Treating Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is a very common complaint with over sixty percent of Britons confirming that they have suffered from lower back pain at one point or another in a recent poll. It can be caused by a wide variety of problems, such as after a car accident or an awkward fall, straining to lift something too heavy or incorrectly, the natural process of degeneration that comes with aging, or may even appear to come out of nowhere. Not leading a healthy lifestyle or being conscious of good posture can also result in lower back pain. Treating lower back pain will depend on the severity of the problem.
Early conservative treatments often include oral medication such as over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as paracetemol or ibuprofen, or stronger medicines as prescribed by doctors. Not only can these reduce the pain but can help the back heal by encouraging the swelling of inflamed muscles or joints to go down. However, these are not recommended for long term use, as they can eventually cause gastro-intestinal problems such as ulcers. Some doctors may prescribe medications aimed at protecting the gastro-intestinal tract if the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory treatment is working well against the lower back pain, but some patients may prefer to try other avenues altogether.
Studies have shown that movement helps lower back pain rather than rest, so physiotherapy can be very effective treatment for lower back pain. There are a variety of choices when it comes to physiotherapy, so a physiotherapist would be likely to take into consideration a patient’s medical history before recommending one type of therapy over another. These types of therapies are aimed at increasing the flexibility and strengthening the area of the back that is painful, with the hope that the back will be better supported and better able to heal.
Both TENS and TSNS machines have become a popular way to treat lower back pain. Both of these machines work by sending electrical impulses to the nerves in the back in order to stop the pain signals from being sent to the brain. Most patients feel a comfortable tingling sensation when the machine is in use and the pain can be relieved for anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thanks to modern technology, these machines have become small enough that patients can use them in the comfort of their own homes.
More Aggressive Treatments
When these conservative treatments fail to effectively relieve the pain, more aggressive techniques are often applied. Injecting local anaesthetic or anti-inflammatory steroids into a problem area can often relieve the pain for months. Depending on where the problem lies, an injection can be made near nerve roots, facet joints or next to the spinal cord itself. These injections serve the double function of stopping the pain signals from being sent to the brain and helping the body heal itself by promoting the inflammation to go down.