Can Wearing Your Woolies Help Ease Your Low Back Pain? This Peer-Reviewed Study Says Yes!

Can Wearing Your Woolies Help Ease Your Low Back Pain? This Peer-Reviewed Study Says Yes! Blog

The tenacious nature of chronic low back pain (LBP) makes it one of the most commonly reported medical complaints of adults over 40. While in many cases health care providers can identify the specific root cause of LBP and prescribe effective treatment, a vast majority of LBP complaints are non-specific in nature, meaning they cannot be linked to an identifiable source.

Non-specific LBP is most commonly treated with analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), and muscle relaxants. However, such treatments are only effective for as long as they are in use, and long-term use of any of these treatments can eventually lead to other health problems.

In a 2012 Turkish study, researchers wanted to know if wearing woolen underwear would help to diminish symptoms of LBP. They reasoned that garments knitted from wool provide more warmth than synthetic or plant-based materials, effectively trapping warmth within knit spaces. They noted that some sufferers of chronic non-specific low back pain report increased discomfort when exposed to cold or during temperature change, particularly at night.

The Study

Participants were 48 patients with chronic non-specific low back pain who volunteered for the study. There was no statistically significant difference between participant demographic and baseline characteristics such as age, gender, education, employment status, disease duration body weight and pain levels.

Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups of 24 participants each. The treatment group received woolen underwear, made of 75% merino wool and 25% acrylic, while the control group received a placebo of cotton underwear in similar colors. A daily check-list was given to each participant to record all medications taken during the study period, including analgesics, NSAIDs and muscle relaxants.

A pre-test was conducted for all participants using a questionnaire form, pain scale assessment, the Oswestry Disability Index (a questionnaire assessing pain and mobility levels) and the Schober test (a physical test assessing low back range of motion). The same battery of assessments was done at the end of two months, at the conclusion of the study.

The Findings

After two months, the treatment group who wore the woolen underwear showed significant reductions in pain intensity and disability, and significant improvements in lower back flexibility. Moreover, the control group recorded taking more analgesics, NSAIDs and muscle relaxants over the course of the study than the treatment group.

Researchers speculated that the added warmth provided by the woolen underwear was responsible for reduced muscle tension and stiffness, which in turn reduced pain and disability. They suggest that woolen underwear may be a cost-efficient and effective treatment for patients complaining of chronic non-specific LBP.

The health care professionals at NYDNRehab in NYC are experts at diagnosing and treating chronic LBP. They possess the skills, technology and resources to thoroughly assess and identify specific causes of LBP. Don’t live with the misery and disability of chronic LBP.  Schedule an appointment with the back pain specialists at NYDNRehab today, and get to the bottom of your LBP. And meanwhile, wear your woolies!

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In this instance, an athlete was originally diagnosed with minor quadriceps muscle strain and was treated for four weeks, with unsatisfactory results. When he came to our clinic, the muscle was not healing, and the patients’ muscle tissue had already begun to atrophy.

Upon examination using MSUS, we discovered that he had a full muscle thickness tear that had been overlooked by his previous provider. To mitigate damage and promote healing, surgery should have been performed immediately after the injury occurred. Because of misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment, the patient now has permanent damage that cannot be corrected.

The most important advantage of Ultrasound over MRI imaging is its ability to zero in on the symptomatic region and obtain imaging, with active participation and feedback from the patient. Using dynamic MSUS, we can see what happens when patients contract their muscles, something that cannot be done with MRI. From a diagnostic perspective, this interaction is invaluable.

Dynamic ultrasonography examination demonstrating
the full thickness tear and already occurring muscle atrophy
due to misdiagnosis and not referring the patient
to proper diagnostic workup

Demonstration of how very small muscle defect is made and revealed
to be a complete tear with muscle contraction
under diagnostic sonography (not possible with MRI)

image

Complete tear of rectus femoris
with large hematoma (blood)

image

Separation of muscle ends due to tear elicited
on dynamic sonography examination

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