Back pain is one of the most troubling chronic conditions a person can have. Along with headaches, they make up the bulk of long term medical issues that can be hard to diagnose the root cause of. They also lead to many days of missed work and debilitation. It’s believed that about 80% of people will experience episodes of back pain throughout their lives. The severity will vary, but for many of them it will lead to days of being bed ridden. Low back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. If you’ve ever experienced it, it’s not hard to see why.
Acute back pain from injuries, like any injury, can be a difficult experience to get through. However, it’s chronic back pain that can be truly troublesome because of all the different conditions that can trigger it. Here is what you need to know about treating back pain.
Back pain has a reputation for being hard to diagnose. That’s because many different conditions can cause back pain and when a doctor has to rely on self-reporting of pain levels, everyone will present differently. However, there are many different kinds of testing available to help narrow down an accurate diagnosis.
A physical exam will be used to assess what triggers your pain. For example, if pressure is applied or if you position your body in a certain way. A thorough medical history will be taken and imaging testing will be used. X-rays and CT scans can be helpful in identifying spinal issues. Depending on the suspected cause, blood tests and bone scans may also be ordered to investigate other aspects of your health that could be affecting your back.
Back pain occurs in degrees and can be caused by anything from sneezing awkwardly or sleeping wrong all the way to herniated discs or arthritis. Acute injuries like falls or the aforementioned sudden twist in the back from an awkward movement can cause mild to moderate back pain. These episodes are easily identifiable because they have an obvious trigger.
Chronic back pain can be a bit more difficult to pinpoint the cause of without undergoing a few different tests. Some of the most common causes of back pain include arthritic pain, scoliosis, osteoporosis, herniated disc, and degenerative disc disease which can also trigger sciatica pain. In cases like these, the pain will have to be managed over the long term by sticking to some best practices.
Treating your back pain is often a multi-step process. Once the source of your pain is accurately identified, treatment options will vary. Usually, your treatment plan will consist of a combination of some of the following. Different medications may be used depending on the circumstances. Anti-inflammatories work for many people, though for some they are not strong enough. Muscle relaxers may be prescribed along with steroid injections to handle inflammation.
Physical therapy is a key part of rehabilitating your back. While medications provide acute relief when the pain is unbearable, the best way to protect yourself from episodes of debilitating back pain in the future is to strengthen the muscles so your spine isn’t as prone to shifting. By increasing your back strength, you should be able to reduce the chances of injury or an episode of pain in the future depending on the condition.
Finally, lifestyle changes will also help prevent incidences in the future. Getting rest when you need it, including sleeping enough, will help strengthen your back. If you’re overweight, losing weight is one of the best things you can do for your back. You’ll also want to be mindful of your posture and take care when lifting heavy objects. In most cases, back pain is manageable without having to resort to surgery.
Back pain can be one of the more difficult conditions to diagnose and treat because all of us are built differently, have different thresholds of pain, and lifestyle habits can contribute to the amplification of that pain. That’s why it’s so important not to just accept back pain as something you have and try to treat it yourself. You need the help of a medical professional that can run the tests necessary to make an accurate diagnosis and provide you with the treatments you need to reduce your pain in both the short term and the long term. Managing back pain is often a process that requires a multifaceted approach. Get the help you need from a medical professional you can trust. If you’re suffering with back pain, book an appointment online with us today. The team at Pure Medicine is here to provide you with the information and treatment options you need to overcome your back pain and go back to leading a normal life.