Every day, millions of Americans struggle with mild to severe back pain. Indeed, data suggests that nearly 31 million Americans experience lower back discomfort daily. Back pain can be an ongoing condition (chronic) or a sudden occurrence (acute). Oftentimes, back discomfort can result from work-related injuries, automobile accidents, or even just the simplest of everyday movements. So what treatment options are available to help alleviate back pain?
There are a number of treatments which can help alleviate back discomfort. Such treatments range from simple adjustments in daily routines to surgical procedures. The following is a brief list of widely regarded and, in many cases, effective non-surgical back pain treatments. For more information on combating back pain, contact your physician.
One of the most highly recommended treatments for back discomfort is rest. Depending on the severity of your symptoms, this may simply mean reducing your level of activity for a couple of days. Resting for too long, however, may result in back discomfort itself, as extended periods of inactivity can actually cause your muscles to weaken.
Heat and Ice Therapy
Some experts suggest that using heat and ice packs can help increase your mobility and alleviate pain. Placing an ice pack or a similarly cold item on your affected regions may help to combat inflammation of your muscles. Applying heat in the same manner will help loosen the tight muscles that may be the source of discomfort. However, it should be noted that the alleviating effect resulting from heat and ice treatment (modal treatment) is often only temporary.
More recently, physical therapists have been using physical activity as part of their treatment. This may cause minor pain at the beginning of the course of therapy, but its longer-lasting effects help both strengthen the back and relieve pain.
Physical therapists who use movement, back pain exercises, strengthening and conditioning, and who encourage a gradual increase in activity are usually most successful.
Pain which results from a bulging disk in the lower back is often treated by the use of corticosteroids and anesthetic medications. These specific types of medications are generally injected into the affected nerve root to reduce inflammation. Once the swelling of the nerve goes down, the level of discomfort is expected to decrease.
Chiropractic care includes electrical stimulation, diathermy, ultrasound, and a variety of other therapies, but the primary method of chiropractic treatment involves manual spinal adjustment or manipulation. Essentially, the underlying philosophy of chiropractic care is that a well-aligned body is more likely to experience less pain and discomfort. Additionally, some chiropractors use vitamins, massage, and electrical therapies as part of their treatment.
As alluded to previously, an epidural spinal injection involves delivering medication directly into the area around the irritated spinal nerves that are causing the pain. Like many surgical and non-surgical back treatments, an epidural spinal injection is generally not considered a cure for symptoms associated with back ailments. However, epidural injections are often used to stave off discomfort while a more sophisticated prognosis or medicinal strategy is being developed to address the source of the pain.
If you are experiencing back pain, it is important that you contact your physician immediately. Back pain can severely limit your day-to-day life and have a detrimental effect on your overall health and well-being. Additionally, if you hurt your back as the result of an accident or work-related injury, contact an experienced personal injury attorney. A skilled attorney can help you secure damages for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and much more.