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    When to See a Doctor for Types of Severe Back Pain

    by admin

     

    Lower Back Pain

    Back painslows down millions of Americans each year, with symptoms ranging from nuisance soreness to back pain so severe and debilitating that a visit to the emergency room becomes the first step on a path leading to a spinal surgeon’s care. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, back pain is the second most common reason that adults see a doctor.

    Back pain can occur anywhere on the back, from the neck (cervical area) to the middle of your back (thoracic area) to the lower back (lumbar area) with the lower back often being the most common location of severe and lifestyle-limiting pain, since the lower back bears most of your weight. That weight can compress the cartilage cushion between your vertebrae. And, over time, you might experience a degeneration of that cushioning cartilage, causing your discs to compress or slide out of place.

    Walking, bending, lifting, twisting, even sitting and standing can then become excruciating. Back pain flares up and then goes away on its own after a few days for some people. But for others, sharp pains and limited motion becomes a bigger, more longer-lasting problem requiring medical care.

    Here are some of the more severe back pain conditions:

    * Disc degeneration. Discs in the spine can deteriorate with age, and the deterioration of discs can lead to inflammation and irritation in the spine, which can cause great pain.

    * Sciatica. While many people associate the term ‘sciatica’ with pain in the buttocks area, sciatica can be a painful condition in the back. Sciatica is caused when the sciatic nerve (a bundle of lumbar nerves) become irritated by a herniated disc. This condition is known as spinal stenosis. The sciatic nerve also can be irritated by an abnormality in a vertebra that puts pressure on it. Sciatic pain may be felt in the lower back or buttocks, and may also be felt in the calf and the foot. Sciatica pain can be mild with tingling, or it can become severe, growing worse at night. You might experience worse sciatica pain when you have long stretches of standing or sitting.

    * Lumbar spinal stenosis. When spinal degeneration occurs the canal through which spinal nerves travel can narrow. As part of the aging process, discs can dry out and shrink. When these two conditions occur, you might experience painful pressure on a spinal nerve. This can happen with a minor injury, as a symptom of osteoarthritis of the spine, or simply as a symptom of aging. The resulting back pain can be severe.

    * Osteoarthritis. Arthritis anywhere in the body can be painful, but when osteoarthritis occurs in the back, you may experience pain and muscle spasms. Osteoarthritis can affect the cartilage in the discs, the vertebrae or both anywhere along the spine, pinching the nerves and causing pain.

    *Herniated disc. Also called a ‘slipped disc,’ this condition occurs when a damaged or bulging disc pinches or irritates a nerve root.

    When severe back pain occurs, your physician will assess you for any or all of these conditions, and you will likely start on a back pain reduction plan that aims to reduce your discomfort, return your mobility, and manage your back pain flare-ups. Perhaps you and your doctor will decide that spinal surgery is the best solution to remedy the internal causes of your severe back pain, returning you to better quality of life.

    The TOPS™ System is one such solution. The TOPS™ (Total Posterior Spine) System provides an alternative to spinal fusion for patients undergoing spinal decompression back surgery. Unlike spinal fusion, TOPS preserves the full range of the spine’s natural motion, and has been shown to provide better outcomes than fusion in clinical studies performed around the world.

    Sleep Tips for Back Pain Sufferers

    by admin

    Sleep Tips for back pain

    Sleep provides important healing and rejuvenation to your back. When you’re suffering from back pain, it can be difficult to get a solid and healthy good night’s sleep. Lying down can be painful, and sleep simply doesn’t come. One of the many unpleasant symptoms of inadequate rest is being even more sensitive to pain. So it’s essential to take the smart steps necessary to improve your ability to sleep.

