Because back pain can have a variety of different causes, there are also many different treatments used to alleviate it. Lower back pain, despite being quite common, often results from a cause which is difficult to immediately diagnose. As a result, doctors sometimes have to try numerous strategies to find the right treatment or combination of treatments to alleviate the patient’s discomfort. These are some of the most common treatments used to combat back pain.
This is, of course, the most common treatment for acute back pain. It’s not very effective for chronic back pain, however. If a patient develops back pain, they are often initially told to rest. If the pain subsides in a few days, this can be considered a successful treatment. Unfortunately, no more than a few days of rest can be prescribed. That’s because bed rest leads to weaker muscles which in turn can result in injury or aggravate back pain. If rest hasn’t cured the pain in three days, it’s time to try something else.
Thermal treatment, or using different temperatures to relieve pain, is an ancient but reliable method of pain relief, as long as the pain comes from certain causes. Heating pads and ice packs can help to reduce inflammation when applied to the back. Both can be effective, although in some patients or under some circumstances one or the other might not be indicated. For more information, please check out the following San Antonio based website: Back Pain San Antonio
Both over the counter and medication prescribed by a doctor can be instrumental in curing back pain. Patients usually try over the counter medicines first, like ibuprofen. If those don’t work, they visit their doctor for something stronger. If prescription strength, non-controlled medicines don’t do the trick, however, they usually need to go to a pain management clinic. Pain management specialists are experts in pain medication management, and are the most likely to know which stronger medications will be safe and effective for that particular patient’s back pain. These medications include narcotics and opioids. They may even prescribe an epidural or a drug delivering device implant, if the pain is that severe and long lasting.
Often viewed as a last resort, surgery can indeed be effective for back pain. However, most doctors (and patients) want to exhaust all other less invasive methods of treatment before resorting to surgery. Laminectomy, for example, has been successful in treating severe cases of sciatica, as has microdiscectomy. These surgeries both involve the removal of material which places pressure on nerves. This pressure can lead to compressed nerves, which in turn can lead to extremely severe pain. Another type of back surgery which has a high success rate in patients where its use is indicated is fusion surgery. When a portion of the spine moves improperly and cannot be replaced, sometimes the best method to reduce the pain this causes is to stabilize that portion of the spine. This can be done by fusing that part of the spine to an adjacent portion.