February 23, 2024

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Exploring the Different Types of Back Pain Treatments

Back pain is a common problem, and most people experience it at some time in their lives. It can range from a slight ache to debilitating discomfort.

Medications such as muscle relaxants and nonprescription pain relievers, including NSAIDs and acetaminophen, may help ease the pain. Cold and hot packs can also reduce the pain by increasing blood flow.

Surgery

Certain spinal conditions and back pain symptoms can only be treated surgically. Sometimes, this is the best option for a patient to relieve back pain.

Diagnostic tests, such as an MRI and a CAT scan, help doctors see your spine’s bones, ligaments, muscles, and nerves. These tests can also show if you have a herniated disk or another condition that causes back pain.

Surgery for herniated discs may include a corpectomy, in which your surgeon removes part of a vertebra, or laminectomy, in which your surgeon removes the bony arch on the back of the vertebrae to prevent the spinal cord or nerves from being compressed. Your doctor might also recommend a spinal fusion or diskectomy. Other procedures to treat pain and back problems include a steroid injection, in which a needle delivers an anti-inflammatory medication directly into the painful area or facet joint. These treatments, like the back pain treatment Orange Park FL, can also help relieve pain by numbing sprained nerves in the back.

Non-Invasive Treatments

Medications like acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to relieve pain and help you get back to daily activities. These medications do not treat the underlying cause of your pain and should be used with care.

Injection-based treatments like trigger point injections and epidural steroid injections (ESI) are very effective ways to treat back pain by treating the source of your discomfort directly. These procedures are typically performed under fluoroscopic guidance, which allows physicians to view the targeted area and place the needle with extreme accuracy.

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) treats the nerves that send pain signals to your brain from small joints on the back of your spine called facet joints. RFA can reduce inflammation and ease pain caused by over-activity in these joints. We also use this treatment to alleviate pain caused by herniated or bulging discs. Several studies have shown that RFA can help decrease the need for surgery in these patients.

Injections

Over-the-counter painkillers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and naproxen) may help. However, long-term use can cause stomach and kidney problems. Prescription pain medicines, such as hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin) and oxycodone (Percocet), can also be effective but should be used only for short periods. More muscular prescription muscle relaxants, such as duloxetine (Cymbalta), can also relieve back pain but have serious side effects if taken long-term.

A lumbar [luh-BEE-al] injection of cortisone — an anti-inflammatory medicine — may reduce chronic lower back pain. An epidural [eh-PEE-doo-RUHL-ee] steroid injection may help reduce back and leg pain caused by herniated disks, spinal stenosis, or spondylosis.

To prevent back pain from recurrence, apply heat or cold packs to the area. A reusable heat pad you can buy at chemists and sports shops or a microwavable wheat bag may help ease pain and stiffness. Also, you can try techniques to alleviate stress and improve posture.

Physical Therapy

Your doctor can often diagnose back pain by asking about symptoms and examining your back. X-rays can help find broken bones or problems with the spine’s alignment, and an MRI or CT scan might show damage to the spinal cord nerves or disks. However, these tests can’t show whether muscles or ligaments are causing pain.

Over-the-counter pain relievers such as NSAIDs and acetaminophen often reduce back pain. But it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any medication. Long-term use of NSAIDs may increase your risk for stomach ulcers and liver or kidney problems.

Physical therapy can improve strength, balance, and flexibility and help you control back pain. Techniques include tai chi, yoga, and exercise. Acupuncture and massage also may help.

Changes in your lifestyle can decrease back pain, too. For example, staying active helps build muscle, which supports the bones and joints of your spine and takes pressure off disks. Maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking may also help with back pain.