    It may seem to be an impossible goal, but there are ways to improve your sleep quality while dealing with back pain:

    • Get a new mattress. A soft, old mattress that sags and provides inadequate lumbar support may be the culprit causing your back pain. When you sleep with your back arched on a mattress with the slope downward right at your hip level, you’re creating a terrible arch in your spine that can compress nerves and even cause disc damage. Upgrading to a top-quality new, medium-firm mattress that has no sag or slope and can cradle your body in a more natural and healthy position. Yes, a quality mattress is often pricy, but it’s worth the investment to improve your back pain.  Add in a posture-correcting orthopedic-approved pillow for your neck and head.  It will properly position your spine for better sleep and potentially less pain.
    • Sleep in a back-supporting position. One preferred position is lying flat on your back, and placing one or two pillows beneath your knees so that your spine is in a neutral, non-arched position while you sleep. If you prefer to sleep on your side, place one pillow between your slightly-bent knees while you lie on your side, and place another pillow against your chest, with your arm draped over it. This second pillow position prevents you from twisting your upper body and keeps your spine in neutral alignment as you sleep. Don’t sleep on your stomach, since this position arches your back and aggravates the spine, nerves and muscles affected in your back pain condition. Some frequent stomach-sleepers place a tennis ball in their pajama front pocket to prevent them from rolling over onto their stomachs during the night.
    • Reduce stress. Stress is a cause of chronic back pain, so focus on eliminating the sources of your stresses through meditation or deep breathing methods, journaling, limiting exposure to stressful people, lightening your load of life obligations such as running committees and other stressful jobs, or even getting short-term psychotherapy to deal with larger stressful issues in your life.
    • Limit or eliminate caffeine. You might be more sensitive to caffeine than you realize, and even moderate use can affect your sleep quality.
    • Don’t eat before bedtime. Limiting your snacking can help prevent nighttime indigestion or acid reflux, and it can also help keep your weight at a healthy level, which is better for your back.
    • Talk to your doctor about nighttime pain medications that can help you sleep. Your physician will assess your best pain medication regimen, which might include muscle relaxants, over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin, Tylenol (acetaminophen), or Advil or Motrin IB (ibuprofen) which can be effective for short-term use and might be available in a ‘PM’ formula that can help you sleep.  Naproxen sodium (Aleve) is long-lasting and may offer pain relief throughout the night. Use these medications only as directed and with a doctor’s care.
    • Talk to your doctor about gentle exercises. Always consult with your doctor about recommended back pain-calming exercises. Never look online for ‘back pain exercises’ to do on your own, since your back might not be strong enough at this time for some exercises like planks or resistance band work. Your doctor will start you off slowly with a few exercises that can calm your back pain before bed, and then work with you to progress your back-improving movements over time.
    • Practice a good bedtime routine. Turn off the television and computer, dim the lights in your room to ready your body for sleep, cool your bedroom with a fan to help you sleep better, and avoid reading or working in bed before sleep. Winding down can prepare your mind, as well as your body, for a deep, restful sleep that lets your body heal better, and after a good eight hours of healthy sleep can make your pain levels easier to tolerate in the daytime.

    What Is Back Strain? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment of Back Strains

    by admin

    Though it’s commonly played down, a back strain can be an extremely painful and demobilizing injury. Hearing “It’s just a back strain” may not be very comforting when you’re experiencing severe back pain, and while back strain may sound like a minimal back injury, it can cause a great deal of discomfort.

    A back strain can result in sleepless nights and back spasms that can cause severe lower back pain. In some cases, back strains can lead to immobility. 

    Read on to learn more about back strains and how to alleviate the symptoms of this common condition. 

    What is a back strain?

    A back strain is a common injury that occurs when the muscles or ligaments in the lower back become stretched or torn. This causes inflammation that may lead to back spasms, eventually causing persistent back pain.  

    Understanding what a back strain is can help you better determine how to care for your back in the future. 

    What are the symptoms of a back strain?

    Symptoms of back strain may range from a mild ache to sudden, debilitating pain often localized in the lower back. The pain of a back strain is likely to be located in the low back and not radiate down your leg (as with sciatica).

