Chronic Back Pain Treatment

Nearly all people (4 out of 5) have a least a passing experience with back pain at some point in their lifetime. Fortunately, most people do not suffer from back pain for very long, and the symptoms pass after a period of a few days to a few weeks. Most people actually experience sprain and strain type injuries, rather than have their symptoms as a result of the more serious back conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis or cauda equina syndrome. Sprain and strain type injuries are the type of back injuries related to overuse of the muscles or an awkward movement that temporarily injures the back muscles or ligaments. Strain injuries refer to the overuse of the back muscles and sprain injuries refer to the overstretching of the back ligaments. In most cases, these minor injuries will heal on their own, though there are treatments that will speed recovery rates, including resources such as icing, rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and back stretching and exercises.

For some people, though, back pain lingers, or even gets worse, despite a period of rest and over the counter conservative therapies such as icing and anti-inflammatories. These patients are more likely to seek more sophisticated diagnostic testing and one-on-one therapy sessions with specialists such as physical therapists to get treated for back conditions that won't seem to go away on their own.

Some treatments for chronic back pain include care at pain management clinics, natural pain relief (e.g. physical therapy, professional counseling), back bracing, activity modification, and spinal cord stimulation. These treatments generally get more invasive the longer the pain has gone on, and the more severe the symptoms get. The more invasive and risky the treatments, the more the patient will be at risk for developing side effects and complications. At the same time, patients seek the more invasive and risky treatments after the conservative treatments have failed, and they are in just too much pain to go own without trying other options. The more risky and invasive procedures include spinal drug delivery systems, nerve block injections, narcotic pain medications, and the implantation of a patient-controlled Analgesia (PCA) Pump. Back surgery is usually the last resort type of chronic back pain treatment that is considered, but may be an option when other treatments have failed or in the event of severe nerve root compression.

Let's take a closer look at some of the treatments that are available to patients and when it may be appropriate to use them. We will also take a closer look at how these treatments for and why they have such positive effects on the body and patients' pain levels.

Spinal Cord Stimulation: we have known for a long time that the pain signal from the site of injury can get disrupted or blocked from reaching the brain, resulting in significant pain relief. This idea has been put into practice for many decades now, with treatments such as epidural steroid injections that are designed to block pain signals from traveling any further up from that level of the spine. Today, new technologies are being introduced to block pain signals from reaching the brain. Once such treatment that utilizes new technologies includes is spinal cord stimulation. With this treatment, a device is implanted inside the patient, which feeds out wires that terminate just outside the spinal cord to deliver electricity to it. The wire is threaded through the body from the implanted device and delivers low-level electrical signals to the spinal cord. These low levels electrical signals target specific nerves to keep pain signals from reaching the brain.

This device may be implanted on the outside of the patient during a trial period to see if it works, and then permanently if it offers sufficient benefits. Patients will have the ability to change the amount of electricity that travels to the spinal nerves. The current of electricity generated from the internal device is described as tingling and pleasant.

One of the cool things of these devices is that recharging them doesn't require an additional surgery to remove one of them and put another one in once the battery inside wears out. The battery inside the device may be recharged through the skin, without the requirement of any new procedures.