up with the idea that you worked through your pain. What's the current thinking on this?

What's the latest thinking on lifting techniques? I was once taught to squat, stick my bottom out, and lift with my legs. Is this still the best way to avoid back injuries?

I am a retired physical therapist who now has a son who is a doctor of physical therapy. Everything has changed so much since I was in practice 50 years ago. I understand that back pain is being viewed completely differently now. Can you catch me up to speed on this? I'd like to be able to converse with my son on the topic without seeming too ancient.

I found out I have a small bone spur pressing on my L5 spinal nerve. So far, I just have a few twinges of back pain, nothing serious. What can I expect to happen if this gets worse?

I'm 82-years-old. When I was 77, I had a roto-rooter surgery on my spine to make room for the nerves. I had pretty good pain relief but it seems to be starting up again. Am I too old to have it done again?

Is there any proof that steroid injections work for lumbar disc problems? I'd take a needle poke over surgery any day.

I am several hundred pounds overweight. I have a bad back from a herniated disc, so I can't exercise. As a result, I keep gaining weight. Even though I'm considered obese, could I qualify for surgery to remove this disc problem?

After months of sciatic pain, I finally caved and had surgery. My surgeon assured me that this is not uncommon, but I still felt like a failure. How often do patients give up on therapy and go for the surgery?

I've just been diagnosed with lumbosacral radicular syndrome. Isn't this just a fancied up phrase for the old sciatica my father used to complain about?

My doctor suggested that I have a steroid injection into my coccyx due to sudden onset of pain. Is this common?

What can cause coccydynia?

My wife went to the doctor because of low back and leg pain. She came home with a neck problem she didn't even know she had. They say she has stenosis in both places. What happens next?

I'm going to have a microdiscectomy next week for a herniated disc at L45. The pre-op papers say that one of the problems that can occur is excess scar tissue. Why is that a problem? It seems like scar tissue would help support the spine where other tissues have been removed. What am I missing here?

I had a very small amount of disc material removed from the L3-4 area of my lumbar spine. I ended up with more scar tissue than disc. My symptoms are worse now than they ever were before the operation. Does this happen very often? And why does the body make so much scar tissue?

I am the captain of a combined police and fire fighting force in a small community. If anyone is out on injury or disability, it affects our ability to respond to calls. The biggest problem we have is with back pain. Sometimes the men develop low back pain without even any obvious or apparent injury. What's the best way to get someone back to health and ready for work?

Our daughter was deployed to Iraq but came back home on disability with a back injury. She is required to attend daily physical therapy and exercise sessions. We're concerned that what she really needs is rest. Should we say something?

My wife is having some disc problems in the lumbar spine. Her orthopedic surgeon has suggested trying some physical therapy before thinking about surgery. There are several clinics in our area. Should we go for the clinic with the most experienced therapists? Or is it better to see someone who specializes in back pain no matter how long they've been at it?

I've had two episodes of low back pain in the last five years. The first time I saw a physical therapist and made a very fast recovery. This time I was seen by a physical therapist assistant. My recovery has been much slower. Is there a big difference between the therapist and the assistant?

My father has been complaining of back pain off and on for several years now. He's quite dramatic sometimes and I feel that if he would stop dwelling on the pain, he would be able to do more. He says I don't believe him. Can his attitude be hurting him?

When I hurt my back last year, my doctor saw me regularly as I was recovering. She kept asking me if I was depressed or anxious about returning to work. It got to the point that I was wondering if she thought I was making up my back pain or if I was nuts. What should I say to her next time she asks me?

I'm having spinal surgery to fuse my lumbar spine at L45 next week. I went in for my pre-op with the nurse today. She told me I would be able to take a survey after the operation to decide if it was all worth it in the end. How can a survey figure that out?

I read an article that talked about improving quality of life after having spine surgery to fuse the lumbar spine. I don't think my quality of life is so bad, but I do have a lot of pain from degenerative spine disease. How does a person decide when it's worth having surgery as opposed to just living with the pain?

I was just diagnosed with my second lumbar disc herniation. The first one was at L45. This one is higher up around L23. I was able to see a physical therapist for the first one and avoid surgery. What are the chances I can do that again with this one?

I've had surgery for a disc herniation at L45. But now I'm having some strange new symptoms I've never had before. Besides back pain, there's thigh pain, and I'm having trouble getting up and down stairs. Come to think of it, I have a little trouble getting out of a chair after sitting too long. Could this be from a disc?

I've been dinking around trying to treat my back and leg pain for months now. The MRI showed a herniated disc at L45. Should I just cave in and have surgery?

I don't have health insurance. So please tell me what I can do to treat a mild disc herniation without surgery.

My husband has had chronic back pain for the last five years. I'm trying to figure out if being sympathetic is helpful or making things worse. Should I express concern or ignore him when he makes signs like he is in pain?

My wife had a brain aneurysm that was about to burst. They removed it surgically. Then she got a leak of the spinal fluid. They are trying to feed a drain through a catheter to help take the fluid out, but it's not working. I'm scared for her. What else can be done?

Is there any benefit to wearing a brace after spinal fusion? I have one but it's hot, doesn't fit well, and doesn't seem to do a thing for me.

Mother had spinal fusion surgery at three levels in her low back. She didn't have any problems coming out of the surgery. They put her in a rigid back brace that limited her motion. And then she threw a blood clot in her lungs. We think it was because of the brace. Is there any way to prove it?

I work as a certified midwife and try to keep up with all the new information on orthopedic concerns for women. What's the latest on diastasis these days?

My 88-year old mother says she feels her pelvis clunk when she stands on one leg. She says it doesn't hurt but it feels unstable. Have you ever heard of something like this in the older adult? Does it mean anything to you?

I'm a 45-year-old man and have had back pain for a few years now. I have a sit down desk job and exercise when I can. My dad was a farmer all his life and never once complained of anything like back pain. Have we become a weaker generation?

I read that ergonomics helps you avoid back pain rather than be strong enough so that you don't get back pain. Is this true?

How come doctors can't tell the difference between a regular back ache and one that won't go away after a while?

I have a high stress job and my back has been killing me. Can you give me some tips to keep my back from getting sore when I'm at work? I sit at a desk most of the day.

Is it okay to have acupuncture for back pain? I'm already seeing my chiropractor, but a friend told me how much he was helped by acupuncture so I thought I would try it.

What do you think about acupuncture for the treatment of low back pain?

I usually operate under the good enough theory. If I can find the information I need on the Internet, it's good enough. But with my ongoing back pain and problems, this hasn't worked. I've read everything I can find, I've tried all the exercises, I'm just not getting better. What do you recommend?

Back in the 1970s, I hurt my back and the doctor sent me to back school. It was a series of eight or 10 sessions with a physical therapist who taught me proper posture, good work and sleep habits. She gave me lots of information, help, and support. Now my son has hurt his back. When I suggested he find a back school program, he said they don't exist anymore. Is that true?

My mother has a herniated disc in her lower back. Her doctor said surgery is up to her. He wants her to have it, but she's pretty sure that if she tries hard at physio and stuff, she'll manage. How should she decide what to do?

I went to a pain clinic yesterday for the first time. I've been having months and months of sacroiliac joint pain that hasn't responded to anything I've tried. The doctor wants me to take an antidepressant. She says it's not because I'm depressed, but because it might help as a nerve moderator. I don't want to take drugs. Are there any other choices?