    Your back may be sore to the touch, pain may come on suddenly, your lower back muscles may spasm, and standing or walking may be more uncomfortable than resting.

    A summary of the potential symptoms caused by a back strain:

    • Pain and demobilizing stiffness in the back
    • Pain that spreads to the buttocks and the top of the legs, often in the back of the thigh 
    • Pain that increases when a person bends over, stretches, coughs, or sneezes

    What causes a back strain?

    “How did this happen to me?” is likely the next question on your mind when you’re suffering from back pain.

    Back strains are often the result of a movement or movements that put undue stress on the lower back. Motions like lifting a heavy object, lifting multiple heavy objects, lifting and twisting, a sudden and single twisting motion, or a fall are just some of the movements that can cause back strain.

    Most lower back pain episodes are caused by damage to the muscles and/ or ligaments in the lower part of the back. When you suffer from back strain, you may have one or both of the following:

    • A muscle strain is caused when a muscle is overstretched or torn, resulting in damage caused to the muscle fibers (also called a pulled muscle).
    • A lumbar sprain is caused when ligaments – the tough fibrous tissues connecting the muscles to the bones and joints — are stretched too far or torn.

    Strain and sprain are often used interchangeably, since the treatment and prognosis for both of these are the same. So, one is not worse than the other, although the amount of pain you’re experiencing may make you think that what you have is indeed the more severe of the two. 

    Especially since you cannot see inside your back, your imagination may conclude that you have something much worse than a back strain or sprain. Patients experiencing pain can often jump to dramatic conclusions and envision difficult treatments ahead.

    Fortunately, many simple treatments and lifestyle changes may help.

    Lower Back Strain

    A lower back strain is an injury that develops when a muscle that supports the lumbar vertebrae is stretched or torn. 

    The muscles in the lower back are more susceptible to strains than the other regions of the spine. This is because the lower back supports the entire weight of the upper body. Additionally, the lumbar spine is more flexible than the middle or upper spine, contributing to your ability to bend, twist, and move. 

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    You may be more likely to develop a lower back strain if you have a weak back, weak abdominal muscles, tight hamstrings, an extreme curve in the lower back, or a pelvis that naturally tilts forward. With this injury, many patients experience sudden pain in the lower back, along with lower back spasms. 

    To protect your lower back against strains, focus on strengthening your core, practicing good posture, and avoiding heavy lifting. 

    How can a back strain be treated?

    With a mixture of painkillers and avoiding strenuous activities, many people can manage back pain and the sharp pain flare-ups that can make a back strain almost unbearable. 

    However, you may still experience lower levels of pain, or pain flare-ups further down the line. This may last for weeks or even months, depending on how severe the strain was. 

    To alleviate this pain, self-care is a must to help those stretched or torn muscles and ligaments heal fully. The average recovery time for a back strain is around three to four weeks, but this can vary depending on a person’s health, age, and general fitness level. 

    To help speed up this recovery, we recommended the following at-home treatment:

    • Use an ice pack on your back to ease pain and reduce swelling as soon as the strain occurs. You can do this for 20 to 30 minutes and repeat every 3 to 4 hours until the pain decreases.
    • After 3 to 4 days, if you’re still experiencing pain, you may also use a heat pack or take a hot bath. This is only advised once the swelling has gone down. 
    • Take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as Advil, Aleve, or Motrin. However, it’s important to use these drugs sparingly, as there may be some side effects involved.
    • Try physical therapy to stay active and regain strength in your back. This can maintain muscle tone and help build your abdominal and lower back muscles.
    • Avoid bed rest and try to stick to a normal sleeping pattern. Lying or sitting down for long periods reduces blood circulation in your back, slowing the healing process.
    • Do not turn down medical support, your doctor or physical therapist is a trained professional. Heed their advice, even if staying in bed seems like the easier option.

    How to avoid back strains in the future?

    There are several simple measures a person can take to help prevent back strains in the future. 

