Almost everyone has lower back pain at some point in their lives. It might be caused by arthritis, a pinched nerve or a muscle sprain, but everyone who experiences it wants to find a treatment for relief. There are a lot of ways to treat lower back pain, from proven home remedies to some serious medical intervention.
First Onset of Back Pain
If you just hurt your lower back, the first thing you should do is get off your feet. In almost nine out of ten cases, lower back pain will resolve by itself within six weeks. Weeks may seem like an interminable amount of time if you are suffering, but patience may save you an unnecessary visit to the doctor’s office or emergency room. You may apply ice packs to your lower back for 20-minute periods at a time in the first 48 hours after the injury; after the first couple of days, switch to heat to help loosen the muscles and promote healing.
While you are resting, you may be able to alleviate at least some of the back pain with commonly available pain relievers like ibuprofen—marketed as Advil or Motrin. These non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs will help reduce any swelling and often are as effective as prescription pain killers. We do not advise taking NSAIDs for more than ten days without approval from your doctor because they may cause side effects like stomach irritation or bleeding.
Back Pain Persisting Longer than Six Weeks
See your Physician for Proper Diagnosis
If your lower back pain persists after six weeks, you should see a physician who can perform a thorough examination. Unfortunately, the back is a complex system of bone, connective tissue, nerves and muscle, so it may not always be possible to identify the exact cause of your back pain. This kind of examination should also help determine if the pain is related to a more serious medical condition like a tumor or aortic aneurysm.
In many cases, your physician may recommend an exercise program intended to strengthen your lower back. Not only will these exercises help reduce your pain, but they should also help protect you from another injury. One of the most commonly recommended exercise programs involves yoga, which is a low-impact form of exercise that emphasizes proper form and flexibility.
Along with exercise, your doctor may also prescribe physical therapy which may include ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and acupressure massage. Working with a physical therapist should help you better understand how your lower back functions, how to limit unnecessary strain, and how to prevent further injury.
Nerve Blocks & Other Non-Surgical Treatments
For more serious lower back pain, you may consider nerve blocks which involve an injection of steroids or anesthetic into the target site producing the pain. This may be used as a diagnostic tool to pinpoint the nerves causing the pain, but it can offer extended pain relief as well.
If your lower back pain is caused by joint pain, you may be a candidate for treatment radiofrequency ablation treatment. Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that applies heat to a nerve, disrupting its ability to transmit pain. Although the nerve will regrow over time, this procedure may provide pain relief for several months and even up to several years.
Article written by: Dr. Robert Moghim – CEO/Founder Colorado Pain Care
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