How To Relieve Back Pain
The following tips may help reduce your back pain and speed up your recovery:
- stay as active as possible and try to continue your daily activities this is 1 of the most important things you can do, as resting for long periods is likely to make the pain worse
- try exercises and stretches for back pain other activities such as walking, swimming, yoga and pilates may also be helpful
- take anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen remember to check the medicine is safe for you to take and ask a pharmacist if you’re not sure
- use hot or cold compression packs for short-term relief you can buy these from a pharmacy, or a hot water bottle or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth or towel will work just as well
Although it can be difficult, it helps if you stay optimistic and recognise that your pain should get better. People who manage to stay positive despite their pain tend to recover quicker.
Back pain usually gets better on its own within a few weeks or months and you may not need to see a doctor or other healthcare professional.
But it’s a good idea to get help if:
- the pain does not start to improve within a few weeks
- the pain stops you doing your day-to-day activities
- the pain is very severe or gets worse over time
- you’re worried about the pain or struggling to cope
If you see a GP they will ask about your symptoms, examine your back and discuss possible treatments.
They may refer you to a specialist doctor or a physiotherapist for further help.
Treatments For Back Pain From A Specialist
A GP, specialist or physiotherapist may recommend extra treatments if they do not think your pain will improve with self-help measures alone.
These may include:
- group exercise classes where you’re taught exercises to strengthen your muscles and improve your posture
- manual therapy treatments, such as manipulating the spine and massage, which are usually done by a physiotherapist, chiropractor or osteopath
- psychological support, such as cognitive behavioural therapy , which can be a useful part of treatment if you’re struggling to cope with pain
Some people choose to see a therapist for manual therapy without seeing a GP first. If you want to do this, you’ll usually need to pay for private treatment.
Surgery is generally only considered in the small number of cases where back pain is caused by a specific medical condition.
How Common Is Back Pain
If youre like most Americans, youll probably have back pain at some point in your life. Four in five adults suffer from low back pain. Luckily, most back pain goes away within one to two weeks. But if your pain is long-term or chronicand if you have certain symptoms with your low back painyou may want to see a spine specialist.
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Types Of Pain Treated By A Pain Management Doctor
The types of pain treated by a pain management doctor fall into three main groups. The first is pain due to direct tissue injury, such as arthritis. The second type of pain is due to nerve injury or a nervous system disease, such as a stroke. The third type of pain is a mix of tissue and nerve injury, such as back pain.
What Is Upper And Middle Back Pain
Upper and middle back pain can occur anywhere from the base of your neck to the bottom of your rib cage.
Your ribs attach to a long, flat bone in the centre of the chest called the sternum and attach to and wrap around your back. If a nerve in this area is pinched, irritated, or injured, you may also feel pain in other places where the nerve travels, such as your arms, legs, chest, and belly.
The upper and middle back has:
- 12 vertebrae. These bones attach to your rib cage. They make up the longest part of your back.
- Discs that separate each vertebra and absorb shock as you move.
- Muscles and ligaments that hold the spine together.
See a picture of the spine.
Upper and middle back pain is not as common as low back pain or neck pain, because the bones in this area of the back don’t flex or move as much as the bones in your lower back or neck. Instead, they work with the ribs to keep the back stable and help protect vital organs, such as the heart and lungs.
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What Conditions Cause Back Pain
Many people hurt their backs by falling or heavy lifting. This is called acute back pain because it comes on suddenly and resolves within six weeks.
Back pain that persists for three months or longer is considered chronic. Common causes of chronic back pain include:
- Muscle or ligament strains
- Skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis
- Compression fractures from osteoporosis
Conditions like arthritis may cause the space around your spinal cord to become narrow. This painful condition is called spinal stenosis.
What Is Lumbar Spinal Stenosis
Lumbar spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back, known as the lumbar area.
This usually happens when bone or tissueor bothgrow in the openings in the spinal bones. This growth can squeeze and irritate nerves that branch out from the spinal cord.
The result can be pain, numbness, or weakness, most often in the legs, feet, and buttocks.
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Why Is Lower Back Pain Such A Common Problem
The bottom part of your back typically has just five vertebrae fewer than your neck and mid-back. And these vertebrae do a lot of heavy lifting! Your lower back is where your spine connects to your pelvis, bearing the weight of your upper body. This area experiences a lot of movement and stress, which may lead to wear, tear and injuries.
