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Wednesday, 4 March 2015

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What is the treatment for lumbar pain from spinal cord disorders?


What are the causes of lumbar pain?

The spinal cord is a complex network of nerve fibres that extends from the base of the skull to the lower back. It makes up the central nervous system coordinating movements, sensations and conducting nerve impulses to different parts of the body. The lower part of the spinal cord is enclosed in lumbar vertebrae from L1 to L5. The lumbar vertebrae protect and support the spinal cord as it extends down to the lower back in the form of a horse's tail called as cauda equina. It anchors the spinal cord.

Degenerative disc diseases, lumbar spondylitis, injuries, herniated disc, arthritis, sciatica and spinal stenosis are some spinal disorders that cause lumbar pain. Pain is felt in the lower back which extends to buttocks and thighs. Pain increases with movement and walking.

What is the treatment for lumbar pain from spinal cord disorders?

A patient with lumbar pain visits a physician who notes his symptoms, investigates the location or cause of the pathology through X-ray, CT scan and MRI. The disease once identified by the physician now determines a systematic treatment approach. Analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines with physiotherapy sessions are advised by the physician. Physical therapy termed intermittent lumbar traction is done by applying stretching force to lumbar vertebrae through body weights, weights and pulleys with intermittent periods of rest. It is a method of treating lumbar pain where traction force and time are changed for better relief from symptoms. This method improves blood circulation of the tissues and cures the swelling surrounding the tissues.

What are different methods of intermittent lumbar traction?

Several different methods using varying degrees of force are applied according to patients strength and endurance, the nature of the diseased pathology, after recording vital parameters like temperature, pulse and blood pressure.

CONTINUOUS TRACTION uses small weights for longer period of time that is effective in separating spinal structures. There is a brief period of rest in between two extended traction force. The patient is unable to bear more weight, can tolerate only minimum force for a definate length of time with intervals of rest that heal low back pain.

SUSTAINED TRACTION is a method of applying heavy weight for short duration with long period of rest. The amount of weight or force is decided by the physical therapist as per the diseased condition of the patient.

INTERMITTENT MECHANICAL TRACTION is a form of sustained traction using a mechanical device by alternative apply and release of traction force at preset timely intervals.  There are brief periods of rest in between to relax patient to improve blood circulation.

MANUAL TRACTION is done by the physical therapist who pulls the legs of patient using belts or manually. The force is applied only for few seconds or with sudden pressure with timely intervals of rest.

AUTOTRACTION is done by using specially designed table that can be tilted and rotated divided in to sections. Patient applies traction force by pulling arms or pushing through his feet. The intermediate intervals of rest give good clinical results.

POSITIONAL TRACTION is done by applying traction force at various positions using pillow, blocks and sand bags. These weights give vertical pull on spinal structures. Intermediate period of rest by applying weights at regular intervals heals lumbar pain.

GRAVITY LUMBAR TRACTION is done by using chest harness to balance position of the patient  by tilting the treatment table on vertical position and by using weight of lower part of the body to provide traction force. Periods of rest relieve pain.

The intermediate lumbar traction is done for  management of both acute and chronic pain.

Physical therapy is advised by physicians as a remedial exercise to treat back pain from different spinal cord disorders. It is an outpatient treatment procedure as an alternative measure when several other medical theories do not give desirable results. Patients complain of side effects through prolonged use of pain killers and non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs. These medicines are not effective at times. Patients form a habit of gulping an analgesic during  acute episode of pain. Management of pain can be done by mild physiotherapy and intermediate lumbar traction methods. 

These treatment options can be prescribed along with medication for early relief from symptoms.

Traditional wisdom follows a meticulous treatment approach by mild pressure affect on vertebrae that restores, restructures the gap, intervetebral space, disc to normal using intermittent lumbar traction.

A patient who develops back pain should follow the sessions as advised by the physical therapist. The physical therapist plans sessions according to the requirement which differs in every case. The follow up visits after first few sessions through any of the above method gives permanent relief from pain in many spinal cord disorders. However, few stubborn, complicated cases, where pathology is deep rooted, intermittent lumbar traction alleviates and palliates back pain.

 

 


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