I had an injection into my sacroiliac joint that seemed to help but the effects didn't last. Should I try it again?

I hurt my back in a horse back riding accident. Even though they say you should get right back on the horse, I ended up in the emergency room and never had a chance to do it. Now, I can hardly bend or twist without pain -- there's no way I can get back on my horse. Will this eventually get better? I hope so (and sooner than later before I lose my courage all together).

I was coming along fine in my physical therapy program for back pain. Then a new therapist saw me and added a program called graded exposure. He wanted me to start doing things that I'm afraid will increase my pain. Sure enough, I got much worse again. My regular therapist thinks there's some value in trying this new approach. Is she just covering for this other guy? I don't want to seem uncooperative, but I don't want to get worse either.

My aging father had a car accident (his fault) and suffered a burst fracture at the L1 vertebra. The doctors say he won't need surgery -- just a few weeks on bedrest, then a brace, and rehab to recover strength and mobility. Does this sound like the right plan to you? Why wouldn't they do surgery if the bone is fractured?

I had to have a CT scan done on my abdomen to look for an aneurysm. Fortunately, there was nothing there. But they did find some severe arthritis in the low back area. I don't have any pain or symptoms that I'm aware of. Why not?

My surgeon has approved me for surgery to replace a disc at the L45 level. I'm planning to work right up until the day of surgery. My wife is concerned that I should take a break from work and rest before the operation. Does it matter either way?

I wanted to get a disc replacement for a bad disc at L45, but the surgeon said that I was too old, too fat, and too retired. Well, he didn't put it quite that way, but that was the take home message I got. So, who can get one of these new discs?

My father never hurt his back in his life, he was active and healthy. Now, his doctor is telling him that his severe back pain is being caused by dying discs. What does that mean?

I hurt my back over a year ago and my doctor said I'd be fit to go back to work in a month or two if my boss changed my job for a while. I don't want to ask that because he might just fire me. Is changing jobs really going to make a difference in the long run?

I'm so discouraged. I hurt my back a week ago and it's not getting any better. Am I going to become one of those people who is always complaining about a sore back now?

I've been seeing an osteopathic physician for the last six months for chronic low back pain. She wants me to see a physical therapist now and maybe even an acupuncturist. I'm wondering if she's run out of ideas to help me. Should I find another doctor?

Mom had a sacral tumor removed that involved taking a lot of the soft tissues around the bone along with half of the sacral bone. She ended up with a bad infection. The home health nurse keeps talking to us about nutrition. I'm not sure why she focuses on that instead of getting rid of the infection. She's pretty skinny herself, so maybe she's got an eating disorder. How can I tell her to bug off in a nice way?

About six months ago, I had surgery to remove a tumor in my sacral bone. This morning, I was bending over and I felt and heard a pop. I don't have any pain or further loss of motion. But I'm pretty nervous I might have broken something in there. I know I have plates and screws holding everything together. Should I call the doctor right away or wait-and-see before hitting the panic button?

My wife recently had severe back pain about a month after being in a car accident. She also began losing control over her bladder and was wetting herself. Her doctor said that it was a syndrome called cauda equina and that surgery was urgent and had to be done right away, but now, a month later, she's still wetting herself and she still has pain. What was the point of the surgery?

My wife just had the new multidetector CT scan done on her spine. They found plenty of arthritis in her spine to explain her low back pain. But the radiologist seemed to poo poo the idea that those changes were really the cause of her pain. I don't get that. Why would he say it doesn't have anything to do with her symptoms?

I've been having low back pain off and on for years. The last two years have been the worst. I've been seeing a chiropractor who adjusts my low back for me. The X-rays taken as part of my evaluation show significant degeneration of the lumbar spine. I'm just wondering if it wouldn't be worth it to have some better imaging studies done. Would MRIs or CT scans provide us with a better idea of what's going on down there?

Why do doctors tell you to exercise if your lower back hurts?

If lower back pain is so common, why do doctors not know how to treat it?

When I brought my elderly mother to the doctor because of her back pain, he insisted on checking her hips and behind the joints. What on earth was he doing? She was there because her back hurt.

My doctor offers injections in the back for back pain but my buddy's doctor doesn't. His doctor says they don't work any better than fake injections. Which doctor do we believe?

How do doctors know where in the spine to put an injection if they are going to inject something to relieve back pain?

I don't get it. I'm active, I'm healthy. I do everything right for my health but the other day, I hurt my back and the doctor said I herniated a disc. I'm only 28. How did that happen?

My husband is supposed to have back surgery to remove a slipped disc. He's afraid because he heard of several people who just had the same problem again. What can I tell him?

I'm 55-years old, postmenopausal, and now discovered I have something called degenerative spondylolisthesis. What is this and what causes it?

I was recently diagnosed with a condition called spondylolisthesis. Fortunately, the orthopedic surgeon I went to ordered CT scans. Otherwise the cause of my back pain might never have been figured out. The X-rays I had taken didn't show anything. Does that happen very often?

Have you heard of degenerative disc disease in a college athlete? That's what's happened to our son. Does this happen very often?

Dad called and said he has back pain that is now going down his leg. He says it's sciatica? How do they know for sure what's causing the leg pain?

Mother hurt her back helping Dad lift a table that was too heavy for the both of them. Her physical therapist tells her she has to keep moving. But she can hardly get up out of a chair because of the pain. What can we do to help her with this?

We are the new owners of a microbrewery with about 50 employees. At least half of these workers are involved in lifting, hauling, and carrying moderately heavy barrels, kegs, and boxes. What can we do right from the start to keep our employees safe from back injuries?

My husband has chronic low back pain. His doctor just started him on some narcotic medications. I'm concerned about him driving but he still insists he's fine. What are the recommendations for patients taking these drugs?

I am a nursing supervisor just transferring from a medical-surgical ward to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). On the med med-surg ward, preventing back injuries was a big focus. Even though the patients are smaller on the NICU ward, I'd like to implement ways to help the nurses prevent episodes of back pain. What kind of steps should I take?

I went to a physical therapist last year who specialized in sport injuries, especially the shoulder. Now I've had some ongoing back pain that just isn't going away. Would this same therapist be able to treat me? Or do I need to find someone who specializes in back pain?

Do you think there's any benefit to doing core training over just a regular walking program for back pain? I keep hearing people talk about one or the other but I've never heard which one is better.

What is a black disc? My neighbor says he had an MRI and that's what they found. He's only 30-years-old, so I'm wondering if this is something we all have.

I went on-line to find out what kind of treatments are available for degenerative disc disease (that's what I have). There was some discussion in a couple of chat rooms and on various blogs about motion-sparing technology. What is that?

My sister's husband was diagnosed with osteosarcoma of the sacrum. They are actually going to remove half of the bone in order to get the entire tumor. Nobody has brought it up, but we can't help but wonder: will he be able to walk again?

Our PopPop is 72-years old and started to limp last week. Before we knew it, he wasn't able to lift his foot anymore. Now he walks with a distinctive slap of the foot. Is it possible he had a stroke? He won't let us take him to the doctor, so we don't know what's going on for sure.

I had surgery for a herniated disc at L45. I wasn't going to do it, but my foot started going weird on me. I couldn't pick it up all the way without pulling up on my pants leg. Well, it's been eight weeks and I still have the foot problem. Why didn't the surgeon tell me this could happen?

What can you tell me about giant cell tumors? My best friend found out her back and buttock pain is really coming from a giant cell tumor of the sacrum, not a disc like she thought. They say it's benign. Is it really?

