Spine Lumbar

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

Probably not. Back support belts can provide muscle support, but they can also make you more likely to overdo it. Long-term use of back support belts can also cause the muscles of the abdomen and lower back to weaken, making back problems more likely.

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?

This is the very question a group of doctors at the Cleveland Spine Clinic asked in a recent study. They compared the results of spinal fusion for spine degeneration in two age groups. One group was younger than 65 years old. The second group was 65 or 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?

Dynamic X-rays show movement in the spine. These can be done while bending forward then again while bending backward. Some are compared from sitting to standing. The idea is to see how much the bones move, tilt, slip, or slide during motion. Too much movement can mean the spine is unstable.

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