    • Exercise your back muscles and stretch them regularly. Poor fitness and physical conditioning are some of the main causes of back strains.
    • Although exercise is highly recommended, know your limits. If you’ve been exercising regularly, or stepping up your workout plan and suddenly feel pain in your back, then take a few days off and rest.
    • If you feel any pain in your back during an activity, immediately stop. Do not try to persevere as this could stretch or tear the muscles or ligaments further.
    • Focus on your sleeping positions and avoid lying on your stomach. If it helps, you can also place a pillow beneath your legs for support. 
    • Always bend at the knees when lifting heavy objects.
    • Maintain a healthy diet to try and keep your weight at a healthy level. 
    • Focus on your posture and avoid slouching or hunching while working. 

    We hope this article has helped to answer any questions you may have had about back strains and how to prevent such issues in the future.

    Common Questions About Back Pain: Do You Need Back Surgery?

    by admin

    Back pain affects an estimated eight out of 10 people over the course of their lives. So, it’s no surprise that this widespread medical condition sparks many questions among patients. 

    One of the most prevalent questions that spine specialists receive from back pain patients is whether or not they’ll need surgery. Understandably, most patients want to avoid back surgery and the risks that it involves. 

    In this article, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about back pain and back surgery. With this information, we aim to give you peace of mind in the range of treatments available for back pain today. 

    Do I need surgery for persistent back pain?

    If you’re experiencing ongoing or severe back pain, you may be wondering if you’ll need back surgery to finally eliminate that constant backache. To answer this question and get on the path to relief from debilitating back pain, you’ll likely need to consult a spinal surgeon.

    Your spinal surgeon will need to assess your back symptoms, take a full medical history, and review your general health. But, don’t start worrying about the prospect of surgery. Back surgery is generally only needed in a small percentage of back pain cases. 

    How many people require back surgery for back pain?

    According to the UT Southwestern Medical Center, only 10% of back pain cases require surgery. Additionally, among back pain patients who require surgery, minimally-invasive procedures are widely successful. 

    So, for most patients, back pain can be resolved with a range of non-surgical options. These trusted treatments can keep you off of the operating table and quickly restore your quality of life. 

    When conservative treatments don’t help, your physician may recommend back surgery. This is often the case when the doctor is looking to provide relief from severe, disabling back pain that’s limiting your lifestyle, interrupting your sleep, and preventing you from being active.

    What non-surgical treatment options are available for back pain?

    The most common non-surgical treatment options available for back pain include:

    • ice or heat therapy,
    • anti-inflammatory medications,
    • physical therapy,
    • chiropractic care,
    • massage therapy.

    In some cases, patients may benefit from epidural steroid injections, which can alleviate pain and inflammation in the spine. Unfortunately, steroid injections can also trigger tissue damage if they’re used in excess. Most physicians recommend that patients undergo no more than three to four injections per year. 

    Additionally, lifestyle changes are often very helpful in treating back pain without surgery. Specifically, changing your diet to lose weight can help remove pressure from the spinal nerves. This can help the irritated tissue heal and recover, as well as lessen neurological symptoms. 

    Your physician may recommend rest for back pain after your initial diagnosis. However, it’s important to stay active with low-impact activities to prevent stiffness and maintain strength. Once back pain and inflammation have decreased, you’ll likely be able to increase your activity level.  

    What are the best exercises for back pain?

    Exercise is beneficial for back pain because it prevents stiffness in the ligaments and tendons. It can help you maintain mobility in the back while increasing circulation to the injured tissue. 

    However, high-impact, strenuous exercise can do more harm than good for back pain patients. So, it’s crucial to choose your activities wisely. 

    Some of the best types of exercise for back pain include:

    • Walking
    • Swimming and water aerobics
    • Biking
    • Resistance exercises
    • Yoga

    While exercising with back pain, remember to start slowly with short periods of activity. Make sure to rest in between your workouts. If you feel any pain or other concerning symptoms, such as numbness or tingling in the extremities, stop exercising and consider other activities. 

