You have been experiencing back pain and had an appointment with your Physician. Several tests were done-which may include blood tests, x-rays, MRI scan, CT scan, synovial fluid analysis and/or a urine test. You were seen before major damage was done- excellent! “What medical treatments are available to relieve the back pain?” You ask.
What Treatments are Available?
The type of treatment you will receive depends upon what type of back pain you are experiencing, what the tests revealed and the diagnosis. Treatment may include medications, physiotherapy, exercise, weight control, orthopedic bracing and for some surgery may be needed.
- Physical Therapy is the most common treatment available for back pain. The physical therapist can apply a variety of treatments which include-heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation and muscle-release techniques. These treatments reduce the pain when applied to your back muscles and soft tissues. As your back pain lessens the therapist may teach you some exercises that can increase your flexibility, strengthen your back, abdominal muscles and improve your posture.
Regular use of these techniques can help prevent the return of back pain.
Forms of Physical Therapy
Hydrotherapy– This form of therapy involves special exercises which are done in a warm water pool.
Physiotherapy– Often when you are in pain you will favor the affected area and avoid movement. With physiotherapy the physical therapist will help you work out the muscle and joint stiffness, while protecting it from further damage.
Occupational therapy– This therapy promotes health and wellness by teaching you how to reduce the strain on your joints and muscles during your daily activities. There may be modifications done to your home and workplace so you can move about without further damage to your back.
- Injections are used when other methods don’t work to relieve your pain or the pain radiates down your legs or arms. The usual injection of choice is Cortisone injections. Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory medication which is injected into the space around your spinal cord. The injection helps decrease the inflammation around the nerve roots. The pain relief has a short life of just a few months, so it isn’t a cure for back pain.
- Surgery is usually the last resort method when it comes to back pain. Very few people need this form of treatment, but it is an option if no other method relieves the back pain or if it is emergency surgery. If your pain is unrelenting, radiates down your legs or muscle weakness becomes progressive, then you may benefit from back surgery. A slipped disk is often the one condition which may require surgery. Also, surgery is needed if the nerves are so impaired that it interferes with the function of the bladder or the bowels.
- After surgery you may go through a period of rehabilitation. The goal of rehabilitation is to improve the stability of the spine. Rehabilitation includes back strengthening exercises, stretching and relaxation exercises, strength training and other methods. Often after surgery your rehabilitation will be done as an inpatient, so your pain levels and healing can be monitored.
The medical treatments mentioned are just a small part of the methods available, one thing to remember is no matter what treatment method you may receive you still need to stay active. Inactivity can cause further problems, physical activity will stop back pain from becoming chronic, remaining active is the most important method you can use to help yourself.