Treatments | Back Pain Treatments
Back pan treatments include all of the medications, procedures, hands on therapies, products, and nutritional aids that may be used in order to make a person's back pain go away, or at least to minimize it. The various back pain treatments may be available from doctors, chiropractors, alternative therapy healers, or anyone who has a program or product that enables us to finally experience some back pain relief. In general here are some things to know about the back pain treatments available.
Let's take a look at some of the most commonly prescribed and practiced back pain treatments.
- Back surgery is one of the most common back pain treatments that are required to treat back pain. Though this type of treatment is rare, it may be necessary from some people with severe back pain which hasn't responded to other types of treatments. In cases of muscular weakness or the loss of bowel and bladder control, back surgery may be necessary in order to avoid irreversible nerve damage.
- The western treatments are more tested and reliable, but many are associated with side effects and complications. Western treatments include pharmaceutical medications, physical therapy, and pain injections.
- Eastern, holistic, and alternative therapies are considered relatively safe and have small risks or side effects and complications, but their treatments are unproven, beyond the claims of the practitioners who offer them and the companies that sell the products to support them. Examples of alternative therapies for back pain include therapeutic massage and mind-body therapies such as biofeedback and Guided imagery.
Rest: In many cases, the best prescription for this common but complicated problem is rest. In most cases, the causes of lower back pain are sprains and strains of the lower back muscles. These kinds of injuries often do not require exotic therapists that are only available at specialty clinics. Rather, the best treatments for muscle and soft tissue injuries for the lower back are sleep and rest. Periods of rest may allow the affected structures the chance to heal on their own, and the act of taking it easy will minimize the chance that the injury will be re-aggravated or exacerbated. The cast majority of back pain cases will resolve on their own with simple rest. It should be noted, however, that extended periods of bed may inhibit the body's ability to heal itself. At some point, you are going to need to get out of bed or off the couch and you are going to have to start moving that body again. You should consult with your doctor to inquire as to what the appropriate amount of rest you should get before returning to work, play, and normal exercise.
More than a few days of bed rest or reduced mobility may eventually lead to a weakening of the back muscles, which will create a situation where the already injured back structures are at risk of further injury due to the increasing destabilization of the spine.
Ice and Hot Packs: Icing and heat therapy for the injured back muscles are the simplest treatments that are available to accelerate the healing process or for minimizing the amount of inflammation coming for the injured parts of the back/spine. Hot packs, or hot therapy, may be used on injured areas of the body to increase flexibility or circulation to stiff joints and muscles. Cold therapy may be used over injured areas that have become injured, red, and inflamed. The type of therapy that you use - hot or cold - may depend on what type of injury you have - and which type of treatment has worked for you in the past.
Medications: The medications that you use to treat your back pain may be available over the counter, or by a medical prescription. Medications for back pain may be used for their analgesic (pain relieving) effects or for their ability to reduce inflammation around the affected structures. Other medications that are available only by a doctor's prescription are designed to reduce nerve pain. Prescription medications that are designed to block the transmission of nerve pain signals include Antidepressants (Tricyclic Antidepressants), Anticonvulsants (neuroleptic medications), and local anesthetic (e.g. mexiletine, lidocaine).
Back Exercises and Physical Therapy: Physical therapy may be prescribed when the above treatments have been attempted, and the body has failed to respond to one or all of these. Often, the real cause of back pain is not a single episodic injury or trauma, but a condition where the overall health of the back is poor. The overall health of the back may be poor because of obesity, and unhealthy lifestyle, muscle imbalances, or muscle weakness. Physical therapy may be excellent to correct muscle imbalances and muscle weakness conditions that cause the spine to be poorly supported by the back and abdominal muscles.
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