But before you jump onto that runaway train of painkillers or consider going under the knife, first take it slow. There is a very good chance that the back pain can resolve with the treatments listed below.
- Hot or cold packs. While not a solution, this treatment can help ease pain, facilitate stretching, and reduce inflammation. When the pain kicks in, ice your back for 20 minutes at a time and switch to heat after 48 hours.
- Exercise. You’re hurting, so exercise might seem like the last thing you should do. But studies show that staying in bed actually worsens low back pain. Activity on the other hand pumps blood and nutrients throughout your body and cuts inflammation down. Walking and back strengthening exercises are best. Keep moving!
- Physical therapy. Physical therapy can help restore motion. Physical therapists also have access to ultrasound, electrical stimulation, traction and sometimes chiropractic manipulation to help provide temporary relief.
- Tai Chi. The Arthritis Care and Research Foundation found Tai chi can be effective in back pain patients. This gentle exercise coordinates movement and breath and is said to free the flow of chi, a life-force energy that, when blocked, can cause stress and illness.
- Acupuncture. Some patients find that acupuncture is extremely helpful in minimizing their back pain.
- Back injections. If the above treatments fail then talk to your doctor, or find a pain management specialist, and see if you are right for minimally invasive injections. These injections target the source of pain and put the curative medicine where it is needed most.
- Types of injections include trigger point injections, epidural steroid injections, nerve block injections, and sacroiliac and facet joint injections. Some people report permanent pain relief after an injection.
- Spinal cord stimulation. For patients who haven’t achieved relief, spinal cord stimulation helps block the brain’s ability to sense pain. Thin catheters placed outside the spinal column release light electrical signals that have been described as “numbing” or “tingling.” Some 85 to 90 percent of patients report a 50 to 70 percent pain reduction after SCS.
Maybe you’ve already had a doctor recommend surgery? Maybe you’re already on opioids? Speak to a pain management doctor to discuss what other options are available to you. We may be able to keep the pills locked away in the medicine cabinet or the scalpel tucked away out of sight.
For more information about low back pain please visit us Lonseth Interventional Pain Centers or call us for a consult at 504-732-1094.