Living With Back Pain
Living with back pain can be challenging however, most people find relief within 6 weeks. Remember to follow the recommendations of your health care providers. The following may make it easier for you to manage your pain and recover:
- Add exercises gradually and talk to your doctor about the types of exercises that are best for you. There may be certain activities or exercises you should avoid.
- When sitting for a prolonged period get up, move around, and switch positions frequently.
- Wear comfortable shoes with a low heel.
- When driving long distances, try adding some support behind your back, and stop frequently to stand up and walk around.
- Sleep on your side, and place a small pillow between your knees. If you tend to sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees. If possible, try to avoid sleeping on your stomach.
- Limit the amount you carry. Instead of carrying more items at once, make a few extra trips to avoid carrying too much weight.
Inflammatory Lower Back Pain
Although comparatively few patients have low back pain due to a systemic inflammatory condition, the problem can be life long and can impair function significantly. The good news is that treatments can help essentially all patients, and can lead to major improvements.
Seronegative are a group of inflammatory diseases that begin at a young age, with gradual onset. Like other inflammatory joint diseases, they are associated with morning stiffness that gets better with exercise. Sometimes fusion of vertebrae in the cervical or lumbar regions of the spine occurs. Drugs called TNF-alpha blocking agents, which are used for rheumatoid arthritis, are also used to treat the stiffness, pain, and swelling of spondyloarthropathy, when the cases are severe and not responsive to traditional medications
People who have spondyloarthropathy have stiffness that is generally worst in the morning, and have decreased motion of the spine. They also can have decreased ability to take a deep breath due to loss of motion of the chest wall. Its important for the physician to look for problems with chest wall expansion in patients with spondyloarthropathy.
syndrome is one of the forms of spondyloarthropathy. It is a form of arthritis that occurs in reaction to an infection somewhere in the body, and it carries its own set of signs and symptoms. The doctor will look for:
Back Surgery For Severe Back Pain Relief
Back surgery is typically recommended when other, more conservative treatments arent able to help you feel better. Back surgery can be used to treat herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, spine injuries and even severe lower back pain. When its done under the right circumstances and at the right time, back surgery can be an effective long-term solution for chronic back pain.
Read Also: Why Do I Have Pain In My Lower Right Back
When To See A Doctor
People who take medicine for chronic pain should have regular check-ups with their doctor. Contact your doctor right away if you have severe or abnormal side effects. This includes if you have an unplanned reaction. The doctor will tell you what you should do. Seek help if you think you are dependent on or addicted to a drug.
Dont Miss: How To Fix Tightness In Lower Back
What Should I Know About Back Pain
Back pain is a very common problem and will affect many of us at some point during our lives.
The good news is that in most cases it isnt a serious problem, and it might just be caused by a simple strain to a muscle or ligament.
As far as possible, its best to continue with your normal everyday activities as soon as you can and to keep moving.
Being active and exercising wont make your back pain worse, even if you have a bit of pain and discomfort at first. Staying active will help you get better. Taking painkillers can help you do this.
Also Check: How Long Can Back Pain Last
What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Low Back Pain
Anyone can have back pain. Factors that can increase the risk for low back pain include:
Age: The first attack of low back pain typically occurs between the ages of 30 and 50, and back pain becomes more common with advancing age. Loss of bone strength from osteoporosis can lead to fractures, and at the same time, muscle elasticity and tone decrease. The intervertebral discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility with age, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae. The risk of spinal stenosis also increases with age.
Fitness level: Back pain is more common among people who are not physically fit. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. Weekend warriorspeople who go out and exercise a lot after being inactive all weekare more likely to suffer painful back injuries than people who make moderate physical activity a daily habit. Studies show that low-impact aerobic exercise can help maintain the integrity of intervertebral discs.
Weight gain: Being overweight, obese, or quickly gaining significant amounts of weight can put stress on the back and lead to low back pain.
Genetics: Some causes of back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis , have a genetic component.
Smoking: It can restrict blood flow and oxygen to the discs, causing them to degenerate faster.
Backpack overload in children: A backpack overloaded with schoolbooks and supplies can strain the back and cause muscle fatigue.
What Should I Expect When Taking Gabapentin For Sciatica
This medication is available in a capsule, tablet , and liquid solution.
The typical starting dose of gabapentin for sciatic nerve pain for most patients is 300mg once a day. Your physician may increase the dosage up to three times a day. It is imperative to take the medication as prescribed. Try not to miss a dose do not double the dose if you miss a dose, as this can be dangerous.
Treating neuropathic sciatic pain with gabapentin is standard practice. However, it is an off-label usage the FDA has not determined the medication is safe and effective for treating sciatica.