    What causes lower back pain?

    The most common lower back pain causes include:

    Strains and Sprains

    Strains and sprains are the most common causes of lower back pain. Strains involve stretching or tearing of the muscles or tendons, while sprains involve stretching or tearing of the ligaments. 

    The causes and treatments of strains and sprains are similar. Overexerting the back while lifting a heavy object, suddenly twisting the back, or falling are possible causes. To treat lower back sprains and strains, physicians typically recommend rest and at-home care, such as heat/cold therapy. 

    Patients may benefit from physical therapy for sprains and strains. A physical therapist can recommend stretching and strengthening exercises to alleviate tension while improving support for the back. 

    Age-related Spinal Degeneration

    The spinal structures, including the vertebrae, facet joints, and intervertebral discs, naturally degenerate with age. This degeneration can contribute to spinal conditions like a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, degenerative disc disease, and osteoarthritis. All of these spinal conditions can lead to chronic lower back pain. 

    What does one-sided back pain mean?

    Lower left back pain and lower right back pain can be caused by any of the common back pain causes listed above. However, if you have one-sided back pain along with other symptoms, such as fever and/or pain while urinating, the pain could be stemming from an internal organ. So, in this case, make sure to receive a medical evaluation promptly. 

    Can sports injuries cause lower back pain?

    Especially in young adults, participating in sports is a key risk factor for lower back pain. According to Medscape, 7% to 13% of all sports injuries in college athletes are lower back injuries. Additionally, certain sports are more likely to trigger back pain than others. 

    The sports that present the highest risk of lower back pain include gymnastics, soccer, and dance, according to a 2009 study published in Sports Health. 

    Which medical conditions require back surgery?

    Here are the symptoms and conditions that might make back surgery an optimal solution for you:

    • Spinal nerve compression

    Back injuries and conditions that compress your spinal nerves can cause debilitating back pain and/or numbness, tingling, and weakness in the legs.

    • Intervertebral disc damage

    With a bulging, ruptured, or herniated disc, the rubbery discs that cushion and separate the bones in your spine are injured. So, the spinal structures are subject to more impact with day-to-day movements. 

    • Vertebral fracture

    A fractured vertebra typically causes back pain and spinal instability. Many vertebral fractures heal on their own, while others require surgery. or other damage to your spinal column from a back injury. A fractured disc will cause pain, and also leaves your spine unstable, often causing additional back pain.

    You may also be diagnosed with a condition that causes back pain and additional progressive nerve compression:

    • Scoliosis, a curvature of the spine that can compress nerves in the back
    • Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal typically caused by arthritis
    • Spondylolisthesis, the forward slippage of a spinal segment
    • Degenerative disc disease, the development of pain in a disc as a result of its normal wear and tear over time
    • Radiculopathy, the irritation, and inflammation of a nerve caused by a herniated disc
    • Kyphosis, a humpback deformity

    What are the main lower back surgery types?

    For lower back pain relief in severe cases, spinal surgeons may recommend one of the following types of lower back surgery:

    • Spinal decompression

    Spinal decompression is the most common lower back pain surgery. It involves alleviating pressure on the spinal nerves by removing certain spinal tissues. 

    Several procedures fall under the umbrella of spinal decompression, including:

    • Laminectomy: Widely used for spinal stenosis, this procedure involves removing some or all of the lamina, which covers the back of the spinal cord. 
    • Discectomy: Commonly used for lower back herniated disc surgery, discectomy involves removing damaged disc tissue. 
    • Foraminotomy: This procedure involves creating more space in the intervertebral foramen, where the nerve roots leave the spinal canal. 
    • Lower back fusion surgery

    During fusion surgery in the lower back, your surgeon will secure bone graft material in between one or more vertebrae. This process permanently fuses the targeted vertebrae to prevent spinal instability. 

