What is it?
Back pain is one of the most common medical problems throughout the world. It affects 80 per cent of Australians at some time in their lives.Severe back pain can disrupt your quality of life and limit your ability to work, exercise or even walk.It comes in many forms, from lower back pain, middle back pain, or upper back pain to low back pain with sciatica. Chronic back pain can cause depression, stress, anger, fatigue, anxiety and fear of re-injury.
What causes it?
Back pain can come from numerous sources. It may can be caused from everyday activities or may stem from serious degenerative diseases.Common back pain causes include nerve and muscular problems, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis. If you suffer from chronic back pain it is important to get professional help.
There are many effective treatments available to relieve back pain. Most cases of acute musculoskeletal back pain respond in a few days or weeks to limited rest, combined with appropriate exercise and education on correct movement patterns to avoid further injury.
Many cases, however, can be resolved without any treatment-during a similar time period.
Many people find relief from symptoms of back pain with pain medication or painkillers.
General practitioners are often the first to see patients with back pain. But depending on the cause and severity of pain specialists such as orthopedic surgeons neurologists, physical medicine specialists, pain management specialists,psychologists and psychiatrists may offer evaluation and treatment.
Physical therapists chiropractors, acupuncturists, vocational rehabilitation counselors and radiology technicians may all become involved in back pain management. Doctors and/or alternative practitioners may suggest specific back exercises or aerobic exercises to help relieve back pain, strengths and improve flexibility.
Exercise speeds up recovery, reduces the risk of future back injuries, and releases the body's natural pain relievers known as endorphins.
But patients experiencing pain of moderate or greater severity or lasting more than 15 minutes during exercise should stop exercising and inform their physician.
Local application of an ice pack or heat to the painful area, or use of muscle balms containing menthol, eucalyptus, or camphor may reduce inflammation and reduce pain.
Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may relieve pain by reducing inflammation.
Other medications used to relieve back pain-may include analgesics or pain relievers such as aspirin or panadol, panadeine, muscle relaxants antidepressants, or anti epileptic drugs.
For severe pain, opioid and narcotics may be prescribed.
However, these may be habit forming and can cause serious side effects.Such drugs should only be used for limited periods under a doctor's supervision when other medications are ineffective.
In some patients, spinal manipulation, also known as osteopathic manipulative therapy or chiropratic, may assist recovery.
Your GP may recommend chiropractic treatment for back pain relief.
Acupuncture by trained practitioners using fine needles at specified “trigger points” is another alternative medicine technique usedto relieve back pain.The insertion of needles is designed to unblock the body's normal flow of energy and to release peptides – naturally occurring pain relievers.
Surgery may be a last resort for patients who do not respond to any of the treatments outlined above.