A typical dose of gabapentin for sciatica is 300mg once a day.
You May Like: How To Heal Lower Back Pain Naturally
Complementary And Alternative Techniques Include:
- Acupuncture is moderately effective for chronic low back pain. It involves inserting thin needles into precise points throughout the body and stimulating them , which may cause the body to release naturally occurring painkilling chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin, and acetylcholine.
- Behavioral approaches include:
- Biofeedback involves attaching electrodes to the skin and using an electromyography machine that allows people to become aware of and control their breathing, muscle tension, heart rate, and skin temperature people regulate their response to pain by using relaxation techniques
- Cognitive therapy involves using relaxation and coping techniques to ease back pain
Spinal injections include:Trigger point injections can relax knotted muscles that may contribute to back pain. An injection or series of injections of a local anesthetic and often a corticosteroid drug into the trigger point can lessen or relieve pain.
Stretch Your Hamstrings Twice Daily
One often overlooked contributor to lower back pain is tight hamstrings. If your hamstring muscleslocated in the back of your thighsare too tight hamstrings your lower back and sacroiliac joints will be stressed, leading to more pain. Hamstring stretching should be done carefully and at least twice per day for 15-30 seconds each time.
There are many gentle stretching exercises that should not hurt.
Don’t Miss: How To Recover From Lower Back Strain
Diagnosis Of Back Pain
Regardless of what type of doctor you see, there are some things you can expect your doctor to do during your visit. Your doctor first will ask you a number of questions, the most common of which are listed as follows:
- What are your symptoms–that is, what aches or pains do you have?
- Exactly where is the pain?
- Where is the pain the most severe?
- When did the pain begin?
- How long have you had it?
- Did something specific cause your back pain, such as an accident or injury?
- What home treatments have you used?
- Were you under any additional stress when the pain began?
- Do you have any other health problems?
- What kind of work do you do?
- In what types of recreational activities do you participate?
Think about these ahead of time so you can answer them easily. You also may have questions you’d like to ask the doctor. As you think of questions at home, jot them down and take them to the appointment.
Next, your doctor will give you a physical exam. During the exam, the doctor may perform any of the following: observe your muscles and joints ask you to sit and lie down ask you to move your back in different positions observe and feel the area of most pain and/or check to see if other areas of your body are tender or painful If the doctor can identify the likely cause of your back pain at this point, no further tests will be needed.
Treatment Options For Acute Lower Back Pain
Most low back pain is due to muscle strain and spasm and does not require surgery. To treat the pain, medications such as acetaminophen , nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents , gabapentin or pregabalin can be used. NSAIDs suppress inflammation, pain and fever by inhibiting certain inflammation-causing chemicals in the body. Acetaminophen reduces pain and fever, but does not inhibit inflammation. Gabapentin and pregabalin, medications that have been used for antiseizure activity, also have the ability to block pain. Opioids provide pain relief and may at times be prescribed to manage severe back pain. However, opioids have many problems, such as habituation, constipation and lightheadedness, and are avoided when possible and used for the shortest possible duration. Epidural injection is an option if the back pain does not respond to these treatments. Each person is different in terms of response to medication.
Other nonsurgical treatments for lower back pain include Intradiscal electrothermal therapy , nucleoplasty, and radiofrequency lesioning.
Read Also: How To Fix Your Lower Back
Treat Inflammation At Pinnacle Pain And Spine
At Pinnacle Pain and Spine we treat all types of back pain issues and inflammation is no exception. Meet with our team so that we can give you the proper diagnosis as well as treatment plan to reduce inflammation and treat your back pain. You can be sure that our team will provide you with the most effective way to getting back to living well.
Traction Ultrasound And Tens
If your back pain doesnt respond to conventional treatments, you may need to consider alternative options.
Traction uses a system of weights to align your spine and possibly help slipped discs move back into place.
Ultrasound involves massaging the soft tissues around your back injury with sound waves that warm the muscles, causing them to relax and heal more quickly.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is electronic stimulation of the nerves through electrodes placed on your skin.
The electricity blocks pain signals that travel through the nerve paths.
Ask your doctor about these treatment methods.
You May Like: How To Self Treat Lower Back Pain
When Is Surgery A Good Idea For Back Pain
These red flags can be indicators for surgery, if theyre found to berelated to your spine condition:
- New or progressing bowel/bladder issues
- Weakness in limbs
- Gait and balance problems
- Evidence of increased reflexes
Surgery can also be an option for chronic back pain if there is a knowncause confirmed by imaging and if other treatments didnt help. Getopinions from at least two surgeons, suggests Nava, as pain can stillcome back after the surgery.