My 77-year-old father is in pretty good shape all things considered. But he's had terrible back and leg pain and leg cramps for months now from spinal stenosis. He agreed to have surgery to take pressure off the nerves but it didn't seem to help him. He can walk a little further but he still says his pain is pretty debilitating. And he still has leg cramps at night. Why didn't he get better?

My brother-in-law is constantly complaining about back pain. He's even thinking about having a spinal fusion. Wouldn't his back pain go away if he lost a little weight? He must tip the scales at 350 pounds easily.

The surgeon turned me down for an operation to fuse my low back until I lose 100 pounds. I'm caught in a vicious cycle. I can't exercise because of my back pain. And I can't have surgery to take care of the back pain until I lose weight. What else can I do?

I have a herniated disc at L45 that is keeping me off work too long. I need to just get it taken care of and get on with my life. Is it best to have the surgeon take the whole thing out or just the piece that's pressing on my nerves? Does it even matter?

It's been two years since I had a disc removed from my lumbar spine. I was fine after the surgery for the first two months. Then just like that my symptoms came back. A recent MRI showed another herniation of the same disc. But how is that possible if I had the disc removed?

I can't seem to get over a bad back. I've never had back problems before. This is my first experience. The doc says it's mechanical and I should go out and do what I can. But everytime I feel good, I seem to overdo it and then I'm back where I started from. How do I get out of this cycle?

My brother hurt his back at work and has not had a very good recovery. He's seeing a behavioral counselor who seems to give him a good rah-rah session but no practical suggestions about diet, exercise, and a common sense approach to getting better. Am I off base here thinking this is a waste of time and money?

When the doctor looks at an MRI, what do they see that tells them I have an L5-S1 disc herniation?

The pharmacist at our local clinic suggested I take a narcotic pain reliever for my ongoing low back pain. She said they come in different formulations from weak to strong and in pill or patch form. Which one should I ask for?

Every time I get back pain, it seems to settle in the right side down by the base of my spine. Is there some kind of exercise I can do to strengthen that side?

I did everything the doctor told me to do and my back pain still keeps coming back. What am I doing wrong?

I have been off work with low back pain for six weeks now. I expected to be back on the job days after I hurt myself. The longer I'm off, the more depressed I get and the worse my pain is. The doctor has given me a prescription for a narcotic pain reliever. Should I take it? Will it help me get over the hurdle?

My sister is trying to convince me to have a spinal fusion. She had one and did real great afterwards. But I'm 10 years older than her and not so sure I'm up to the stress of it. Does age make a difference?

I'm debating about having a spinal fusion for a broken down disc. At my age (72), I have learned to live with a great deal of pain. The surgery is supposed to help but there could be worse problems after. What can you tell me that might help me make this decision?

My husband is thinking about having a spinal fusion. The surgeon wants him to take some mental tests first. I don't know if they think he's a hypochondriac or not. But I can tell you he hardly ever complains about anything and this back pain is real. Should I say something to the doctor?

I've heard that sacral tumors from giant cell myeloma comes back even after it's been surgically removed. Is that true?

I have been told that my leg pain is caused by spinal stenosis. What I'm wondering is why does the pain get worse when I try to stand up straight?

If lumbar spinal stenosis is caused by a narrowing of the spinal canal, how does a steroid injection help with the pain? Does it open up that space somehow? Before I consider this treatment, I'd kinda like to understand how it works.

I went with my 68-year-old father to see a neurosurgeon about back surgery. If I heard him correctly, it sounded like he was trying to talk my father out of having the operation. I was glad for that but wondering why a surgeon wouldn't want to do surgery on someone who needs it?

I went to a specialist in pain therapy for my chronic low back pain. I must have filled out 10 forms with questions about everything from soup to nuts. Then the guy asked me another 30 minutes worth of questions. In the end, I didn't see that I was any better than when I started. Are they just letting the clock go to run up the bill?

Five years ago I had severe back pain from a disc problem that was diagnosed with a test called discography. I just went back to the surgeon for a new back problem. When I asked about having that same test they told me, "Oh we don't use that test anymore." What's wrong with that test?

I'm probably an unusual patient because I'm going to say that I think my chronic back pain is stress-induced. I don't seem to have much in the way of reserve or coping skills. How do I go about checking to see if this is true and what to do about it?

What does seronegative mean? The doctor tells me I have a sacroiliac joint problem that is seronegative.

I had a steroid injection into my sacroiliac joint and the pain went away in two days. What a relief. But it only lasted three months. So I had a second injection but got no pain relief at all. What happened? Should I try for a third?

My chiropractor told me I have a half-inch leg length difference that could explain why I have so much back pain. He suggested I put an insole inside my shoe to make up the difference. Is there a certain kind of insole that works better than others for this problem?

I notice when I use a good pair of shoe insoles off-the-shelf that my back pain goes away. What's the connection here? Maybe I have a foot problem. Should I see a podiatrist?

I'm having a tussle with my insurance company. They only pay for 12 physical therapy visits per episode of back pain. I'm on my third bout with back pain. But I maintain these are three separate problems -- not a continuation of the same problem. The insurance adjustor says it's just a recurrence of the original episode of back pain. How can I get them to see this as separate problems?

My cousin emailed me and suggested I try homeopathic treatment for my back pain. I figure I've tried everything else, why not? Is there any evidence that these remedies actually work? Or is it all the placebo effect?

Somehow I developed a pain in the butt they call piriformis syndrome. I can't figure out how I got it. How do other people get this problem?

My physical therapist says I have buttock pain from piriformis syndrome. My doctor says there's no such thing. Which is it?

I have been to three well-known pain clinics for my chronic back and leg pain. Everyone is very nice, and they all seem very certain they know what's wrong with me. But nothing they do for me has helped. I've had lots of tests. Sometimes the same ones repeated. Isn't there one simple way to tell what's wrong? How can it be so difficult?

I hurt my back when I twisted wrong coming down a slide at a theme park. The doctor I saw told me to rest for a day, use ice, and then start moving again. Said I should be good as new in a week or two. Well it's been two months and every day I pray for a miracle. The pain brings me to tears some days. Why do they tell people this stuff if it's not true?

I was all scheduled to have a dye injected into my spine to verify that my back pain is coming from a disc herniation. Then all of a sudden, some guy in California says that test could cause problems. So my surgeon says it's off for now. Where does that leave me? I want to get to the bottom of this pain and get rid of it.

I heard that they proved discography doesn't work. I had two back surgeries based on the results of my discography tests. Did I have the surgery for nothing?

I am an American working for a U.S. company in Canada. I live too far away to travel to the States for my medical care, so I went to a regional rehab center here for help with my back pain. They want to shuttle me off to a clinic on another campus because I somehow fall into a subgroup of patients who should be treated differently than others. Does any of this make sense to you? I've never heard of such a thing in the U.S. and wonder if I should make a trip home for this.

The physical therapist I am seeing right now doesn't seem very interested in finding out what's wrong with my back. She just wants to analyze my movements and come up with a plan of activities and movements that won't cause pain. That doesn't really get down to the bottom of what's wrong with me. Should I go shopping for a different therapist. If yes, what should I look for?

Can you tell me which way is better to go with a spine fusion -- bone graft from my hip or the newer bone substitutes? I know there are plusses and minuses with each one. But is one ever recommended over the other?

