What is the Best Treatment for Chronic Back Pain?
March 15, 2023
Chronic back pain is highly distressing, distracting, and, unfortunately, extremely common. According to the National Library of Medicine, it’s thought that at least 20% of adults in the world are suffering from chronic back pain. Chronic back pain can vary in severity, making some feel uncomfortable throughout the day and making others feel like they can’t even get out of bed.
Luckily there are effective treatments for chronic back pain. In this blog, we’re discussing at-home treatments anyone can try and the common medical approaches. If you’re struggling with persistent pain in your spine, call the Southside Pain Specialists in Birmingham, AL, to learn what specialized treatment plan will work for you.
Discover What’s Causing Your Back Pain
Not all chronic back pain is the same. Pick effective treatment plans based on your body’s needs.
Before trying any at-home or medical treatments for back pain, it’s crucial to discover the root cause and decide what parts of your back need support. Investing in medical treatments without proper consultation and diagnosis could prove ineffective and expensive.
Talk to a healthcare provider about your pain, and they will conduct a comprehensive examination of your back. During the examination, they may measure your abilities, check your reflexes, watch you walk, check for tenderness, and identify pain areas. Back pain specialists will be beneficial during this step. Doctors may use an X-ray machine, MRIs, blood tests, and nerve tests to find what’s causing the pain.
Common causes of back pain include Arthritis of the spine, spinal stenosis, disc problems, Myofascial pain syndrome, poor posture, previous injury, and others. Doctors can pinpoint most chronic back pain to either the muscles, bones, or nerves.
Strategies to cope with chronic back pain without medical intervention.
Resting in bed for extended periods can feel tempting to cope with chronic back pain. However, not only is bedrest unhelpful, but it can also make back pain worsen. We will list several lifestyle changes in this section, but we don’t recommend changing too many habits at once. Sticking to one goal and monitoring its effects over a month can clue you into how the change works and if you need to take further steps.
Practice Regular Exercise
Inactivity and poor posture can be contributing factors to chronic back pain. Studies show that physical activity relieves chronic pain by improving muscle strength and flexibility, decreasing pain sensitivity, and reducing inflammation.
It’s important not to push yourself too hard and worsen back pain symptoms. Strenuous twisting, lifting, and bending can make the pain worse. Gentle movements in the morning that promote strength to your core can make you feel better for the rest of the day. Make sure to talk to your healthcare provider about what movement would be beneficial for your body.
Stress and healing ability can be closely related. Poor mood can sometimes impair your body’s natural ability to heal itself. Managing stress can be challenging because of the nature of chronic pain, but it can greatly improve your recovery. Exercise is beneficial for stress and mood, but other options for managing stress include journaling, meditation, and engaging in meaningful activity.
Mindfulness and meditation can ease the emotional strain of chronic pain. Joining a support group and talking to a therapist is an excellent way to remind yourself that you’re never alone in your chronic pain.
Watch Your Diet
Food is medicine, but it can also hinder your health if you’re not careful. Poor diet is a leading cause of health problems in the US and worldwide. Fast food, food delivery companies, and cheap snacks have made falling into a poor diet trap incredibly easy. Your immune system relies heavily on nutrients from food, and your body’s well-being depends on it. We recommend a diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. A proper diet can help with pain and lead to improved mood, less fatigue, and healthy weight loss.
Some common medical strategies to ease chronic back pain include injections and minimally invasive procedures.
Trigger point injections target “trigger points” or painful muscle areas. This treatment provides immediate relief but isn’t a long-lasting solution. However, by temporarily easing pain, the muscle can relax and reset for proper healing and physical activity.
Another injection at Southside Pain is called an epidural steroid injection. This injection numbs the area, and can soothe inflamed spinal nerve roots. Numerous people find this injection to be an effective form of temporary relief to aid with exercise and physical therapy.
Lumbar sympathetic blocks and ablations use X-rays to target facet joints in the spine. Blocks can be used as a test to see if numbing the nerve aids with pain. If helpful, ablations can be used as long-lasting treatments for over six months by blocking pain signaling from the nerve.
Minimally Invasive Procedures
Healthcare providers typically only recommend certain procedures after other methods to ease chronic back pain have failed or during an emergency situation when patients experience sudden back pain or trauma.
Kyphoplasty is a minimally invasive procedure for patients with a collapsed vertebral body caused by weak bones or trauma. It strengthens bones by injecting bone cement into the collapsed vertebra.
Other surgeries, such as implanted nerve stimulants, spinal surgery, and spinal cord stimulation, are also available to those with persistent back pain.
The Chronic Pain Experts You Can Trust
At Southside Pain, we understand how debilitating chronic pain can be. It’s our mission to help you understand, manage, and treat your long-lasting discomfort. Our team of pain management specialists can create a customized treatment plan for you, so you can take steps toward a pain-free life. If you’d like to learn more about our chronic pain treatments, don’t hesitate to reach out to a member of our team, today!