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Taking the pain out of diagnosing back pain.


Back pain, in the form of osteoarthritis, is probably this society's single

ailment affecting adults, both male and female. For most, it is simply part of t process aggravated by an acute episode of injury or chronic exposure to any of a encountered at work or play. Lifting, twisting, bending, and other movements rep have their nagging effects. Even just doing nothing more than sitting in a certa eventually develop itself into a chronic back pain syndrome.

Of course, pain is a very subjective symptom--mere annoyance to one may b another. You may know that you hurt, but is your doctor really convinced? The be as important in the doctor's office, but if you attribute your pain to an inj condition for which you are seeking financial compensation, the question becomes back pain accounts for an enormous amount of lost work time in this country--estimates go as high as 25 percent--at tremendous costs to employers, insurance companies, and eventually to workers themselves. Yet in the vast majority of cases, the cause of the pain cannot be clearly identified. It is understandable, therefore, why employers and insurers become very suspicious when it comes time to document complaints and lawsuits. And although faking or exaggerating back pain may not necessarily be as common as many may suspect, it is still important from the standpoint of treatment, as well as compensation, for doctors to be able to quantify as much as possible the extent of back pain or disability.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported on the development of highly so computerized machines that accurately measure how well one can go through variou as bending or twisting. As a result, a much less subjective picture of the amoun can be obtained. If the patient is able to repeat a series of movements while on inconsistent readings will effectively reveal that patient's magnifying of sympt consistent readings will show the extent of actual injury. There is, of course, awarding excessive compensation based solely upon a machine's reading; neverthel have become very useful in court cases, because they focus not just on the pain the degree of functional impairment. More important, such a machine enables the to determine the amount and kind of low back pain treatment for each particular many patients have been able to return to work much sooner than expected. Becaus sell for $45,000 and up, not every doctor's office will have one readily availab rehabilitation clinics, however, would do well to consider one, at least from th machines will more than pay for themselves in reducing the amount of time lost f desirable end for both the employer and the employee.
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Title Annotation:sophisticated technology shows extent of actual injury or pain
Publication:Medical Update
Date:Nov 1, 1989
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