Chronic back pain affects millions of people worldwide. Many people suffer from back pain, but anything that lasts for three months or more can be considered chronic. The pain comes and goes, with only temporary relief being possible. This can be very frustrating for many, especially if the cause has not been identified.
Fortunately, treating the symptoms is possible. MJA HealthCare Network notes that patients can choose among interventional pain management treatments and other less-invasive methods of pain relief.
The source of back pain can vary, but the usual causes are arthritis of the spine, disc problems, spinal stenosis, and myofascial pain syndrome. It can actually be multiple causes contributing to your overall pain. Consult a doctor or a specialist to determine the potential cause of your spinal pain.
Here are some of the treatments options you can consider:
The most basic pain relief option is to get some over-the-counter drugs. Acetaminophen, which is best known by the brand name Tylenol, is the usual prescription for those who suffer from spinal pain. Additional pain medication comes in the form of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These are used to treat inflammation, which is a common cause of neck and back pain. Different brands have different formulations, so your doctor may prescribe something stronger or weaker.
If the basic painkillers are not enough, then you will most likely get additional prescriptions in the form of muscle relaxants and opioids. Be careful about mixing your medication or taking too much since side effects and the risk of addiction are there.
Taking drugs orally may not be enough to relieve your pain. For those who need something stronger, spinal injections directly treat the source of the pain. Doctors will target a particular area for an injection to maximize the effect.
Some common injections include epidural steroid injections into the nerve roots, trigger point injections that target specific nerves for pain relief, nerve root blocks that deaden specific nerves, and facet injections that combine steroids and anesthetic to target joints in your spine.
Like pain medication, the injections only treat the symptoms, so you will need further treatment.
To get at the root of the issue, you may undergo physical therapy. This involves a mix of treatments, such as heat therapy, exercises, and massages to help strengthen the spine and fix any lingering problems in that area.
You will also need to undergo some lifestyle changes that will improve both physical and mental health. This can range from a better and healthier diet to a more active lifestyle to target the physical side of the equation. Meditation and other relaxation strategies can also help target the mental part of the pain that you face every day.
With this quick overview of pain relief options, you should be able to determine which option would be best for you. Choose the treatment that you think will be most effective or choose a mix so that you can be given long-term relief from your spinal pain. Your doctor can help you make a decision.