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Low Back Pain

Low back pain is an ache or discomfort in the area of the lower part of the spinal column that may radiate down into one or both legs. The lower spinal column consists of small, stacked bones (the vertebrae) that surround and protect the spinal cord and nerves.

Cross-section of Vertebral Canal with Spinal Cord in the Center
Cross-section of Vertebral Canal with Spinal Cord in the Center

There are many possible causes for low back pain, including:

  • Sprain or strain of muscles or ligaments in the area
  • Herniated disc or ruptured disc—the cushions between the bones of the spine bulge out of place as a result of age-related changes or trauma.
  • Disc degeneration—caused by arthritis or by the wear and tear of living plus aging
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis —bony narrowing of the spinal canal in the low back area
  • Spondylolisthesis —slippage of one bone over another, causing stretching or pinching of nerves
  • Fractures due to trauma or osteoporosis
  • Fibromyalgia —a condition that causes muscle aches and fatigue
  • Ankylosing spondylitis —a disorder that causes spine stiffness and arthritis (believed to be hereditary)
  • In rare cases,
  • Benign or malignant tumors
  • Infections
  • Arterial problems, such as hardening of the arteries

Lumbar Disc Herniation With Pinching of Spinal Nerve
Herniated Lumbar Disk

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is irritation of the sciatic nerve, which passes from the spinal cord to the buttocks down the back of each thigh. The sciatic nerve is composed of several nerve roots that arise from the lower spine on each side of the spinal column. These nerve bundles travel deep in the pelvis to the lower buttocks. From there, the nerve passes along the back of each upper leg and divides at the knee into branches that go to the feet.

Sciatica typically causes pain that shoots down the back of one thigh or buttock. Anything that causes irritation or puts pressure on the sciatic nerve can cause sciatica, including:

  • Herniated disc (ruptured or slipped disc)
  • Disc degeneration
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • In rare cases:
  • Benign or malignant tumors
  • Infections

Low back pain is very common, it is estimated that over the course of a lifetime 80% of Americans will suffer from at least one episode of back pain. Every year, about 15%-20% of the adults in the United States will report back pain. Most back pain gets better with time; about 5% to 10% of patients will continue to have pain for longer than three months.

What are the risk factors for low back pain and sciatica?

What are the symptoms of low back pain and sciatica?

How are low back pain and sciatica diagnosed?

What are the treatments for low back pain and sciatica?

Are there screening tests for low back pain and sciatica?

How can I reduce my risk of low back pain and sciatica?

What questions should I ask my doctor?

What is it like to live with sciatica?

Where can I get more information about low back pain and sciatica?

... (more)

Low Back Pain

Low back pain is an ache or discomfort in the area of the lower part of the spinal column that may radiate down into one or both legs. The lower spinal column consists of small, stacked bones (the vertebrae) that surround and protect the spinal cord and nerves.

Cross-section of Vertebral Canal with Spinal Cord in the Center
Cross-section of Vertebral Canal with Spinal Cord in the Center

There are many possible causes for low back pain, including:

  • Sprain or strain of muscles or ligaments in the area
  • Herniated disc or ruptured disc—the cushions between the bones of the spine bulge out of place as a result of age-related changes or trauma.
  • Disc degeneration—caused by arthritis or by the wear and tear of living plus aging
  • Lumbar spinal stenosis —bony narrowing of the spinal canal in the low back area
  • Spondylolisthesis —slippage of one bone over another, causing stretching or pinching of nerves
  • Fractures due to trauma or osteoporosis
  • Fibromyalgia —a condition that causes muscle aches and fatigue
  • Ankylosing spondylitis —a disorder that causes spine stiffness and arthritis (believed to be hereditary)
  • In rare cases,
  • Benign or malignant tumors
  • Infections
  • Arterial problems, such as hardening of the arteries

Lumbar Disc Herniation With Pinching of Spinal Nerve
Herniated Lumbar Disk

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is irritation of the sciatic nerve, which passes from the spinal cord to the buttocks down the back of each thigh. The sciatic nerve is composed of several nerve roots that arise from the lower spine on each side of the spinal column. These nerve bundles travel deep in the pelvis to the lower buttocks. From there, the nerve passes along the back of each upper leg and divides at the knee into branches that go to the feet.

Sciatica typically causes pain that shoots down the back of one thigh or buttock. Anything that causes irritation or puts pressure on the sciatic nerve can cause sciatica, including:

  • Herniated disc (ruptured or slipped disc)
  • Disc degeneration
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • In rare cases:
  • Benign or malignant tumors
  • Infections

Low back pain is very common, it is estimated that over the course of a lifetime 80% of Americans will suffer from at least one episode of back pain. Every year, about 15%-20% of the adults in the United States will report back pain. Most back pain gets better with time; about 5% to 10% of patients will continue to have pain for longer than three months.