    Unfortunately, lower back fusion eliminates all independent motion of the vertebrae. This significantly diminishes patients’ back flexibility and may keep them from performing certain activities. Fusion also largely prolongs the recovery time for lower back surgery

    Recent innovations in spinal surgery, such as the TOPS™ System from Premia Spine, can prevent spinal instability after decompression surgery without compromising the patient’s mobility. The TOPS™ System is a non-fusion spinal implant that moves with the spine, protects neighboring segments from degeneration, and preserves spinal mobility. 

    Your spinal surgeon’s primary goal is to eliminate your back pain and restore your quality of life.  When a progressive condition is diagnosed through testing and examination, back surgery may certainly move to the forefront of your surgeon’s mind. It’s their job to consider the best, most individualized treatment options to eradicate back pain before it becomes worse.

    Common Questions About Back Pain: What are the Different Types of Back Surgery

    by admin

    Back Surgery Can Potentially Cure Your Pain

    There are several different types of back surgery proving successful at resolving patients’ back pain issues, each involving the highest level of surgical technology available today, as well as the skill of a board-certified spinal surgeon. If your spinal specialist advises back surgery, you’ll embark upon a learning process about the different available back surgery procedures – guided by your physician. You always want to get your information directly from your spinal surgeon, since back surgery information online can be outdated or incorrect, and Googling back surgery topics can sometimes cause unnecessary anxiety.   The best course of action for researching back surgery procedures is to prepare a list of questions for your surgeon, and request all of the back surgery literature possible that your doctor can provide you with so that you can fully understand what will be done during your surgical procedure.

    Overall, back surgery can accomplish several different pain-relieving goals, including removing portions of the bone to widen the narrowed area in your vertebrae, which can cause back pain. Your spinal surgeon may remove the gel-like middle section of a ruptured disc to relieve pressure on pinched nerves in the back. And sometimes, the damage to a disc is so severe, your doctor has to remove the entire disc and then fuse together the remaining discs.

    Below is a list of some of the different types of back surgery that may be the customized choice for your back damage or condition:

    • Discectomy. In this type of back surgery, your spinal surgeon will remove the herniated portion of a disc to relieve irritation and inflammation of a nerve.
    • Laminectomy. This back surgery procedure involves removing the bone overlying the spinal canal, which then enlarges the spinal canal to relieve nerve pressure caused by spinal stenosis.
    • Fusion. Spinal fusion permanently connects two or more bones in your spine. When the vertebrae are fused, you get added stability to your spinal movements, or relief of pain from a spinal fracture. Occasionally, spinal surgeons will opt for spinal fusion to eliminate painful motion between vertebrae that can result from a degenerated disc or injured disc.
    • Vertebroplasty. During this type of back surgery, your surgeon will inject bone cement into compressed vertebrae to stabilize fractures or compressed vertebrae, which can relieve pain. A balloon-like method may be used to expand the vertebrae area, allowing your surgeon to inject the bone cement into the treatment area for optimal results.
    • Artificial discs. Your spinal surgeon may find that your discs are in an advanced stage of degeneration, and that implanted artificial discs are necessary for the creation of a spine that functions better and without compression to the nerves. Artificial disc technology is advancing every day through rigorous studies and testing, and your surgeon can introduce you to the materials and information about having new discs implanted for your spinal pain relief.
    • TOPS (Total Posterior Spine) System.  A mechanical implant device that stabilizes the spine without eliminating the independent motion of the individual vertebrae, as spinal fusion does.

    Since back surgery is a complex procedure, work with your spinal surgeon to explore all your options.  Every situation is different and you need to feel secure that you have fully researched which type of back surgery would be best for you, and if back surgery is necessary at all. And of course, your doctor will guide you through all the information you need regarding recovering from back surgery and what you can expect for your post-surgery lifestyle.

    reference: www.mayoclinic.com

    Does Medication Reduce Back Pain?

    by admin

    Back pain is a prevalent health concern in the United States and around the world. In fact, almost 65 million Americans have had a recent episode of back pain. 

