Table of Contents
Back Pain Relief
Nearly half of the world population suffers from back pain. Generally speaking, back pain may be either constant or sudden and range from mild to debilitating. However, there are more complex types and back pain relief treatments when it comes to this condition. If you are one of the many who experience this kind of pain, it is time for you to get informed on the facts on back pain treatments including exercise, medication and care.
Chiropractic Back Pain Treatment
The majority of people in search of back pain relief choose this treatment as the best back pain relief alternative. Researches show that 35% of about 22 million Americans have chosen chiropractic therapy as their solution to back pain problems.
The chiropractic treatment includes usage of hands-on spinal manipulation in combination with other alternative treatments. The main purpose is to align the body’s musculoskeletal structure properly in order for it to be able to heal itself without any medications or surgery. This type of manipulation is used in order to restore the joints mobility after a traumatic event such as repetitive sitting without proper back support or injury.
This type of therapy is primarily used as a back pain relief alternative for muscles, bones and connective tissue. Sometimes it is used in combination with conventional medical treatments.
After a physical examination is performed and the diagnosis is set, a chiropractor plans a treatment for the patient. This plan may involve one or several manual adjustments of joints manipulation. This is done by controlled, sudden force used in order to improve motion range and quality. Additionally, a chiropractor may incorporate exercise and rehabilitation as a part of the treatment plan.
Chiropractic care is considered to be an effective, safe treatment for lower back pain relief, especially in cases of sudden injury that happens as a result from getting tackled or moving difficult objects.
Injections for Back Pain Treatment
Medicines are often being injected with the purpose of reducing back pain and inflammation. These usually consist of a numbing medicine and a steroid.
Generally speaking, there are two major back pain problems that are most commonly solved with injections: spinal stenosis and radiculopathy. Additionally, doctors use injections for other back pain conditions and for determining the reason for the occurring pain.
Radicultopathy is an inflammation or damage of the nerve in the low back or the neck. This results in sharp pain from the lower back down into one or both legs.
Spinal stenosis is a condition where the lower spine becomes narrowed and it compresses the nerves. This results in buttock or leg pain and may be followed by back pain too.
Medications have proved to be an effective lower back pain treatment and they are usually injected into or around the inflamed or damaged nerves area. Doctors may use the following injections kinds:
The meaning of ‘epidural’ is ‘around the spinal cord’. These can be performed in a doctor’s office or at a hospital and are usually given by physiatrists, anesthesiologists or interventional radiologists.
Epidural injections are not painful because they are preceded by a numbing medicine in most cases. However, in some cases, people experience mild tenderness for duration of a few days after the injection.
- Nerve block
Nerve block injection is injected in the area around the nerve. The most common anesthetic used in combination with this injection is Lidocaine.
The injection can be followed by numbness with pain relief. However, this will only last for several hours.
Spinal Decompression Treatment for Back Pain
If you have been suffering from lasting back pain, you may have wondered ‘how to treat back pain?’ Back pain can often be disruptive to the life and this is exactly why people turn to treatments such as spinal decompression therapy. There are two types of Spinal Decompression: nonsurgical and surgical. Here are some tips that will help you decide:
- Nonsurgical Spinal Decompression works by stretching the spine gently with the purpose of achieving back pain relief. When done properly, this can change the position and the force of the spine. The change will then take the pressure off the spinal disks and the bulging disks will retract from causing pressure on the spine.
This spinal decompression treatment is usually used for back or neck pain, bulging disks or degenerative disk disease, worn spinal joints and injured spinal nerve roots.
In the process of nonsurgical spinal decompression, the doctor fits the patient with harness around the pelvis and the trunk. The patient is faced down or up on a computer-controlled table which the doctor uses to customize treatments. These may last 30 to 45 minutes. Generally, a patient needs 20 to 28 such treatments in duration of five to seven weeks. This treatment can be combined with other treatments such as electrical stimulation, heat and cold therapy or ultrasound.
- Surgical spinal decompression
This is another option for back pain, but most commonly used in cases where other treatments did not work. The surgery may help patients with pain, tingling, weakness and numbness.
There are several types of such surgery such as:
- Diskectomy (removal of a portion of the disk in order to relieve nerves pressure)
- Laminectomy (see below)
- Foraminotomy (removal of bone and tissue in order to expand nerve roots openings)
- Osteophyte removal (removal of bony growths)
- Corpectomy (removal of a vertebral body)
When it comes to back pain surgery, there are several risks included, such as: infection, blood clots, allergic reaction, bleeding and nerve or tissue damage.
Laminectomy is the most commonly performed back surgery. In the duration of this treatment for back pain, the surgeon will remove the rear portion of a number of vertebras (spinal bones). Additionally, he may remove the bone spurs and the ligaments that press on the nerves.