I had a special operation to fuse my low back called a TLIF. I was warned about all the possible complications but I never once thought anything bad would happen to me. I ended up with too much bone growth in the area of the fusion and mow my nerve pain is worse than before. What are my chances that this will all go away like a bad dream?

I saw the radiologist's report on my spine. It said there is a possibility of lumbar stenosis. How does that work? Either I have it or I don't, right?

You know, I haven't had a lick of back pain my entire adult life. Then I had a CT scan for my heart and found out that I have stenosis in my spine. All of a sudden, my back hurts. Is this just in my head? Or can stenosis really cause back pain all of a sudden like that?

I've seen two surgeons (one orthopedic surgeon, one neurosurgeon) about my back pain. They both agree my problem is something called degenerative spondylolisthesis. What they don't agree on is how to treat it. The orthopedic surgeon thinks my age and general health are against me. The neurosurgeon is willing to operate as soon as it can be scheduled. I don't know which way to go.

I've had so many friends who had a spinal fusion for disc problems or slipped vertebra. Not one has had any problems. Then my brother had the surgery and it was nothing but problems with infection and kidney failure. We almost lost him. No one seems to know what happened. Maybe it doesn't matter now but I can't help but wonder what really went on in that hospital.

I've damaged several discs in my spine so badly now, they can't repair themselves. I only have replacement or fusion as an option. If I go with the fusion, I know I'll lose some motion there but it will be a solid support. If I go with the fusion, is there any give or shock absorption? Will the implant hold up as well as a fusion?

I am now the proud "owner" of an artificial disc. It's in my low back around L4. I've been told not to jump (or fall) from tall buildings or use a jackhammer 24/7. All joking aside, I understand the reason for caution. But just how durable are these devices? Could it really break if I fell on my back, for example or stepped in a hole unexpectedly and went down?

I've been all over the United States looking for someone who can tell me what's wrong with my back. I've had tests and tests and tests with no positive findings. No matter what I try, it doesn't seem to give me lasting pain relief. Please tell me where I can go to get the help I need.

My counselor has suggested I try yoga to help with my back pain and my depression. I don't really know where or how to get started. I know there are different kinds of yoga. Which one works best for these two problems?

I have about six weeks to devote to exercise before starting a work-training program for people with low back pain who want to get back on the job. Should I go for Pilates or yoga? I keep hearing my friends say, "Oh you should go to Pilates" or "Oh you have got to try yoga". I can't do both. Which one works best?

After six years of suffering with low back pain with no known cause, my doctor tells me I'm just going to have to learn to live with the pain. That's just not acceptable to me. Are there any other options for people like me?

I seem to be able to manage my chronic low back pain with Oxycontin. The pain is tolerable and I'm able to put in my three shifts a week at work. My doctor says I'm not improving and would like to see me get off the drugs. Isn't not getting worse an acceptable result? I'm happy with it, but I can't seem to get that across to the doc. What do you suggest?

I'm having trouble finding someone who will take my back pain seriously and help me. The doctor says to exercise and it will get better. Well, I've tried exercise and the pain always comes back. Is it just me? Or do other people have this experience, too?

Dad is 72 and had his first surgery ever less than two weeks ago. They did a laminectomy for spinal stenosis. Although his back pain was better at first, now it's getting worse everyday. Is this normal? How long do we wait for the pain to go away?

I am one of many silent sufferers. With chronic low back pain, I've made the rounds of chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopaths, and massage therapists with little to show for it except an empty wallet. Is any thing being done in this country for people like us? There has to be a way out of this prison of pain.

Does it make sense to you that a 80-year-old grandmother would need surgery to fuse her spine? She's so stiff, I doubt her spine even moves. But the surgeon is recommending a spinal fusion for a condition they call degenerative spondylolisthesis. What can you tell me about this?

My two sisters have had five pregnancies between them. They are always complaining about back pain. When I was a Peace Corps volunteer in three other countries, I never heard the women complain of back pain. Are we just spoiled Americans quick to complain about the slightest ache and pain? I'm having trouble feeling any sympathy for my siblings.

I have been pregnant four times although I miscarried twice, so I have two living children. After my second miscarriage, I started having low back pain that has never gone away. Is this a common problem? Why can't I get back to normal?

What exactly is cauda equina syndrome? My mother-in-law was diagnosed with it but all we know is that she had a lot of back pain and needed emergency surgery.

My father had cauda equina syndrome but he didn't hurt hit back in any way that he remembers. His doctor said his spinal canal had narrowed. Could this be a cause?

My back hurts a lot. I mean a lot. I injured it at work several months ago and haven't been able to go back. My doctor orders me some medications but none of them help. I want her to prescribe me some morphine or something, but she won't. Isn't that one of the more powerful drugs and why would she say that it won't help my back then?

My mother is taking some sort of narcotic for her back pain. She's been taking it for a few months now and I'm afraid she's getting addicted because she has asked her doctor a few times for higher doses, which he gives. What can I do?

I just came back from the doctor's where I got the news that my lumbar spine motion is the same after spinal fusion as before. But I thought the fusion was supposed to stop motion. The surgeon did say the fusion site looks good and that the surgery was successful. I didn't think of this at the time to ask the question and, of course, my next appointment isn't for six months. Can you possibly explain this to me?

Why am I so afraid of hurting my back again? I injured it about six months ago. After being home for three months, I went back to work. It's a demanding job, and although I try to take care of my back, I find I tense up a lot and I'm afraid - which I'm sure makes it worse. What can I do?

When my brother-in-law hurt his back at work, he was unable to work for several months. This, plus his treatment, was a financial hardship for him. Many of the treatments he had were expensive but didn't work. Isn't there a set process to follow for back care so you're not doing treatments that won't work?

Why is treating back pain so darned expensive? My back hurts and by the time I've seen everyone who claims to help me, I'll be broke.

Oh boy -- I woke up this morning with intense back pain. It seems to be better as I move around. I can only sit long enough to type this out and get some advice. How long will I be laid up? What can I do to speed up getting better?

I'm going to have a lumbar fusion for severe arthritic degeneration in my lower spine. I have three ways to go: I can get bone from a bone bank. The surgeon can take some bone from my pelvic bone and transfer it to the fusion site. Or they can bypass the real bone and use a new product that is a bone graft substitute. The hospital business office tells me the new technique is less expensive. Why would it be a cost savings to use a product I have to purchase if I could use my own bone instead?

Does it matter if the physical therapist manipulates my back with me on my side versus on my back? When my regular therapist was gone, I noticed the therapist who took the regular therapist's place used the same kind of technique but from a different angle. Should I say something? I am being treated for low back pain at the moment.

I've tried a bunch of different core training programs to strengthen my trunk and prevent a recurrence of back pain. I don't really know which exercises to do -- there are so many. Can you recommend maybe a core group of core exercises I can do every day without worrying about which ones to do on which day?

My mom has bad lower back pain and wants to go for acupuncture. I don't know if I believe in it. How does sticking a needle in her body help get rid of pain?

I want to go to acupuncture for my back pain, but my doctor says it's useless and a waste of money. Is it?

I'm trying to help my sister avoid the problems I have after a spinal fusion. They took shavings from my hip bone to use as a graft. I had some terrible problems because of it. There must be some new and better ways to do this. What are they?

I'm going to a university hospital where there is a world famous neurosurgeon who does lumbar fusions. I heard they use an off-label glue or something to hold it all together. I won't have to donate bone to myself with this new method. What can you tell me about this before I get there?