What To Expect From Your Pain Management Specialist
- NSPC Team
A pain management specialist is a doctor who evaluates your pain and treats a wide range of pain problems. A pain management doctor treats sudden pain problems such as headaches and many types of long-lasting, chronic, pain such as low back pain. Patients are seen in a pain clinic and can go home the same day. Pain management doctors offer a mix of medication-based treatments and procedures, that can stop the pain at its source.
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What Doctor Should I See For Back Pain
If your back pain is from a recent strain or mild injury, your primary care doctor can probably help. But if the pain is severe, ongoing, or accompanied by other symptoms such as numbness or tingling in your arms or legs, it may be time to see a back doctor. Start with someone who specializes in nonsurgical treatment for back pain. This can include a physiatrist, chiropractor, physical therapist, or orthopaedic physician assistant. They can evaluate your condition and offer appropriate treatment to help alleviate your pain. Depending on your circumstances, they might also refer you to another type of back specialist — for example, a pain management specialist or spine surgeon.
A Diverse Treatment Approach
Pain treatment may start with a primary care doctor, with basic pain medications and physical therapy. However, for advanced pain treatment, you will be sent to a pain management doctor. Pain management doctors are trained to treat you in a step-wise manner.
For more information on treatments offered by pain management doctors,
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Holistic And Osteopathic Specialists
In the event of chronic or severe back pain, many individuals tend to prefer to see osteopathic or holistic specialists. These types of doctors and professionals include osteopathic physicians and chiropractic specialists.
Osteopaths are put through the same training and licensing/certification processes that all medical doctors must obtain to practice medicine, but they tend to do additional studies of the musculoskeletal system. They then will prefer to treat pain problems medically, but with an additional emphasis on the potential lifestyle and environmental factors which may be contributing to the pain problem.
Chiropractors are trained in the proper alignment of the spine and may be able to provide some of the most immediate relief to back pain problems. This is done through periodic adjustments and treatments that attempt to maintain alignment and prevent further pain issues.
Answers To Common Back Pain Questions
More than eight in 10 people will experience upper, mid, or low back pain at some point in their lives. Low back pain is the most common back pain. In most cases, the pain goes away over time. If your back pain is severe or does not improve, you may need medical care. Here are answers to some common questions about back pain and tips on when to seek help.
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Can Pain In The Back Be Prevented
Continuing back discomfort resulting from unsuitable body grease monkey might be dropped in staying free from activities that shake or stress the back, keeping the appropriate position, along with raising things properly. What Type Of Doctor Is Best For Back Pain
Several occupational injuries are developed or intensified by tension variables such as hefty hauling, call stress , resonance, reoccuring exercise, an uncomfortable stance.
Conditions Treated By Chiropractors
A variety of nonsurgical treatments are used by chiropractors when treating patients who have any of the following conditions:
- Sports injuries
- Pain due to arthritis
Chiropractors may also refer their patients to other health practitioners or medical doctors for lower back pain treatment. There are also many chiropractors who work together with other spine specialists in multispecialty spine clinics.
What To Expect From Spinal Injections
The procedure only takes a few minutes. However, you should carve out an hour of time to be in the office so that you can rest appropriately afterward.
Different types of anesthesia are used depending on your comfort level and the type of injection. Most people choose to use just a local anesthesia, but others prefer to be sedated. Much of this also depends on your preference.
At OSA, Dr. Atwater uses a C-Arm to guide the injection. His surgical assistant or nurse practitioner will help monitor your blood pressure and make sure you are comfortable. After the spinal injection, you might experience some numbness, tingling, or heaviness in your legs. Dont worry. This is from the anesthesia, and it should go away after a couple of hours.
Some people choose to rest the day of their procedure, but others want to go back to their normal routine. Do whats comfortable, but always talk to your doctor about your plans.
Can Lower Back Pain Be Related To Weather
If you feel like your lower back pain worsens on days when its cold or the weather is changing, you are not imagining things. Back pain can indeed be related to barometric pressure and outdoor temperature. Changes in pressure can sometimes cause pain in arthritic joints, including the spine. Muscles and joints in general react to the environment, which can make them stiffer and more likely to suffer an injury.
About Middle And Upper Back Pain
Middle back pain and upper back pain, also called the thoracic spine region, is not as common as lower back pain or neck pain, but can be very painful and symptomatic. At The Spine & Rehab Group, our group of Back Pain Specialists in New Jersey focuses on the non-surgical treatment of middle and upper back pain to get you feeling better.
