My Symptoms

Back pain: the advice of the specialist doctor

Interview with Dr. Michel Samson, specialist doctor, rheumatologist. He gives lots of practical advice ...

Is computer work an aggravating factor for back pain?

Certainly not. However, our way of life has changed dramatically in recent decades and computer work has become unavoidable for most of us.
Many studies have "cleared" the computer in the occurrence of low back pain and back pain. But the very prolonged sitting position, the impossibility of getting up and walking a little, causes muscular tension that causes pain, fatigue, stress ... Some employers should be more sensitive to this reality.
The problem is that very often, behind the complaint about the computer and its mouse, lies a complaint of another order: that of monotony, dissatisfaction at work, stress, professional or personal conflicts. The doctor must know how to decipher these complaints, which are rarely clearly expressed. These associated factors contribute to a large extent to accentuate back pain.

Can overweight be a cause of back pain?

Simple overweight is probably not a cause of back pain. It is useless to blame women (or men) for this point.
In addition, it is often observed that pains appear even rather during the much desired weight loss. We must always look for other causes and not stop at this overweight which is probably not the determining factor of these pains.
It is necessary to look for an organic cause lesion of course, but also to detect a possible conflict at work, a possible associated depression, so as to guide better this patient who suffers. I personally observed that the simple act of over-dramatizing this problem of overweight was sometimes enough to improve these pains, or at least to reduce their repercussions, the search for painkillers, etc.

But in case of significant overweight?

It is certainly not the same for true obesity (BMI greater than 30). In this case, the musculoskeletal apparatus is overwhelmed by the workload that is asked of it, deformations are installed, the discs crash, the muscles atrophy.
This is characterized by an excessive camber, a prominent belly without muscles, a rounded back ... Slimming, functional rehabilitation, analgesic treatments, even infiltrations are needed then, if we want to avoid this vicious circle "pain-immobility -increase of overweight ".

Why is the rest today contraindicated in cases of back pain?

For many years doctors have advocated rest in the first place in case of back pain. It has recently been found that although rest may remain essential for a short period (two to three days) in acute low back pain (lumbago), it is rapidly detrimental if it is too prolonged, and may even transition to chronicity.
In a word, in case of back pain, it is better to move, change and adapt your work positions, resume an adapted sports activity, than to go to bed or chair. It is on this concept of rehabilitation to the effort that the schools of the back and the physiotherapists work now.

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