    Thankfully, most back pain episodes can be successfully resolved with at-home care. But, if this approach doesn’t relieve your back pain after a few weeks, you should consult with a back pain specialist.

    A specialist may recommend medication for back pain to improve your symptoms. There are several different types of medications that can alleviate back pain, all of which we’ll discuss below. 

    Understanding Back Pain

    Before we dive into the topic of medication for back pain relief, let’s answer some of the most commonly asked questions about back pain. 

    How long does back pain last?

    Back pain can be either acute or chronic. Acute back pain typically develops suddenly and resolves within four weeks. However, many cases of acute back pain go away within just a couple of days. 

    Chronic back pain lasts for 12 weeks or longer. Patients with chronic back pain may experience temporary pain relief, followed by a flare-up. 

    Back pain cases lasting between four and 12 weeks are considered subacute. This means that while the pain lasts longer than acute pain, it’s not defined as chronic. 

    How do I know if my back pain is serious?

    Back pain may be a sign of a more serious condition if:

    • The pain becomes gradually worse over an extended period
    • You’re experiencing neurological symptoms, such as tingling, numbness, and weakness in the extremities
    • The pain began after an accident, such as a car accident or fall, and has continued to get worse
    • The pain interferes with your quality of sleep
    • You’re experiencing changes in bladder and/or bowel function (this rare symptom can indicate a severe condition that may cause permanent nerve damage and requires emergency medical attention)

    Generally, if you’re experiencing back pain that hasn’t improved at all after two weeks of at-home care, we’d recommend scheduling a medical evaluation. 

    How do I know if my back pain is muscle or spine?

    Back pain can stem from a wide range of factors. Muscle strains and spasms are common causes of acute back pain and often resolve without medical intervention. Muscular back pain may feel like:

    • Soreness after physical activity
    • Spasms or cramps
    • Sharp or achy pain that’s limited to one area of the back

    Spinal problems, on the other hand, tend to require expert medical treatment. Conditions such as a slipped disc, spinal stenosis, spondylosis, and spondylolisthesis can trigger persistent back pain.

    Unlike muscular pain, spinal problems can cause neurological symptoms, including numbness, tingling, and weakness in the extremities. Additionally, back pain stemming from the spine generally won’t improve with rest, although changing positions may provide some relief. 

    Cases of back pain caused by a spinal condition may require surgical spinal solutions if conservation treatment methods fail after several months. 

    Why is my back pain getting worse?

    If your back pain is continuing to get worse despite self-care and at-home treatment, you may have a more serious condition, rather than an acute injury. Spinal arthritis, herniated disc, and spinal stenosis are among the most common causes of chronic back pain. 

    What does a slipped disc in the back feel like?

    A slipped disc occurs when one of the intervertebral discs that cushion the vertebrae is injured. Specifically, the jelly-like disc interior presses out through a crack in the disc’s tough outer shell. If the damaged disc presses on nearby nerves, you may experience a range of symptoms, including:

    • Sharp back pain that worsens with activity and may improve when you’re lying down
    • Pain that radiates into the arm or leg, depending on the location of the slipped disc
    • Numbness, tingling, and/or weakness in the extremities

    What Decreases Back Pain?

    Most back pain improves with a few weeks of self-care and at-home remedies. This may include over-the-counter pain relievers, ice, heat, and rest. While you should avoid lifting heavy objects and vigorous exercise, gentle, low-impact exercise and moving throughout the day can also help relieve back pain.

    While it may seem like sitting and lying down will help relieve your pain, it can actually make it worse by increasing tension in the back muscles. Additionally, movement improves circulation, which helps deliver healing nutrients and oxygen to the back.

    Along with these at-home remedies, the following non-invasive and alternative treatments can help decrease back pain:

    • Physical therapy
    • Chiropractic care
    • Acupuncture
    • Massage therapy 

    What Medicine Can Cure Low Back Pain?