I am going to have a disc removed from my low back (L4-L5) with a new operation called microdiscectomy. As I only have major medical coverage with a large deductible, I'm wondering what kind of costs I can expect with this type of surgery. The surgeon says I'll be in and out quickly, so I'm hoping that means it won't be too expensive.

I had a microdiscectomy six months ago. It was supposed to be a way to solve my back problem with the least disruption to my back and to my wallet. In the end, I had a spinal fusion and the total cost of the whole thing was over $400,000. I definitely vote for health care reform -- the costs are outrageous.

I turned 50 this year and promptly fell apart. My back started hurting so I went to see my doctor. X-rays showed I have something called spinal stenosis with degenerative spondylolisthesis (I'm copying that from the report). Can you tell me in plain English what this means?

I'm helping my 82-year-old mother figure out what to do about her spinal stenosis. It has gotten worse over time and now she has stenosis at three levels (L345) instead of just one (it started at L45). What do you suggest?

I watched a short video in my surgeon's office on an operation called posterolateral fusion. That's what I'm going to have done at L45. There wasn't any narration with the film so I think I got the gist of what's going to be done. But could you give me sort of a dummied down version of the procedure?

I work for a company that helps people solve problems with their computer software programs. I'm often at a computer terminal for 8 to 10 hours. We can take breaks but we are paid by the number of calls we complete, so I miss breaks, lunch, and dinner some days. I do worry about getting stuck in a flexed position -- or that my back is going to give out. Is there any real danger of either of these things happening?

I had X-rays taken because of two bouts of long-standing low back pain. The radiologist said there were signs of typical age-related degeneration (I'm 67 years old). That didn't seem to help figure out what's causing my pain. Would an MRI be a good idea?

At the age of 70, I consider myself a healthy older adult (not senior, thank you very much!). I take yoga classes, and Tai chi, walk three miles every day. Never had a bit of back pain until last week when I overdid it in the garden. X-rays taken at the orthopedic doctor's office showed disc space narrowing, signs of joint arthritis, and some mild stenosis. Frankly, I was surprised because I thought I was doing better than average. What is the typical spinal condition of people in my age group?

Are there programs to help people prevent low back pain? There seems to be so many people who have it, it should be preventable.

Why does lifting with your knees (bended knees) help protect your back?

Why is lower back pain so common? It seems everyone I know has back pain!

Why do we have more lower back pain than upper back pain?

What is isthmus spondylolisthesis? How is it different from degenerative spondylolisthesis? I'm asking because our 16-year-old daughter has the isthmus kind. When I went on-line to get more information, I saw degenerative spondylolisthesis discussed as well. Will she eventually get worse and develop this other kind, too?

I keep hearing about how so many adults will have back pain sometime in their lives. I think the latest numbers I saw showed eight out of 10 Americans will be affected. Is this just an American deal or is it a human trait? I know my question isn't about a personal health problem, so if you can't answer it, I understand.

I noticed something about myself that I think is unusual. I have chronic low back pain but I don't let it get me down. I still work full-time and stay involved in my family and community. I can't help but wonder why other people can't get off their butts, quit complaining about their aches and pains and enjoy life as it comes. As the old expression goes, we were never promised a rose garden.

I saw one surgeon for my chronic low back pain who thought I would benefit from surgery to fuse my L45 lumbar spine. Should I get a second opinion?

I saw a neurosurgeon about some possible spinal surgery I am thinking about having. As part of the interview, the staff in his office asked me, What is the minimum acceptable result you expect from this surgery? In other words, they were asking me what point would I consider not having the operation because the results weren't good enough. I'm kinda stumped on this one. What do other people say?

My father was diagnosed with a condition called spondylolisthesis - something that is causing pain in his lower back. What causes this condition?

Is there any treatment for when one vertebrae slips over another? My mother has this in her lower back and it's causing her quite a bit of back pain.

First I had a disc removed from my lumbar spine. Then the back and leg pain started up again. Now they want to do another discectomy AND fuse the spine. I'm scared to do all that. Do I really need a fusion? It seems so permanent.

I had a microdiscectomy for a herniated disc at L45 about 10 months ago. The back pain is fine but the leg pain has come back. If the disc is gone, why am I having leg pain again?

I went to the local emergency clinic for a new start-up of pain in my back that goes into the buttock and down the leg. The last MRI I had done showed that the pain was coming from a disc protrusion. They gave me pain killers and muscle relaxants. I've always been told by my regular doctor not to take muscle relaxers for this problem.

My MRI shows a prolapsed disc at L45 but I decided NOT to have surgery no matter what. That leaves me with fewer options but I don't really know what those are -- can you help me figure out where to go from here?

Our 16-year-old daughter was just diagnosed with a condition called isthmic spondylolisthesis. What's the best way to treat this? We've found everything on-line from "do nothing" to complete spinal fusion.

I have a high-grade spondylolisthesis that I've had since my early 20s. As I get older I notice more back pain. So far I've managed to avoid surgery. Is there anything else I can do to keep this from getting worse?

My brother-in-law and I have an ongoing debate we'd like you to settle. He's a postal worker and I'm a firefighter. He maintains that pushing and pulling heavy carts full of mail is just as likely to cause back injuries as hauling heavy hoses and pushing ladders around. We both know plenty of people in our respective work places to suffer back injuries from these activities. But I still think firefighters are under much more physical stress than postal workers. What do you think?

I work as a nurse manager in a very busy hospital. Every week there is someone who has hurt their back lifting, pushing, or pulling patients, beds, or other equipment. Yesterday, I heard a report from Canada that there's no evidence these activities are linked with low back pain or back injuries. How can that be?

I've heard there's a new way to take pictures of the sacroiliac (SI) joint called a fire scan. I've had chronic SI problems for years. Would there be any benefit for me to have this new test?

If you sprain a ligament holding the sacroiliac joint, does it ever heal properly?

I am a supervisor in an automotive factory. Safety is a major concern. Lifting is kept to a minimum with hydraulic lifts and other equipment. But even so, back pain from lifting remains our number one problem. We have tried to keep records and analyze who is at risk -- the women? short workers? tall workers? overweight workers? We just can't seem to find the answer. Does anyone else have any helpful information?

I saw a study from Nigeria that said lifting doesn't cause low back pain. I'm not really ready to accept a conclusion like that from a country with such a different culture from ours (I live in Germany). Are there studies from other countries that agree with this conclusion?

I am part of the Baby Boom generation. With a PhD in engineering, I like to "engineer" my own health care, but I'm finding a lot of resistance from the medical community. Will the new health care agenda from the Obama administration change how medical care is provided in this country?

Six of my friends turned 65 this year and all ended up having surgery to fuse their spine because of spinal stenosis. Is this a fad or just something to expect with aging like having your wisdom teeth pulled and the appendix removed?

I heard on the radio there was a study that showed people who don't drink don't live as long as people who do drink. Then I saw a blurb on MSN that a study in Denmark also showed nondrinkers with low back pain were less likely to go back to work. I have low back pain and still work in spite of it. Are they suggesting I start drinking more to live longer and keep my job? That just doesn't make sense to me.

I've been off work for 16 weeks now with work-related chronic back pain. I know all about how Worker's comp patients are the last to return to work (if they do return at all). I refuse to be a statistic. I love my job and I want it back. What can I do to make this happen?

