Back in Pain

Back pain is a medical term that patients use to describe feelings of discomfort and limitation in their backs. The pain may originate within the spine due to injuries within its structures such as the joints, vertebral bones, nerves and muscles. Or the pain may originate due to diseases in chest or abdominal cavity, from pain that radiates outwards. Patients with back pain may suffer as victims of circumstances beyond their control, such as accidents, inflammatory diseases, cancer, and infection. Or patients may simply wear out the soft tissues of their spine through poor lifting techniques, stooped posture, alcoholism, smoking, and bad diet. The structural damage that has occurred in the body to cause the back pain may be reversible. In other cases, the degenerative changes what occurs to soft tissues structures in the discs and facet joints may be irreversible. But fear not. Even in cases where the structural degeneration inside the spine is irreversible, treatments are available to help patients manage to pain, so that they may resume a normal life. Let's take a look at some of the options you might have when you have a back in pain.

Back Schools: Back schools are programs designed for patients so that patients may be taught the basics of body mechanics and anatomy, so that they know what types of behaviors, movements, exercises, and activities help and hurt the back. Over several sessions, patients learn about the anatomy and physiology of the back, and what types of movements will minimize a patient's pain levels. Back surgery and medications can only go so far to help patients if they keep doing the same types of things that caused them to strain and damage their backs in the first place.



In back school educational and therapy sessions, patients learn the basics about posture and mechanical strain so that they may learn to work and move in ways that put a minimal amount of strain on the back. Physical activity programs are done and in these exercise sessions patients begin to learn and practice Isometric exercises for abdominal muscles. It is the interior abdominal muscles that connect to the spine to move and stabilize it.

These physical activity programs are run by a trained specialist such as a physical therapist.

These programs are developed with the idea that patients will learn how to manage their back condition on their own at home, and hopefully to avoid future outbreaks of acute back pain.

Studies that have measured the efficacy of these back programs have shown mixed results. Some clinical research results have been very promising, while others have shown less long term recovery compared to the placebo groups. These types of schools may be available in rehabilitation hospitals and in outpatient program settings.

Of Doubtful Benefit: Many patients dealing with back pain for the first time are overwhelmed with by the many options available to them. Patients will want to know which option is the best for them. There are several treatment options that some patients swear by to help them, but have shown little promise in research studies evaluating their efficacy.

Ultrasound: Ultrasound is a useful diagnostic tool that gives doctors the ability to see live pictures of the internal structures of the body without the potentially harmful effects of imaging options such as X-Ray. Ultrasound involves the transmission of sound waves into the body. Could these sound wave energies and frequencies stimulate healing of injured tissues in the body? A study published by the journal of the American Physical Therapy Association and the Royal Dutch Society for Physical Therapy says that there is no evidence that ultrasound helps with muscle and spine injuries. http://ptjournal.apta.org/content/81/7/1339.long

If you have a back that is in pain, you are more likely to benefit from treatments such as back exercises, pressure point massage, acupressure, medications, heat therapy, and cold compression therapy.