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The University of Maryland Spine Network can help you put your pain behind you. With convenient locations throughout the state, the UM Spine Network is home to the region’s leading spine surgeons and specialists that can help you identify the source of your pain and put an end to it for good.
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In This Section:
What Is The Outlook For People With Back Pain
The prognosis for complete recovery is excellent. Most people with acute mechanical back pain respond very rapidly to treatment. About 90% of people with acute low back pain are symptom-free in one to two weeks. Many of the remaining estimated 10% recover within three months.
Recurrences of back pain are common. Continuing your home exercise program may help reduce your risk of another episode.
How Is Chronic Back Pain Treated
- NSAIDs help decrease swelling and pain or fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor’s order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask your healthcare provider if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions.
- Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor’s order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly. Do not use more than 4 grams total of acetaminophen in one day.
- Prescription pain medicine called narcotics or opioids may be given for certain types of chronic pain. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely.
- Muscle relaxers help decrease pain and muscle spasms.
- Steroids decrease inflammation that causes pain.
- Anesthetic medicines may be injected in or around a nerve to block pain signals from the nerves.
- Antidepressants may be used to help decrease or prevent the symptoms of depression or anxiety. They are also used to treat nerve pain.
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How Long Does Lower Back Pain And Spasms Last
ByJoshua Peruzzi | Submitted On May 10, 2007
As you grow older, you tend to develop lower back pain or lumbago. Seven out of ten people will experience it at some time in their lives The risk increases if you inflict strains and sprains through incorrect lifting or awkward movement. Exercises can also injure your lower back. If your work regularly involves lifting, twisting, bending, and reaching, you can injure your back.
Studies show that people between 19 and 45 years old suffer from disability due to back ache. After the age of 45, the condition can become severe.
Usually when you impose injury on the muscles, bones, ligaments, and joints in your back , you jeopardize your back. The painful back also shows that the tendons or discs are damaged. You can feel the discomfort anywhere on your back, in between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the legs. You may find it difficult to move around and stand upright.
Usually, the pain will last from a couple of days to a few weeks. Most of the times, it will go away after six weeks. If you endure the pain in less than three months, you then have an acute condition. Once the condition extends to over 12 weeks, the condition becomes chronic.
Most of the acute cases happen because of a trauma to the lower back or a disorder such as arthritis. Sometimes, a sports injury or a damage on the spinal bones and tissues due to accident can result in acute back pain.
Unexplained Acute Low Back Pain
Unexplained low back pain means chronic pain that comes on gradually, over time, with no specific injury, event, or illness causing it.
- Prolonged sitting and lack of fitness can weaken back muscles and cause pain from lack of support.
- Ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis.
- Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column that puts pressure on the spinal cord.
- Certain types of cancer, in rare cases.
Those most susceptible are over 30, overweight and/or pregnant, and not physically fit. Smoking interferes with healing after any sort of stress to the back.
If there are additional symptoms, medical care should be sought: fever, unexplained weight loss, leg weakness or numbness, or trouble urinating.
An exact diagnosis is made through blood tests and through imaging such as x-rays, CT scan, or MRI.
Once more serious causes are ruled out, treatment may include medications to ease pain, swelling, and inflammation. Steroid injections are useful in some cases.
Overall, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can be very helpful with easing chronic low back pain.
Top Symptoms: lower back pain, back pain that shoots to the butt, fever, back pain
Symptoms that always occur with unexplained acute low back pain:lower back pain
Symptoms that never occur with unexplained acute low back pain:buttocks numbness, thigh numbness, involuntary defecation, fever
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What’s The Treatment For Low Back Strain
Low back strain can be a painful and depressing injury. But the good news is that most cases heal on their own, given time. To speed the healing, you should:
- Ice your back to reduce pain and swelling as soon as you injure yourself. Do it for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days. You can also ice your back after physical activity.
- Apply heat to your back — but only after 2-3 days of icing it first. Use heat on your back only after the initial swelling has gone down. You could use an electric heating pad or a hot water bottle. Or you could just soak in a hot bath.
- Take painkillers or other drugs, if recommended by your doctor. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , like Advil, Aleve, or Motrin, will help with lower back pain and swelling. However, these drugs may have side effects. They should be used only occasionally, unless your doctor specifically says otherwise. Prescription painkillers and muscle relaxants are sometimes necessary.