Get Enough Restorative Sleep
Pain is a leading cause of insomniadifficulty with falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Inadequate sleep can also make your back pain worse. This vicious cycle makes it more difficult for you to get restorative sleep.
Getting enough restorative sleep is needed for the bodys tissues to heal and recharge energy levels. If you have trouble sleeping, it is important to address pain or other factors that are causing it. Your doctor might recommend lifestyle changes, medications, or other treatments depending on what is disrupting your sleep.
Also Check: Can Losing Weight Help With Back Pain
Find Relief Through Ice And Heat
Break out that bag of frozen peas for the first 48 hours after the pain sets in, and put it to use for 20 minutes a session, several sessions per day. After those two days are behind you, switch to 20-minute intervals with a heating pad.
Localized cooling shuts down capillaries and reduces blood flow to the area, which helps ease the swelling, says Lisa DeStefano, DO, an associate professor at Michigan State Universitys College of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing. Cold also thwarts your nerves ability to conduct pain signals. Heat, on the other hand, loosens tight muscles and increases circulation, bringing extra oxygen to the rescue.
Ways To Manage Low Back Pain At Home
Back pain is one of the most common physical ailments. Studies show that eight in 10 Americans have back pain at some point in their lives, usually in the lower back.
Sudden or severe back pain should be checked by a doctor or a physical therapist. That also goes for pain that wonât go away.
But sometimes you can treat nagging pain and discomfort on your own.
Wilson Ray, MD, chief of spine surgery for the Department of Neurological Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, says home remedies â tend to be better when they’re combined than alone.â
Also Check: Can Breast Cancer Cause Upper Back Pain
Prescription Pills For Back Pain
There are many types of prescription medicines used to treat back pain – many in pill form. Some are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. Theyre similar to Aleve Back & Muscle Pain tablets, Advil Liqui-Gels, and Motrin PM that youll read about below.
Most of the prescription pain pills arenarcotics – this means that they act on the central nervous system, the brain, nerve pathways, and spinal cord. Although they work well in the short term to relieve back pain, they have many side effects, are potentially dangerous, and can lead to dependence and addiction.
Over time, narcotics may also lead to tolerance. This means you have to take higher doses to get the same effect. This further increases dependence and addiction risks, as well as some serious side effect risks.
Opioids are generally categorized as narcotics and are prescribed for pain relief in some situations. You may be familiar with some of the common side effects of opioids like sedation, nausea, and constipation .
Less common side effects include heightened sensitivity to pain, immune system dysfunction, rigid muscles, and spasms of the muscles. The side effects are serious and some of them are actually pain-causing. Isnt the idea to reduce back pain and feel better?
This brings us back to OTC pain pills. You are much less likely to have problems with OTC pain pills. Although they need to be used carefully and have potential side effects, they are in most cases, a better, safer choice.
Causes Of Lower Back Pain
If youre wondering why your lower back hurts, youre not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , lower back pain may be the most common type of pain adults in the U.S. experience.
Like with other types of back pain, there are many causes of lower back pain, including muscle strain, herniated discs, repetitive motions and even bad posture. And youre more likely to deal with chronic low back pain if youre overweight, have a sedentary lifestyle or regularly lift heavy objects.
Also Check: Can Inflammation Cause Back Pain
Heat Therapy And Cold Therapy To Help Back Pain
Heat therapy and cold therapy are two sides of the same coin. Heat therapy uses warm water or heating pads to relieve muscle pain, while cold therapy uses ice or cold water. In certain situations, using heat therapy and cold therapy can help relieve pain and promote healing.
For new or acute pain like pain caused by a fall or other pain that shouldnt last beyond six weeks cold therapy can be a great way to reduce swelling, decrease inflammation and numb pain.
For chronic pain pain thats expected to last or has lasted for more than six weeks heat is usually the temperature of choice for soothing pain and stimulating the healing process.
You might benefit from both hot and cold therapy. For instance, after exercise, immediate cold therapy can reduce muscle soreness. After 24 hours, switching to heat therapy can help your muscles heal faster.
Treatments To Reduce Inflammation And Minimize Back Pain
Back pain is one of the more common physical ailments that doctors and specialists treat, and it can show itself in several forms with different causes for each. Many times, back pain is caused by mechanical issues, involving disruptions with the physical components of your back and how they fit and move together. However, there are times that your back pain may be caused by inflammation rather that these mechanical elements. Inflammation attacks the joints in your spine and can eventually lead to pain in other areas of the body as well. In the following blog we will discuss some of the causes of back inflammation as well as treatments to reduce inflammation and ease your pain.
Read Also: How To Loosen Lower Back Tightness