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May 23, 1966

Relief of Nocturnal Intractable Low Back and Sciatic Pain by "Chair Sleep"

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurological Surgery, Temple University School of Medicine and Hospital, Philadelphia.

JAMA. 1966;196(8):738-739. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100210108037

LOW BACK PAIN and sciatic pain, worse at night, unrelieved by bed rest and by large doses of the usual anodynes, and occasionally associated with minimal abnormal neurological signs, is a common symptom found in cauda equina tumor, usually a benign neurofibroma or meningioma.

The writer reports an additional phenomenon which he has noted in the histories of some of these patients, namely an attempt by the patient to obtain relief of pain and its resulting insomnia, by sleeping in a chair at night. Although the use of a rocking chair for the diurnal relief of back pain of varied etiology is well known, the writer believes that this nocturnal chair sitting discovered by the patient as a therapeutic measure has not been emphasized in the medical literature as an important warning to the physician of the possibility of an intraspinal tumor as a cause for the patient's complaints, and

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