01 Aug Troubleshooting Low Back Pain
Aches and pains come and go and more often flare up with aging or after a weekend of chores around the house. One common ache complaint is low back pain. Most of the time, you can relieve low back pain with rest and over-the-counter pain relievers. When low back pain persists, it’s time for a physician to assess your issues and discuss a plan of action.
Low back pain is rarely linked to serious conditions. However, some cases can be associated with conditions such as kidney stones, endometriosis, and fibromyalgia. So, when pain becomes chronic, it can be challenging to diagnose and treat, and all the more important to seek medical treatment.
Other factors may play into low back pain, such as age, your fitness level, pregnancy, weight gain, occupational risks and even backpack overload in children.
For many back pain sufferers, simple treatments, such as rest, using heat and massage helps resolve their pain. However, when back pain becomes more severe, a visit to a specialist such as the physicians at Desert Interventional Spine Consultants, for comprehensive care may be necessary. Further treatment options include:
- Prescription pain medication
- Epidural steroid injection- steroids delivered with a needle directly into the epidural space
- Intradiscal injection-typically used if a physician suspects the low back pain is due to an intervertebral disc
- Facet Injection-a mixture of anesthetic and a steroid medication injected into the facet joints, located between each set of vertebrae
- Medial Branch Block-similar to a facet injection but the medicine is injected outside the joint space, near the medial branch nerve that serves the joint.
- Lumbar Radio Frequency Ablation- a procedure that uses heat to interrupt pain signals in spinal nerves
Your physician may also recommend alternative therapies, such as:
- Spinal manipulation
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Comprehensive rehabilitation programs
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
Your spine works hard and can carry a heavy load. There are several things you can do to keep your back in top shape and avoid pain. In fact, recent research reported in the online journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that for those with chronic low-back pain, weekly yoga classes relieved pain, improved function and reduced the need for pain medication. Participants in the study experienced the most benefit after six weeks of classes. Other recommendations to maintain a strong and healthy back include:
- Stretching before exercise or any strenuous activity
- Maintaining good posture—refrain from slouching when standing or sitting
- Make sure your work desk and computer are at a comfortable height and use a chair with good lumbar support
- Wear comfortable, low-heeled shoes
- When lifting objects, avoid lifting things that are too heavy. When lifting, keep the object close to your body and lift from the knees. Engage your stomach muscles for support.
Simple changes can help resolve many back issues. However, if those problems persist, seek help from your physician before too long, and you find yourself flat on your back.