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July 11, 1980

Relief of Back Pain

JAMA. 1980;244(2):136. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310020018016

To the Editor.—  The letter from Stanley H. Bohrer, MD (242:2845, 1979), concerning the comfort he gets from sleeping in a hammock calls for comment, lest he or others think themselves the first to make such an observation. In 1948 Van Gelderen1 described the painful effects of the lordotic posture and the good effect of reversing lordosis in two patients with spondylotic compression of the cauda equina. In his report he used lying in a hammock supine and prone as test procedures, reporting that lying in a hammock supine relieved symptoms, whereas the opposite did not. Since about that time the lordotic posture while walking has been recognized as an important contributing factor in neurogenic intermittent claudication. Rounding the back, walking in a stooped-forward position, stooping down to reverse lordosis, sleeping with the knees up under the chin to produce reverse lordosis, and sleeping with hips flexed in a