I have suffered from chronic leg pain ever since I had a disc problem and surgery to remove the disc. My surgeon tells me I have a condition called failed back surgery syndrome or FBSS. After years of trying everything under the sun, I ended up with a spinal cord stimulation (SCS) device. It doesn't get rid of all the pain but about 60 per cent is gone. If it can reduce the pain, why can't it eliminate it altogether?

I've been having some strange leg pain on the left side. First it was shooting pain down the leg. Now it feels like pins and needles, and sometimes I get an electric shock sensation. That's the one that has me really worried. What could be causing this?

I heard a report on the radio that people with fluctuating back pain have the best chance for recovery. What exactly is fluctuating back pain? Maybe they said "frustrating" back pain and I misunderstood it. What do you know?

Is there any chance my low back pain will just go away by itself eventually? I've had it for eight months now. It gets better, then worse, then better, etc. It's up and down from month to month.

I've known for a while that I have disc degeneration in the lumbar spine. A recent MRI now shows Schmorl's nodes in the upper lumbar spine. Is this a new problem or just part of the old (disc) problem?

Is there any proof that a back injury early in life will result in disc problems later?

I have an identical twin brother who lives three states away. Yesterday I woke up with a back ache for no apparent reason. Sure enough, when I checked with him, he had injured himself at work yesterday. This is his third back injury. If his spine starts to fall apart, will I experience a similar problem?

I notice I've been having more and more episodes of low back pain. It seems to come and go depending on what activities I engage in. I'm especially stiff after a day of gardening or doing heavy chores around the house. My doctor has labeled me as a chronic back pain sufferer. I don't really like that label. How do they decide who is chronic and who isn't?

I've had low back pain now for 12 weeks. Some days are better than others. My primary care physician says my prognosis is "guarded". What does that mean?

I work at a local pharmacy-all goods store where I fell from a ladder and hurt my back. I'm out on worker's compensation with no hope of getting back to work the way I feel right now. I'm also quite a bit overweight and now gaining more weight because with my back pain I can't move much. Is there any hope for me?

The surgeon I went to for relief from my back pain told me to lose 75 pounds and then we can talk about surgery. If I could lose 75 pounds, I would have already done it! If I go to another surgeon, will I hear the same thing? Or is it possible to find someone to do it for me?

I recently strained my back lifting a couch by myself that was just too heavy for me. Is there a list of "dos" and "don'ts" that will help me get back on my feet quickly?

My doctor tells me I need to start a "progressive walking program" as part of self-care for my low back pain. I'm new to back pain and exercise for that matter. How do I get started? What do I do?

I started having low back pain two years ago from what I was told was a disc problem. So I set myself up on a walking program (twice a day, 20-minutes each). It hasn't really helped my back pain even though I've lost 20 pounds. Do you really think it's a disc gone bad?

I've had back pain for five years now from a bad disc. Should I have surgery? Will it do any good? I don't want to end up worse off than I am now. At least now, I've gotten used to the pain and it doesn't limit me too much. The last thing I want is more pain from a surgery gone bad.

I went to see a chiropractor for some low back pain I've been having. The X-rays didn't show anything funny in the lumbar area but I have two old compression fractures in the mid-back area I didn't even know about. Should I do anything for these? Is there any evidence that a back brace might help? What about exercise?

I've been seeing an osteopathic physician for low back pain. He thinks I have instability and should try some prolotherapy. Before I do anything, I'd like to have a for-sure diagnosis. Is there a specific test or X-ray that would show this?

I have started developing some weird back pain and symptoms I don't know what to make of. First, it's all in the low back right above my bum. Next, it feels like my bones are sliding around in there when I shift from my right side to my left (in bed). There's no numbness or shooting pain like sciatica (I've had that before). And the weirdest of all -- the symptoms all get worse when the weather goes bad. What do you make of this?

I have tried to lose weight many, many times. I've done liquid diets, fasts, prepackaged food, and many of the commercially available programs (I'm not sure if I can mention them here). None of them worked because I wasn't really ready to lose weight. Now I have a new motivating factor: extreme low back pain. The doc says "lose weight," so I've made up my mind. What approach do you recommend?

Every time I see the doctor for my back pain, I hear the same thing: "lose weight". I had back pain before I gained weight. In fact, I gained weight because I can't exercise with so much pain. What can I do?

I talked with my brother-in-law who is an anesthesiologist at a large teaching hospital in the east about pain management after my upcoming back surgery. In the course of our telephone conversation, he mentioned something called pregabalin but I forgot to ask him more about it. What can you tell me?

I'm going to have spine surgery next week. Getting a spinal fusion at L45. Very scared about everything but especially pain afterwards. Surgeon assures me all will be well. Having trouble trusting that. I am desperate for information. How do your patients do after this type of surgery?

Mother had a balloon kyphoplasty for fractures in her lumbar spine about six months ago. That worked great but now she has two more (new) fractures. Can she have this same surgery again? How do we know for sure the new fractures weren't caused by the stiff bones from the kyphoplasty?

My mother has a history of mental illness and one attempt at suicide. She started complaining of back pain last year and that hasn't gotten better even with all kinds of treatment. I'm worried about a second attempt at killing herself. Should I say something to her doctor?

Our daughter was jumping on a trampoline in someone else's back yard. She bounced up high, lost control and bounced off. She landed on her feet but with her legs bent so she hit on her low back and sacral area. Nothing showed up on the X-rays so they sent her home. We found out later (when her feet and toes went numb) that she has what's called a U-shaped sacral fracture. How could they have missed seeing that on an X-ray?

I never do anything the easy way. I am referring to breaking my sacrum when I fell from the second story of a building that was under construction. I stepped back without realizing how close I was to the edge and down I went. They said I was lucky to get off with just a sacral fracture. But of course, it's not a simple break -- this one is called a U-shape sacral fracture. I had surgery and they plated the break. I still don't have bowel or bladder control. How long does that take to come back?

I am in a rehab program for my chronic low back pain. The physical therapist wants me to join a group of other people who also have low back pain. They are doing an exercise program using something called Pilates. This is new to me. What can you tell me about it? Does it work? Is it worth the extra time?

Last year I took on the job of assistant coach for a college football team. I was surprised by how many of the athletes had back pain during the playing season. Is this typical? If not, I need to take a closer look at what we might be doing wrong. Any suggestions?

Our 17-year-old son complains of back pain more often than his grandmother who has osteoarthritis of the spine (and she is quite a complainer). I don't think it's serious but there's always a niggling doubt in the back of my mind. Could he really have arthritis at this young age?

In the old days when I had back and leg pain, the physical therapist would put me on a traction table and stretch my back out. That seemed to help quite a bit. Now when I go in to see the therapist, they don't even have a traction table. Why not?

I had a lumbar fusion using bone chips taken from my own pelvic bone. I'm surprised that I can't see any scar where they took the bone graft from. Does that seem unusual?

I had a spinal fusion at L45 about two months ago. I'm having a bit of trouble with pain along the back of my pelvic bones. I don't remember having this before the surgery. What could be causing it?

My sister is such a whiner and complainer about her back pain. At our house, we say she is a "whine bagger". Sometimes I can't help but think what she says about her condition (all negative) determines how she is (unable to sit for more than 10 minutes or go to work).Do you think this is just a personality trait and doesn't really affect her pain level? Or does all this complaining really hold her back from getting better?

Have you ever noticed how some people give in to their back pain while others push through and do whatever they want regardless of the pain? What makes the difference in these two groups of people? What makes one person keep on keepin' on while someone else just gives up? I'm asking because I'm one of those people who has given up. My pain dictates who and what I am and I've quit trying to change that.