Coordinates Care Between Multiple Healthcare Professionals
Your pain management doctor acts as the lead in your pain management plan. As a post on ZocDoc explains:
The discipline is multidisciplinary, meaning that you dont just see a doctor but also will likely have the opportunity to interact with a physical therapist and a counselor. In this way, a comprehensive holistic plan for addressing your pain can be developed.
Once your pain management doctor has determined the types of therapies that could work for you, theyll coordinate your care across multiple doctors and healthcare professionals. While youll need to be a dedicated and responsive advocate for your care, you can put a lot of responsibility on your pain doctor and clinic for coordinating that care.
Who Gets Back Pain
Anyone can have back pain. You may be more likely to have back pain because of the following:
- Fitness level: Back pain is more common among people who are out of shape. You may also get back pain if you exercise too hard after not being active for a while.
- Obesity: If you are overweight or obese, it can put stress on the back and cause pain.
- Job-related risk factors: Jobs that require heavy lifting, pushing, pulling, or twisting can injure the back. A desk job may also play a role, especially if you slouch or sit all day in an uncomfortable chair.
- Age: You may have more back pain as you get older, particularly after you turn 45.
- Family history: Your genes play a role in some disorders that cause back pain.
What To Expect During An Appointment
Your appointment with a pain or interventional pain management specialist is much like other doctor visits. Although there are many similarities, the focus is on your pain, the cause or contributing factors, and quickly managing it.
Pain medicine doctors perform a physical and neurological examination, and review your medical history paying particular attention to pain history. You may be asked many questions about your pain, including:
- On a scale from zero to 10, with 10 being the worse pain imaginable, rate your pain.
- When did pain start? What were you doing when pain started?
- Does pain spread into other areas of the body?
- Is its intensity constant, or is it worse at different times of the day or night?
- What helps to relieve the pain? What makes pain worse?
- What treatments have you tried? What worked? What failed?
- Do you take over-the-counter medications, vitamins, or herbal supplements?
- Do you take prescription medication? If so, what, how much, and how often?
Most pain medicine specialists use a standardized drawing of the front/back of the body to enable you to mark where pain is felt, as well as indicate pain spread and type . You may be asked to complete the form each time you visit the pain doctor. The completed drawing helps to evaluate your treatment progress.
Benefits Of Spinal Injections
People use neck or back injections to treat one of two problems:
Some doctors use spinal injections to treat other types of back pain as well. Theyre even used by some doctors to diagnose certain conditions. If a patient with unidentifiable back pain finds relief after an injection, a surgeon can narrow down which nerves or discs are causing the problem.
In general, epidural spinal injections are a low-risk way to avoid surgeries and medication while still finding relief. At least 50 percent of patients say that the injection reduced their pain.
Many patients find that they experience relief just days after the injection, and some injections can even help within hours. Pain relief can last anywhere from a few weeks to a year. Sometimes, even longer.
Other Conditions That Cause Back Pain In Older Adults
We often see a range of less serious but still painful spine conditions in seniors. Most patients with these conditions will not require surgery. Physical therapy, medication, injectable anesthetics, or a combination of treatments usually can control symptoms.
- Degenerative disc disease, which can cause whole spine pain, and lumbar arthritis, which usually causes low-back pain, commonly develop with age and are considered wear-and-tear conditions.
- Sacroiliitis is an inflammation of the joints that connect your spine and pelvis. This condition can cause pain in the low back, glutes, and upper legs.
- Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritis that causes patients spines to become inflexible, resulting in a continual hunched forward position and spine pain.
- We also check for adult degenerative scoliosis and kyphosis, spine-curving conditions that can result in back pain and weakness in the lower extremities.
Diagnosis Of Back Pain
Most causes of pain in your back are due to simple mechanical conditions, for example pain arising from the intervertebral discs, facet joints, muscles or other structures in the spine. However, there are other rare but serious conditions including disc herniation, vertebral fracture, infection and tumours. We use advanced MRI scanning to fully investigate the cause of your pain. The vast majority of MRI scans reveal wear and tear changes in the structures of the spine, which are often amenable to simple conservative treatment. Getting the right diagnosis of your back pain is vital. At the London Pain Clinic, we can offer:
- A full assessment by one of our experienced pain consultants
- A detailed medical history concentrating on your back pain
- A thorough spinal and neurological examination
- Rapid radiological investigations including MRI scans and X-Rays to pinpoint the source of your pain
- Our Second Opinion Service.