Chronic back pain is a painful and agonising condition. It has the tendency to seriously degrade the quality of life. A condition can be categorized as chronic back pain if the symptoms persist for 3 months or longer.
Causes of chronic back pain
Following are some of the widely known causes of chronic back pain
- Heavy objects lifted incorrectly
- Posture which is consistently incorrect over a long period of time
- Incorrect sleeping posture or an old mattress
- A sedentary lifestyle
The pain is because of one or many problems in the spinal area. The problem could be age-related too. Some of the common problems with spinal are includes
- Dislocation of discs, as in bulging disk
- Pain in the muscle or tenderness which cannot be diagnosed with certainty
- Nerve pain which is mostly because of spinal canal getting narrowed, this condition is also called Spinal stenosis
- Decrease in thickness of cartilage. This problem is mostly age-related and its called Arthritis
A person suffering from chronic back pain is given multiple treatment options and a common treatment amongst them is surgery. Surgery is a painful process and includes a long recovery time. If possible, one must always opt for nonsurgical solutions. Also, in cases where the exact problem could not be diagnosed using non-invasive diagnostic techniques, surgery is a very risky option. The surgeon can only figure out the problem during surgery which a risk in itself.
Fortunately, there are some nonsurgical options which might help in eliminating the problem and the need for surgery. These techniques are non-invasive to start with and they don’t have any side-effects, provided the procedure is conducted by a trained professional.
- Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is a form of exercise. One of the best treatment for back pain is maintaining a physically fit routine. Physical therapy for chronic back pain is done by trained professionals and it consists of a set of exercises which cater to different conditions. There are many exercises but they might not work for everyone. A physical therapist, after judging your condition, performs a set of exercises which might help in relieving the pain and increase the overall quality of life.
The objects of a physical therapy session might be
- Strengthening the core
- Increase muscle flexibility
- Improvement of posture
You can also start exercising at your home. There are apps that help manage pain through workout routines. Make use of fitness apps such as Injurymap to maintain a workout routine. Injury may help you reduce back pain through exercise and creates a custom workout plan based on your particular needs. It also suggests when you might need to see a physician.
Chronic back pain effects both mental and physical health. The agonizing pain certainly causes depression and other mind related problems. The physical disability certainly effects mental health too which requires a treatment, there is no better treatment for mind then meditation which includes yoga, tai chi and other strategies which help in relaxing the mind. These mind relaxing techniques also assist in pain management and increase the quality of life.
There are specialists called rehabilitation psychologists who recommend meditation treatments based on the condition of the patient. It is always important to get recommendations from a trained professional to avoid problems.
- Alternative Treatments
Spine specialists might also recommend alternative treatments like acupuncture, massage and therapies like laser or electrical nerve stimulation. There treatments help in reducing the pain to a manageable form and ultimately remove the causes which result in chronic back pain
- Change in Lifestyle
One of the major causes of back pain is a sedentary lifestyle which does not involve a decent time allocated to exercise. Sitting all day in the office is one of the most common causes of problems associated with the spine. Making exercise a priority in our lives helps in eliminating a lot of health-related problems including chronic back pain. Changes in lifestyle also include giving up smoking and reducing alcohol consumption, this might also help in pain management
Changes in diet also help a lot in managing the pain. It is a well-known fact that a diet high in fats and refined sugar is highly inflammatory. One must consult a Nutritionist to see if something in the diet is contributing to the pain.
- Treatments based on Injections
These treatments are not intended to treat the problem in a longer run. These are short-term solutions based on injections like Nerve blocks or epidural steroid injections. Usually they are injected to the area where the problem is assumed to exist. This also helps in identifying if the problem identified is correct or not if the injection does not help in relieving the pain. This treatment is of no use if it’s done in isolation because it only relieves the pain for a short period of time without working on the underlying cause so it’s used in a combination which might include physical therapy etc.
- Pharmacologic Treatments
Anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants are also helpful in managing chronic back pain. Such medicines are to be used with great care and access use should be avoided because they might have side effects. These medicines/ treatments are not suitable as an isolated treatment for chronic back pain and should always be used in a combinational approach.
You don’t always need surgery for back-pain!
Chromic backpain effects both mental and physical health. A change in lifestyle is the best way to avoid in the first place. The pain could be managed in most cases without a surgery but for that to happen one must consult a professional for the best treatment.