What are the risk factors for low back pain and sciatica?

What are the symptoms of low back pain and sciatica?

How are low back pain and sciatica diagnosed?

What are the treatments for low back pain and sciatica?

Are there screening tests for low back pain and sciatica?

How can I reduce my risk of low back pain and sciatica?

What questions should I ask my doctor?

Where can I get more information about low back pain and sciatica?

... (more)

Possible Complications of Mohs Surgery

Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have Mohs surgery, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:

  • Bleeding
  • Scarring
  • Reaction to the local anesthesia
  • Infection
  • Damage to nerve endings (temporary or permanent numbness or weakness)
  • Itching or shooting-pain sensations

Be sure to discuss these risks with your doctor before the procedure.

Call Your Doctor

After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

  • Bleeding or other drainage
  • Increased pain
  • Redness, warmth, tenderness, or swelling at the incision site
  • Signs of infection, including fever and chills

If you think you have an emergency, CALL 911.

... (more)

This surgery Mohs Surgery is most often used to treat basal and squamous cell carcinomas and other more rare skin cancers that:

  • Appear on the face (including eye lids, lips), scalp, ears, neck, shins, hands, fingers, feet, toes, and genitals
  • Were previously treated and came back
  • Occur near scar tissue
  • Are large
  • Have poorly-defined edges
  • Are growing rapidly

This surgery Mohs Surgery is an effective and precise way to treat basal and squamous cell skin cancers. It offers a good chance for complete removal of the cancer, while sparing normal tissue.

... (more)

Prior to Procedure

In the time leading up Mohs Surgery:

  • Discuss with your doctor any allergies or medical problems that you have.
  • You will most likely be able to continue taking your medicines. Tell your doctor if you are taking any blood thinning medicines.
  • Arrange for a ride home and for help at home.
  • Eat normally the day of the procedure.

Anesthesia

Local anesthesia will be used. You will not feel pain. You will be awake during the procedure.

Description of Procedure for Mohs Surgery

The area will be cleansed with antiseptic. A local anesthetic will be injected into the area. Using a small scalpel, the doctor will remove the top visible portion of the cancer. Next, the doctor will remove another, deeper layer. The layer will be divided into sections. Each section will be color coded. This will allow the doctor to know exactly where the layer was in the skin.

These sections will be frozen and examined under a microscope for remaining cancer cells. If cancer is found at the edges of the removed layer, the doctor will go back to the precise section. Additional layers will be removed until all areas are cancer free. For larger wound areas, the doctor will close the wound with stitches or a skin graft procedure. Small, shallow wounds may heal without stitches.

How Long Will It Take?

The surgery will go quickly. You will have to wait while the doctor examines the tissue microscopically. In some cases, this procedure can last for several hours.

How Much Will It Hurt?

You should have minimal discomfort during the procedure. There will be some minor pain during recovery. You will be given pain medicine.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center

After the procedureMohs Surgery, you may be given pain medicine and an antibiotic. You will be able to leave the same day.

At Home

When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:

  • Keep the area clean, dry, and protected. Follow your doctor’s instructions for caring for the wound.
  • Avoid swimming and soaking in tubs until the area has healed.
  • For pain relief, take over-the-counter pain medicine, such as Tylenol .
  • Be sure to attend any follow-up visits. Your doctor will monitor your condition.
  • Keep in mind that it is normal for a scar to form. The appearance may improve over time.
  • Take steps to prevent skin cancer:
    • Use sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
    • Protect your skin from the sun. For example, wear a shirt, wide brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
  • Regularly check your skin for changes.
... (more)

Prior to Procedure

In the time leading up to the procedureMohs Surgery:

  • Discuss with your doctor any allergies or medical problems that you have.
  • You will most likely be able to continue taking your medicines. Tell your doctor if you are taking any blood thinning medicines.
  • Arrange for a ride home and for help at home.
  • Eat normally the day of the procedure.

Anesthesia

Local anesthesia will be used. You will not feel pain. You will be awake during the procedure.

Description of Procedure for Mohs Surgery

The area will be cleansed with antiseptic. A local anesthetic will be injected into the area. Using a small scalpel, the doctor will remove the top visible portion of the cancer. Next, the doctor will remove another, deeper layer. The layer will be divided into sections. Each section will be color coded. This will allow the doctor to know exactly where the layer was in the skin.