- Use support. Ask your doctor or therapist first, but consider getting a belt or girdle to add support to your back. Use it only short-term or for support with heavy or repetitive lifting.
- Get physical therapy to build up strength, if your doctor recommends it. Do not stay in bed or on the couch all day. That will make it worse.
- Maintain good muscle tone in your abdominal and lower back muscles.
What Is Low Back Pain
The low back, also called the lumbar region, is the area of the back that starts below the ribcage. Almost everyone has low back pain at some point in life. Itâs one of the top causes of missed work in the U.S. Fortunately, it often gets better on its own. When it doesn’t, your doctor may be able to help with several effective treatments.
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How To Treat Back Pain
Since inflammation can be widespread, McNally says that taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory is the best course of action. Ibuprofen has been shown to help alleviate pain and inflammation from a COVID-19 infection with no ill effects.
Walking around your house can help, McNally said. You should wait until youre asymptomatic before you do any significant exercise, as you dont want to stress your body out so that it can heal from the infection.
Using anti-inflammatories and gentle stretching may alleviate the majority of back pain. Once youre asymptomatic, easy exercise should help clear back and joint pain for good.
The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.
How Is Chronic Back Pain Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask if you have any medical conditions. He or she may ask if you have a history of back pain and how it started. He or she may watch you stand and walk, and check your range of motion. Show him or her where you feel pain and what makes it better or worse. Describe the pain, how bad it is, and how long it lasts. Tell your provider if your pain worsens at night or when you lie on your back.
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Looking At Two Kinds Of Back Pain
Lets talk about the most common forms of back pain: acute and subacute . Most of these cases are due to harmless causes. We lump them into the mechanical back pain diagnosis, which includes muscle spasm, ligament strain, and arthritis. A handful will be due to potentially more serious causes such as herniated discs , spondylolisthesis , a compression fracture of the vertebra due to osteoporosis , or spinal stenosis . Rarely, less than 1% of the time, we will see pain due to inflammation , cancer , or infection.
When someone with acute low back pain comes into the office, my main job is to rule out one of these potentially more serious conditions through my interview and exam. It is only when we suspect a cause other than mechanical that we will then order imaging or labs, and then things can go in a different direction.
But most of the time, were dealing with a relatively benign and yet really painful, disabling, and expensive condition. How do we treat this? The sheer number of treatments is dizzying, but truly effective treatment options are few.
Can Back Pain Lead To Complications
The good news is that most people recover from back pain within a few weeks.1 See your doctor if you experience additional symptoms, such as:
- loss of bowel and/or bladder control
- severe pain that gets worse instead of better over time
- problems with passing urine or bowel movements
- numbness or a pins-and-needles sensation in your legs, back or elsewhere
- unexplained weight loss
- back redness or swelling
For some people, back pain becomes an ongoing problem. Around 1 in every 2 people who experience back pain will experience it again, and for 1 in 5 people, back pain may last beyond 8 to 12 weeks. Possible complications that result from persistent, long-term back pain include:
- dependence on strong pain medicines, such as opioids
- reduced quality of life
- more difficulty finding work and keeping active
See your healthcare professional if your back pain is unresolved and limits your movement and activities. A health care professional can help you find ways to manage your pain and regain a better quality of life.
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Low Back Pain How Long Does It Last
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Low back pain, how long does it last?
Have you ever had a bout of low back pain?
Chances are that for up to 80% of you reading this, the answer is yes.
The duration of which your low back pain may last is dependent on its cause – for which we categorise as either mechanical, or, inflammatory.
Typically if your back pain has been classified as mechanical in nature, we would expect it should settle down within 4-6 weeks. Mechanical pain, relates to muscular and soft tissue issues such as strength imbalances and straining. They tend to be caused by activities and accidents.
There are seven factors affecting a patient’s recovery duration from mechanical causes:
1. Severity: On average, mechanical pain would last for 4-6 weeks in most cases. However, if it has been caused by an accident where substantial injuries were sustained, the pain may become chronic, lasting for more than 3 months.
2. Treatment: How soon an individidual seeks treatment after experiencing symptoms – and the quality of the advice for which they received affects their recovery rate.
3. Posture: The individual’s ability to have a flexible arrangement to blend sitting with standing at work and home is an important factor in recovery.
4. Sleep: Most of our muscular recovery is done during sleep. The quality and quantity of a patient’s sleep is a crucial component for them to promote recovery.
