Back Pain: What It Is and Ways to Treat It
Back pain is a phrase that can be applied to many different diseases, injuries and syndromes. The most common back pain is typically located in the lower back, but it can occur in the middle and upper back as well. Back pain can be caused by injuries such as lifting objects that are too heavy or lifting improperly, structural issues involving the discs located in between the spine or from other conditions such as pregnancy.
First, a doctor will take your complete medical history and do a thorough physical examination. Then he or she may order tests as well such as X-rays or a more detailed test such as a CT scan or magnetic resonance imagining scan (MRI). These tests can rule out important issues such as tumors or identify injured discs within the spine.
After examination and diagnosis, a doctor will move onto treatment. Treatment options are as varied as the causes for back pain. These treatments are focused on reducing tension in the back, eliminating inflammation, and strengthening the muscles around the spine. Many types of back pain can be treated without medication. These therapies include doing stretching and strengthening back exercises, correcting postures issues, incorporating new sitting and sleeping habits into a person’s routine and sometimes by going to physical therapy. Alternative treatments could include acupuncture, yoga or going to a chiropractor. Your therapies and activities should be provided to you by a therapist or a doctor.
For typical back pain, some medication may be used in situations where inflammation is an issue. Doctors often recommend taking an aspirin, Tylenol or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDS) such as Advil. Only in very extreme cases where the sufferer is not responding to treatment may require treatment by opiods, but this kind of treatment is restricted to short-term therapy.
Other options include steroid injections into either the epidural space in the spinal cord or in the face joints of the spine. As steroids are anti-inflammatory, they reduce inflammation in the spinal region and can relieve pain and pressure. Local anesthetics are often used in conjunction with these steroid injections to numb the pain until the steroid takes effect.
Only in very limited situations is surgery considered for back pain. These are for patients who have tried the measures listed above, but have not responded to these types of treatment. There are a few types of surgery including a spinal fusion and a discetomy. A spinal fusion includes using plates and pins to join two vertebrae together. A discetomy removes part of the disc that is causing the pain.
If you are suffering from back pain, there is no need to do so. Call Jeffrey M. Epstein for a consultation to start their journey towards relief and a pain-free life.