These sections will be frozen and examined under a microscope for remaining cancer cells. If cancer is found at the edges of the removed layer, the doctor will go back to the precise section. Additional layers will be removed until all areas are cancer free. For larger wound areas, the doctor will close the wound with stitches or a skin graft procedure. Small, shallow wounds may heal without stitches.

How Long Will It Take?

The surgery will go quickly. You will have to wait while the doctor examines the tissue microscopically. In some cases, this procedure can last for several hours.

How Much Will It Hurt?

You should have minimal discomfort during the procedure. There will be some minor pain during recovery. You will be given pain medicine.

Post-procedure Care

At the Care Center

After the Mohs Surgery, you may be given pain medicine and an antibiotic. You will be able to leave the same day.

At Home

When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:

  • Keep the area clean, dry, and protected. Follow your doctor’s instructions for caring for the wound.
  • Avoid swimming and soaking in tubs until the area has healed.
  • For pain relief, take over-the-counter pain medicine, such as Tylenol .
  • Be sure to attend any follow-up visits. Your doctor will monitor your condition.
  • Keep in mind that it is normal for a scar to form. The appearance may improve over time.
  • Take steps to prevent skin cancer:
    • Use sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.
    • Protect your skin from the sun. For example, wear a shirt, wide brimmed hat, and sunglasses.
  • Regularly check your skin for changes.
... (more)

This procedure Mohs Surgery is used to remove skin cancer that affects the face and other sensitive areas. The doctor removes the cancer layer by layer, examining the tissue under a microscope until only healthy tissue remains.

Basal Cell Carcinoma
Basal Cell Carcinoma

... (more)

The spirit section comprises energetically oriented treatments that have to do with intention, energy healing, prayer, and in some cases god. These terms may be volatile for some seeking allergic rhinitis treatment, and for others they will resonate. Some of these treatments have proven to be profoundly healing for certain individuals. Though some people are skeptical, prior notions of these words should be set aside when reading about these healing treatments, as many of the are truly incredible!

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Hypnosis is not nationally recognized as a distinct profession and therefore has no licensure. Various certifications are available but not required for practice. Hypnosis practitioners are often separated into two camps: clinical hypnosis and lay hypnosis.

Clinical hypnosis is a credential for people with advanced study and experience in a health profession who are formally trained to use hypnosis as part of their health profession. This could be dentists, doctors, nurses, psychologists, and others. Sessions offered by these people might be fully or partially covered by your health insurance. Two professional institutions, the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis and the American Psychotherapy and Medical Hypnosis Association, offer certification in clinical hypnosis.

Lay hypnosis is less formally defined and is not as centrally organized as clinical hypnosis. It generally refers to all other hypnosis training and practice. There are a number of schools and organizing bodies that offer training and certification in hypnosis.

People seeking hypnosis as a treatment for a health challenge such as allergic rhinitis will probably have the most success if they choose a hypnosis professional who understands at least the basic physiology of their condition.

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Hypnosis is probably most effective when it is practiced regularly and frequently. It is also most effective when it is tailored to the individual patient, including his or her specific health challenges, preferences, experiences, etc. For instance, some hypnosis uses imagery and colors to help relax the patient and make hypnotic suggestions. The images and colors employed should be those that speak to each individual patient.

Hypnosis is currently available in a variety of forms. You can purchase pre-recorded hypnosis sessions for general or specific health challenges. You can also have one-on-one sessions with a hypnotherapist or health professional who practices hypnosis. At the end of the day, all hypnosis is actually self-hypnosis because it requires you to engage your own mind. You can experiment with various options and use the hypnosis techniques that suit you best to practice hypnosis by yourself. Indeed, most hypnosis will only be effective if you practice it regularly and frequently.

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Hypnosis has been studied for its effect on a number of health challenges and has demonstrated potential for treating such things as asthma, burns, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), peptic ulcers, psoriasis, warts, headaches, vertigo, and pain.

Hypnosis has not been widely studied as a treatment for allergic rhinitis, but in one study, self-hypnosis appeared to provide some benefits.47 (In this case, self-hypnosis refers to the self-administered application of hypnotic techniques. Theoretically, all hypnosis is self-hypnosis because it is an active treatment that requires the patient to engage his or her own mind.) Because it is a very low-risk treatment option for allergic rhinitis, hypnosis might be worth trying.

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Hypnosis might be helpful for treating allergic rhinitis for a variety of reasons. First, stress is generally accepted as playing a role in triggering or worsening allergic conditions such as allergic rhinitis; by helping the patient relax deeply, hypnosis might help decrease the stress that contributes to the condition. Second, a growing field of study called psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) recognizes the biochemical connections between the mind and the body. Hypnosis might help alter the allergy-related immune response by acting first on the mind, which can then influence the physical body symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

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