What does this mean?
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When Should I Contact My Healthcare Provider About A Back Strain Or Sprain
- You have severe pain and cannot walk more than a few steps.
- You have numbness in the area of injury or down your leg.
- You have injured your lower back several times before.
- You have a lump or area with an unusual shape.
- You have pain that interferes with sleep.
- You have obvious weakness in an extremity after an injury.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/09/2018.
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How Do You Treat Back Strain
Back pain will not get better by lying down. Inactivity can actually make the pain worse. It reduces muscle tone and flexibility and might increase the risk of a blood clot.
Over-the-counter hot or cold packs can help with pain, as can some anti-inflammatory medicines. Movement has been proven to normalize pain response with your nerves. Staying active is the best remedy. Your doctor may recommend certain exercises, but ultimately sprained back healing time is lessened if proper treatment is implemented early.
When Should I See A Doctor If I Have Lower Back Pain
In many cases lower back pain stops on its own. But if it doesnt, here are some guidelines on when you may want to start seeking professional help:
- If the pain lasts four weeks or longer
- If the pain keeps getting worse as time goes by
- If you are experiencing other symptoms, such as fever, major weight loss or weight gain, loss of function or weakness in extremities, bladder problems, etc.
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What Are The Risks
Long bed rest can lead to slower recovery.Staying in bed for any prolonged period can make you stiff and increase pain. When you dont move and bend, you lose muscle strength and flexibility. With bed rest, you lose about 1 percent of your muscle strength each day. And you can lose 20 to 30 percent in a week. It becomes more difficult to return to any activity. As you become weaker and stiffer your recovery takes longer.
Who needs bed rest?Almost no one! The only people who might require time in bed are those with unstable spinal fractures awaiting surgery.
What can I do for the pain?Hot or cold packs often help. Some people can get pain relief from non-prescription analgesics or anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen . But no medication should be taken for an extended period of time.
When should I see a health care provider?You should see your health care provider right away if:
- You have severe continuous back pain that lasts longer than 48 hours.
- You have severe continuous back pain and fever.
- You have back pain with accompanying pain, numbness or weakness in one or both legs or feet. Your leg symptoms are more disabling than your back symptoms.
- You have back pain and the onset of numbness in your private/genital region or changes in your ability to control your bladder and bowel function.
What Are Some Treatments For Back Pain That Arent Invasive Or Invasive
Your doctor may prescribe a variety of therapies to alleviate your lower back discomfort. Expect your doctor to use a stepped-care strategy in general. Starting with easy, low-cost therapies and progressing to more aggressive ones later is the best way to go. Its important to remember that many therapies take time to fully take effect.
Medications. Your doctor may prescribe a prescription medicine if over-the-counter tablets and topicals arent adequate to ease back discomfort. Anti-seizure medicine, such as gabapentin or pregabalin, for nerve-related discomfort, are examples.
Opioids, such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, on a short-term basis
Muscle relaxants, such as baclofen or carisoprodol
Prescription NSAIDs, such as celecoxib, diclofenac, or fenoprofen
Physical therapy is a kind of treatment that is used . Passive and active treatments are used in PT for lower back pain to assist the patient in strengthening core muscles, increasing spinal
flexibility and range of motion, and correct posture, among other things. Exercise, ice/heat, massage, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation , and ultrasound injections may all be part of your physical therapy sessions. When lower back discomfort creates sciatica symptoms like leg pain, an epidural steroid injection or a selective nerve block may give temporary pain relief.
What Are Some Alternative, Complementary, and Emerging Lower Back Pain Treatments?
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How Long Does An Esi Last
It is difficult to say how long their effect will last. Generally, the immediate pain relief is from the local anesthetic injected, but this wears off in a few hours. The steroid starts kicking in between 2 to 7 days and its effect, as mentioned above, can last for several days up to a year. One can have up to three repeat injections, each two weeks apart. This should lead to a gradual but incremental improvement in pain. If there is a need to have more injections, it is advised to wait at least 6 months to a year before more injections can be administered.
How Can I Tell If My Back Pain Is Serious
You should get medical care right away if:
You are older than 50
The pain was caused by an injury such as a fall or car crash
You have trouble sleeping because of the pain
You lose weight without trying or have a fever, chills, or a history of cancer
You have trouble urinating or controlling your bowels
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