I think I might be part of an experiment in surgery, so I want to find out how often other people are having what I'm having. The surgery is a lumbar spinal fusion. The experiment is to use some kind of bone growth protein to speed up the healing process. Is this type of surgery standard or certified or experimental or what?

I had X-rays taken of my low back and wish I never knew what I know now. The X-rays showed severe arthritic degeneration and severe stenosis. Suddenly, I started feeling much worse. I can't get those images out of my mind. I feel like I've aged 20 years in one moment. And it didn't change the treatment plan so what's the point?

How do I know if I should ask for X-rays? I've had low back pain for three months now and it's not going away. Maybe knowing what's wrong would help me figure out what to do. On the other hand, I don't really want to expose myself to radiation. What do you think?

The radiology report I have on my spinal MRI says a few things about "artifacts." What are those exactly?

Everywhere I go in the medical system, it seems like someone wants to X-ray or MRI some part of my body. The dentist wants to X-ray my teeth. The orthopedic surgeon helping me with my back pain found a "suspicious" area on the X-ray of my back. Now it's an MRI I'm supposed to get. I've heard that we are exposed to radiation flying in airplanes and just walking around. How can I get a handle on what I'm being exposed to and make my own decisions about how much is "too much"?

I'm managing my low back pain with Tylenol and naproxen but it's starting to creep up on me. I don't want to take a narcotic. I heard there is a new nonnarcotic drug called tanezumab that is supposed to cut off nerve pain signals. Would something like that help me? Is it better than what I'm already using?

Just when I think I've found the miracle cure for my low back pain, they take it off the market. I was given tanezumab as an "experimental" drug and had great results. One intravenous injection gave me four months of pain free living. I was in heaven. When the pain started edging back, I went back in and was told it was taken off the market. What happened and will it be brought back? What can you tell me?

I am on a mission to find some way to help my brother with his back pain. He's had it for six months and nothing is working. They don't even know what's causing it. He's tried massage, acupuncture, exercise, traction, and even supplements and hypnosis. Is there anyone out there who has a solution we are missing?

Have you ever heard of shock therapy for back pain? Do they shock the brain or the back? How is it done?

I had an epidural steroid injection that worked great -- for about two weeks. Then it was back to pain, pain, pain. The surgeon wants to do a second injection but use a different injection site. I don't know anything about it so thought I'd see what you could tell me before making a decision.

I've given up on trying to get pain relief from my back and leg pain with massage, cold, heat, acupuncture, and exercise. I'm biting the bullet and letting the surgeon inject me with whatever it is they use for this type of problem. But I'd like some more information on what they do use and how it's done before I leap. What can you tell me?

I just spent $125.00 on an office visit with a physician for my low back pain. All I got was advice to stay on my feet and active, a brochure on low back pain, and a boot out the door. Does this seem reasonable to you? Not even a prescription for pain relief.

How do doctors decide what treatment recommendations to make for patients with a first episode of low back pain? I saw a doctor and got no treatment whatsoever. My husband saw the same guy for his backache and suddenly he's getting X-rays, blood work, drugs, and physical therapy. Is there some kind of bias against women or am I being overly sensitive?

I am a worker compensation patient with a condition called failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS). Everytime I see that term, I think I have somehow failed when really I secretly blame my surgeon. The worker compensation case manager always makes me feel like I'm milking the system. I can't help what happened to me. I'm trying to get better. I heard there is a spinal stimulator that could help. Should I ask about this?

I just saw my doctor for a problem I've developed with back pain. I got a lot of positive messages like "there's no permanent damage" and I should "recover quickly and easily." I was told to stay active ("not too much rest") and given a booklet on self-care of back pain. That was it! Does that seem right to you? What about X-rays? Muscle relaxants? Something?!

My sister is a chiropractor and insists that studies show spinal manipulation gets people who have back on their feet quickly. What about exercise and massage and a back brace? Aren't these good ways to deal with back pain, too? I'm having quite a bit of back pain and I'm slowly getting better without chiropractic care.

Here's my problem. I have chronic low back pain and all I can get the doctor to suggest is "stay active and exercise." I'm frustrated because I have ankle arthritis that makes exercise difficult. I have a heart condition that leaves me breathless when I try to do anything. How in the world am I going to "stay active and exercise" with all this going on?

Our 82-year-old mother has changed drastically in the last six weeks. She went from being a swinging hipster to being practically confined to a wheelchair. And all for one reason: back pain. The doctors she has seen can't seem to see her as anything but an old lady. All they do is give her painkillers and other medications. We know different but we don't know what to do about it. What do you suggest?

I went to a physical therapy clinic for my back pain problem where I was treated by three different therapists. They all did something different for the same problem. How do therapists know what treatment to provide for each of us patients? If it's the same person with the same problem, shouldn't the same treatment be given?

Can you explain why my doctor and my physical therapist call my back problem two different things? At the doctor's office, they tell me I have lumbago with sciatica. My therapist calls it piriformis syndrome with sciatica. Are they both talking about the same thing?

What do you think about Pilates for the treatment of low back pain? I hear some of my friends swear by it and others say it made them worse. I've just started having some back problems so I want to head it off at the pass, so-to-speak.

I went on-line to find a physical therapist who specializes in low back pain. I live in a big city but was still surprised to find so many therapists who advertise their expertise in this area. The only problem is -- when I compared each website, I found six different treatment methods available. How do I know which one to go to?

I'm a very active guy with a new problem with low back pain. I walk, golf, and bike at least five days a week. I don't want to miss a golf tournament coming up in two weeks. The doctor has advised me to give my back a few weeks to heal and lay off the golf but keep walking. I'm thinking maybe I should see a physical therapist to help speed things up. What do you recommend?

Why do you think doctors wait so long to send people to physical therapy for their back pain? If I had gone sooner than later, I might not be so laid up now. The therapist hasn't said that to me but I can tell from how much better I am after each session that we should have started sooner.

I've been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis so I'm searching around for some information. What happens to people like me who get this condition? Can it go away on its own? Will it get worse? What can I expect?

I always thought there were too many choices at the grocery store. But now that seems simple compared with treatment choices for my back pain. The surgeon says I have stenosis. I can go with medication, physical therapy, steroid injections, or surgery. And for surgery, there are just as many different options. How do I decide which way to go?

I am an agent for several professional ball players. My job is to help them negotiate their contracts and keep them in the game. Two of my top players are out with surgery for herniated discs. What are the chances they will get back to work and how long will it take?

Do you think a herniated disk is a herniated disk no matter who has it? Like these professional football players...how do they get a herniated disk and six weeks later they are back on the field? I'm not a total couch potato. I exercise almost everyday. But when I got my disk problem, I was out of commission for a good six months. What's "normal" here?

Can you please explain something to me? My sister and I both go to the same doctor. (The doctor doesn't know we are sisters). We both had our first episode of low back pain this past year. She got a referral to physical therapy but I didn't. How come?

My doctor tells me if I see a physical therapist for my back pain, I'll save money in the long run. I tell her if I don't see a physical therapist at all, I'll save even more money. What do you think?

I am going to have spinal surgery over the Christmas break. It's only one level (L45) and the surgeon is using a method she calls TLIF. She assures me I'll be in and out of the hospital in less than 24 hours if all goes well. Can you tell me more about what to expect and how to know if I'm going to make it out that fast?