The majority of surgeries of this kind are performed with mechanical ventilation and anesthesia. In most cases, patients immediately experience a reduction in the previously experienced back pain symptoms. However, the results of the laminectomy may not show for as long as about six weeks after.
Back Pain Relief at Home
In cases of back pain, doctors recommend the following remedies:
- Sleeping with a pillow between the knees and lying on one side
- Lying on the back with a pillow under the knees
- Regular exercise
- Certain non-presctiption medications such as ibuprofen, Tylenol
- Use of ice or heat
- Avoiding prolonged bed rest
PT is a commonly used therapy in cases of back pain and it involves treatments focused on injuries or disabilities management and prevention. This treatment is used to relieve the pain and promote the healing process. It is normally practiced by a professionally trained physical therapist.
There are two types of physical therapy: active and passive. Passive physical therapy includes: manual therapies, electrical stimulation, heat packs, ice packs, ultrasound and dry needling. Active physical therapy, on the other hand, includes pain relief exercises, movement based activities, strengthening exercises and aerobic conditioning.
This treatment for back pain is a safe, drug free way of reducing the pain. It is used for treating certain chronic and acute pain conditions. It works by blocking the pain messages sent to the brain by using bioelectric currents. Additionally, it prompts the body to produce pain-relieving endorphins.
This type of therapy is used to treat: reflex sympathetic dystrophy, back pain, headaches and migraines, muscle pain, blood flow disorders in limbs, arthritis, TMJ and skin ulcers and pain. It is not recommended for pregnant women and people who suffer from thrombosis or bacterial infection.
This therapy by itself is not super-effective, but can produce some amazing effects if combined with other back pain treatments.
Acupuncture for Back Pain Treatment
Acupuncture is now often requested for chronic low back pain. A recent review of 22 studies performed on acupuncture patients showed that this treatment did actually provide short-term lower back pain relief. Additionally, it was proved that people who got this treatment compared to those who did not, experienced greater pain reducing.
This is a therapy that has its origins from 2500 years ago, first starting in China. The procedure involves needles, inserted in certain point of the body. Chinese medicine claims that there are more than 2000 such points in a human body, connected by meridians that create a Qi energy. By stimulating these points, one corrects the qi imbalance and improves the energy flow. This is why this treatment is believed to reduce back pain and improve general health.
When it comes to acupuncture, it is highly believed that its effects come from stimulating the nervous system. This, purposely, triggers the release of chemicals into the spinal cord, brain and muscles, that later alter the pain experience.
If done by a professional, acupuncture is generally safe process. Sure, there are several serious side effects that include punctured organs and infections, but these are quite rare. It is important to choose a trained acupuncturist in order to avoid such side effects.
If you are considering acupuncture as an alternative to the back pain cure, make sure that you discuss this decision with the doctor first. Inform the doctor of pregnancy, pacemaker or implants of any kind you may have. Your doctor should be the one to refer you to a licensed acupuncturist.
TENS for Back Pain Relief
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is another back pain treatment that is performed by using low voltage electric current with the purpose of relieving the pain. This is usually done by using a TENS unit. Tens unit is a small battery-operated device that can be hooked to a belt. The device is connected to two electrodes that carry an electric current from the machine to the patient’s skin.
When it comes to TENS, there is very little research to describe how this treatment works. The use of this treatment dates back to the 1960 when the gate control theory of pain was introduced. This theory claims that stimulating nerves can close a gate mechanism in the spinal cord. This can later help eliminate the pain sensation.
When a TENS treatment for back pain is performed, this is done by placing electrodes on the skin over a back area known to be in pain. This can create electrical impulses that will travel along the nerve fibers and create a sensation of tingling.
Electrical impulses can present pain relief in some cases, probably because stimulating the nerves can sometimes block other pain signals. Another theory is that this can also help the body in producing endorphins, the best natural painkillers.
When properly used, TENS is generally safe. However, you need to consult your doctor prior to making a decision on a certain therapy. The technique is not recommended for everyone, especially those who have a pacemaker or to women that are pregnant.
The doctor or physical therapist can show you how to use the machine, but you must solely use it for the reasons it was given to you.
- If the condition changes, let your doctor know immediately
- Never place electrodes on burned or damaged skins
- Remove the electrodes if a rash or burn develops underneath them
- Do not use electrodes on irritated skin
- Do not drive while using the unit
- Do not shower with the unit inside the shower or the bathtub
- Do not use the unit while sleeping
Nowadays, 8 out of 10 people visit the doctor’s office for back pain. There is no known back pain cure, but there are many medications and treatment types that can help you reduce the pain in the back. In some cases, this pain is occurring once as a result of some physical activity or sudden movement, but in some cases the pain can be chronic. In those cases, it is best for the patient to find the best back pain treatment possible for their case and work on relieving the pain in the back and improving their condition.