Lower Back Pain Treatment
There are several things about the structure of out lower backs that make us unique in the animal kingdom. Our ability to walk upright, combined with our hands give us our ability to work with tools and operate machinery like no other animal could, even if it had the brain capacity. But our amazing physical abilities don't come without any downsides, however. With the backs of dogs and horses, the stresses of gravity when standing and running are dispersed throughout the spine. With our backs, the stresses and pressures of gravity are concentrated in our lower backs. The discs and facet in our backs usually wear out faster in our lower backs than other sections of the spine, leading to lower back pain in some individuals.
It's funny, or at least very interesting, that for those of use thirty or older, most actually show signs of this wearing out of the spine. These signs may present on MRIs and medical images and be known as conditions such as facet arthritis, degenerative disc disease, and sciatica. Yet not all of us feel back pain. Why Some of it has to do with that the fact that unless these degenerative changes in the spine greatly impact the spinal nerves, we can go about our life with no pain at all, or only transient pain that is experienced while the back is changing. Also, it must be noted that doctors don't exactly know why some of us are affected by our aging of the spine and some of us aren't.
For those people who do have pain related to their lower back, let's take a look at some of the most innovative treatments that are out there.
Medications: Medications are a common lower back pain treatment for patients with acute and chronic pain. The type of medications that patients take for their condition may depend on the cause of the pain, and how long the patient has been suffering.
For acute lower back pain, the meds that patients take on their own or are prescribed are used to either manage the pain, or to reduce inflammation. In the acute stages of a condition, the patient may take acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammation drugs, muscle relaxants, and narcotic pain medications with the goal of treating a condition that will heal on its own in days or weeks. If the condition becomes chronic, then taking these medications for long-term use are all associated with risks.
Medications that are taken for chronic pain may include those listed above as well as antidepressants, anesthetic or steroid injections, anticonvulsants, and Botox injections. Some of the older antidepressants such as duloxetine and amytryptiline have been shown to control nerve pain. Steroid injections are not designed to fix the cause of the problem, but have been shown to curb pain and inflammation for several months at a time. Why do anticonvulsants treat chronic back pain? doctors don't fully understand this mechanism, but they do reduce the symptoms of nerve damage that many patient experience following chronic compression of the spinal nerves. Two anticonvulsants that have shown effectiveness at decreasing back pain symptoms related to neuropathy and nerve damage include carbamazepine and gabapentin.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: the first time a doctor recommends a treatment such as cognitive-behavioral therapy for a patient with lower back pain, it could have an annoying or dismaying effect. No patient wants to walk into an office in physical pain and be told that it is all in their head. In fact, doctors don't suspect this at all, but often do want to address the role that the mind has in the way that pain is experienced and is treated. Pain control skills and stress management are two cognitive-behavioral therapy treatments that may be used to keep patients from becoming depressed and anxious about their condition.