I am having a lumbar spinal fusion in three days. What can I do to make sure I have the best possible results? I know it's ultimately in the hands of the surgeon (and God) but I don't intend to be a passenger on the ride. What are your suggestions?

Whenever I go see my physical therapist for the old back and leg pain that seems to plague me, he has me try to touch the floor with my fingers. What does this test really tell him?

I've been having some back pain lately that seems to be getting worse. Now it's going down my right leg. I notice if I sit up straight, the pain is better. If I slouch, the pain is worse. What does this mean?

I need some help please! I saw two different orthopedic surgeons and one micro-neurosurgeon about my back pain. They all agree I have degenerative disc disease that could be helped with surgery. The two orthopedic surgeons recommended a spinal fusion. The micro-neurosurgeon was equally convincing that I should have a disc replacement. How do these two treatments really compare? I have no way of figuring this out without some help!

I am exploring all my options for surgery before leaping into the mix. Right now, I have degenerative disc disease at L45. I understand my treatment options are for physical therapy, spinal fusion, or disc replacement. Which one works best for this problem? What if the treatment doesn't work? Then what?

Please please help me! I have severe leg pain along the outside of my lower leg. No one can seem to figure out what is causing it. I'm told it could be the lumbar spine, sciatic nerve, hip, or knee. They've looked for tumors, fractures, infection, stenosis, and arthritis. For sure I have both lumbar stenosis and hip arthritis but which one is causing the pain? Both? Neither? I'm a wreck trying to figure this out and get help for this!

Please explain to me how it is possible to have hip pain from pressure on a nerve in the low back. I had a nerve block at L5 and it completely took away my hip and lower leg pain.

I am thinking about being in a study at our university hospital for my back and leg pain. They are comparing steroid injections to surgery for patients like me with lumbar spinal stenosis. As part of the paperwork I read this morning, I have the right to crossover. I didn't think much about it at the time, but now I'm wondering -- what does that mean?

I feel like I'm in a train headed for the last station and don't know if I should jump off now or not. I have pretty bad stenosis at L45. Bad enough to go through weeks of acupuncture, take medications I didn't want, do exercises every day, and even let the doc inject my back with steroids. The last stop is surgery. Yes or no? Should I or shouldn't I? Help me decide if it's time to stay on the train to the end or jump off now.

What do you think works better for spondylolysis in a young teenager? We have been given the options of "do nothing" for now (I think this was referred to as "careful neglect"), bracing, or exercises. Is there any value in doing all three?

We were very surprised when our son (a very excellent athlete) started having low back pain. At first, we just told him to "work through it". Turns out that was bad advice. He went from having what they call a spondylolysis (spinal fracture) to a spondylolisthesis (fracture that separates and shifts). Now we are being more careful to search the internet for information on the best way to treat this type of problem. What do you recommend?

I'm thinking about trying acupuncture for my low back pain. I've tried everything else and I don't want to take pain meds any more. I think I can handle the pokey needle part but are there other side effects I should be warned about?

I am going to see the local Chinese acupuncturist for a series of acupuncture treatments for my low back pain. How many sessions should I expect before I see improvement? And how many total visits should I schedule?

If I have degenerative spondylolisthesis from aging, should I have surgery to fix or repair the problem? So far, I seem to be managing okay. Not great but not bad. And I really don't want to go under the knife -- especially not on my spine. What do you think?

What are the current recommendations for treating people like me who have both spondylolisthesis and stenosis? Both are age-related (not from overuse or injury) and in the lumbar spine (around L45). I'm not an athlete and never have been but I'm also not a couch potato. I'd like to stay active as long as possible. Surgery doesn't really appeal to me but I'd do it if you thought it would be helpful.

I am not a religious person but I know there are religious groups who do not allow blood transfusions. I am scheduled for spinal surgery (fusion) and would like to request no blood transfusion, too. Can I do this without being part of an organized religion?

I have been reading about spinal fusion surgery because I think I may have this done myself. I see there are different arguments about whether to do this from the front of the body or back of the body and whether to use an open incision versus a minimally invasive approach. My surgeon has talked about doing an open fusion from the front then turning me over and doing a similar fusion from the back using the minimal technique. What do you think about this idea?

I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) starting my first job in a spine center. I will probably go on to do an additional year of fellowship training. But until then, I will be doing self-study. I use many of the materials on your website to prepare for my patients each and every day. Right now I'm reading all the material I can find on disc herniation and radiculopathy. Is there anything new or different I should know about in this area? Any new articles you recommend I should read?

I think I have back and leg pain from a disc problem. But I can't seem to get a clear 'yes' or 'no' (do I or don't I have a herniated disc) from my doctor. Is it really so tough to figure out? Maybe I should see someone else. What do you think?

It is my job at our local hospital and medical center to keep abreast of all clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for orthopedic conditions. Most recently, I heard that the CPGs for lumbar stenosis were updated and published. Do you have a place on your website where I can access this information?

My 83-year-old mother was recently diagnosed with spinal stenosis. She mostly suffers from back pain and sometimes pain down her leg. In order to avoid the pain, she stays bent forward most of the time. Would a brace help her?

I am a fourth-generation of back pain sufferers. My wife's family doesn't seem to be bothered by this problem at all. But my brothers, uncles, father, grandfather, great grandfather (and myself) have all dealt with this issue all of our lives. Has anyone come up with a reason for this and/or a solution??

I am very unhappy with the way my doctor and my physical therapist are treating the problem of my back pain. It's like they are in cahoots with each other. No one talks to me about my pain. It's all about "doing more with pain" or "getting back to work despite the pain". All I can focus on is how much it hurts and the pain is why I can't do more. What can I say or do to get their attention and more important to me: their response?

Does spinal manipulation help improve my low back pain?

Comparing physical therapy, chiropractic, and osteopathy, what nonsurgical treatment for chronic low back pain helps the most?

What do they mean by core stability exercises?

What is the take away from this study?

What can I do to decrease may chances of getting lower back pain?

What can I do about my lower back pain and weight?

I am a 60-year-old male with pain shooting down the backs of both of my legs.  My MRI says that I have lumbar stenosis and my surgeon wants to operate.  What are the risks associated with this surgery?  I have heard some real horror stories.

I have back pain that began when I was lifting a couch and felt a pop followed by a stab going down my leg.  My friends tell me I’ve blown a disc.  Is there a surgery to fix this?

I am a 50-year-old man with ongoing disc problems.  My doc wants to do some injections and I am hesitant to let him put steroids in my back. What are the benefits of this?

My surgeon has mentioned that I will have to be n back brace for twelve weeks following my lumbar fusion, why is this?

How can ceramics improve the bone growth in a fusion?

How does spinal cord stimulation work?

What are the options for chronic pain due to failed back surgery syndrome?

For low back pain should I be doing strength exercises or flexibility exercises?

How does abdominal bracing decrease back pain?

What are some common problems persons with Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES) experiences following damage to that section of spinal nerves?

What is the relationship to the highest level of injury and bladder (detrusor) muscle activity.

I am considering a spinal fusion for chronic low back pain. Which technique has better outcomes in terms of getting out of the hospital sooner?

Is there any difference in cost of a minimally invasive versus an open lumbar fusion?

When will I know if my back and sciatic leg pain are benefiting from Physical Therapy and help from my general doctor if I’m really worried about moving while in this much pain.

How common is sciatic leg pain?

Does putting Kinesiotape (elastic therapeutic tape) on my sore neck or back after a sprain get me feeling better any faster?