    Over-The-Counter Pain Medication For Back Pain

    The most common first step in using medication to alleviate back pain is taking over-the-counter medicine. Typically, this involves acetaminophen, such as Tylenol, or NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Aspirin, ibuprofen (such as Advil and Motrin), and naproxen (such as Aleve) are widely used for back pain management. 

    These medications are often effective at relieving back pain and can work within a very short period. However, make sure to always consult the medication label and/or ask your doctor about the best dose of these lower back pain medications for your needs. 

    Taking too high a dose of over-the-counter pain medications, or taking them for an extended period, can trigger side effects including:

    • Liver damage
    • Increased risk of heart attack and stroke
    • Increased risk of bruising and bleeding
    • Gastrointestinal issues including upset stomach and peptic ulcers
    • Skin reactions

    Additionally, you may not be a candidate for over-the-counter pain relievers if you have a history of heart disease, high blood pressure, peptic ulcer disease, gastrointestinal problems, kidney disease, or liver cirrhosis. 

    Muscle Relaxant Medication For Lower Back Pain

    If over-the-counter medications don’t relieve your back pain issues, your doctor may also prescribe a muscle relaxant. This type of prescription medication for back pain has proven to be effective for many patients and can help manage secondary pain, such as sore hips. 

    While muscle relaxants will often lessen back pain, they can cause side effects like sleepiness and dizziness. So, you should take them only when you’re done driving for the day. Ideally, you should only take muscle relaxants when you’re at home and can fully relax.

    Don’t take muscle relaxants when you’re at work, have to make important decisions, cook, or complete any other tasks that require focus. Additionally, only take them when you can be sure that someone is available to care for your kids and pets.

    Some patients are more sensitive than others to the effects of muscle relaxants and can’t function safely while on this particular type of back pain medication. Your physician will help determine if muscle relaxants are the right choice for you. 

    Medication For Severe Back Pain

    Narcotics

    Your doctor may also prescribe you a narcotic, such as codeine or hydrocodone, as a chronic back pain medication. These medications aren’t prescribed to everyone because they present several risks, including the risk of addiction. Your physician will likely try several other courses of treatment before resorting to narcotics for back pain. 

    With this in mind, narcotics should be used only for a short period and with close doctor supervision. Take these lower back pain relief medications only as prescribed and be mindful of side effects including:

    • Drowsiness
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Impaired judgment
    • Slowed breathing
    • Constipation
    • Addiction, as mentioned above

    Antidepressants

    Interestingly, some back pain patients experience chronic back pain relief from low doses of certain types of antidepressants. Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline, in particular, have been beneficial for some back pain patients.

    While you may not feel depressed or show other signs of depression, antidepressants are among the arsenal of low back pain medication that your physician may recommend.

    Side effects of antidepressants can include:

    • Dry mouth
    • Constipation
    • Unexplained weight gain
    • Drowsiness
    • Sexual dysfunction
    • Difficulty urinating
    • Blurred vision

    Cortisone Injections

    Cortisone injections are another treatment option for severe back pain. These anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving injections are delivered directly to the space around your spinal cord.

    Your doctor might inject cortisone into the facet joints of your vertebrae. This can decrease inflammation in the areas causing your back pain, allowing for a fuller range of motion and greater stability. Additionally, a cortisone injection can decrease inflammation around the nerve roots, potentially providing back pain relief for up to a few months after the injection.

    Unfortunately, cortisone injections don’t support the body’s healing process or accelerate recovery. In fact, if a patient receives too many of these injections, they can cause tissue damage. For this reason, physicians recommend no more than three to four cortisone injections per year.   

    What Is The Best Medication For Back Pain?

    Ultimately, the best medication for back pain relief will vary from patient to patient. So, talk to your doctor about which medications may be ideal to relieve your back pain.

    Additionally, don’t hesitate to request information on possible side effects and how long you should take each type of suggested medication. It’s crucial to closely follow your physician’s instructions to relieve your back pain with over-the-counter or prescription medications. 

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