The statistics are staggering. About 80–90% experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. Many people with chronic lower back pain are working, and lose productivity on the job as a direct result. In fact, it is estimated by national statistics that back pain costs billions of € a year in lost earnings, and lower back pain is the Number 1 cause of visits to physicians.
Types of Back Pain
The most common types of back pain are:
- Lumbar, or lower back pain, is typically located at and above the waist in the middle of the back or spine. The pain can be directly linked to prolonged stretches or sitting, standing, or lifting.
- Sciatica is a sharp, stabbing pain that starts in the buttock and travels down the leg. It can often include numbness, “pins and needles”, and/or even weakness of the leg. Sciatica is one of the most common forms of pain caused by compression of the spinal nerves, and the leg pain often feels much worse than the back pain. Sciatica is actually a symptom and not a diagnosis. While the most common cause of sciatica is a herniated (or “slipped”) disc, many other conditions can cause this type of pain.
Relieving the Pain
If you or a loved one suffers chronic back pain, there are options to relieve the pain in the form of:
- New technology
- Surgical options
The first and best step for anyone with back pain is to establish an accurate medical history and determine what factors may have been, or still are, contributing to the pain. If you have experienced persistent back pain for more than two months, ask your primary care physician if it’s time for you to see a spine specialist.
Visiting a Spine Specialist
Through careful evaluation and diagnostic tests, a spine specialist can determine the correct method of treatment including:
- Pain management
- Physical rehabilitation
- Surgical options:
- Implanting hardware
- Bone graft
- Removing herniated discs
- Relieving compression on spinal nerves
Today, many surgical spine procedures can be performed as a minimally invasive surgery, resulting in reduced pain and a quicker recovery. These procedures allow the surgeon to accomplish the same goals but are done through very small cuts in the skin, sometimes as small as ¾ of an inch, and cause much less injury to the back muscles. Many of these surgeries can now be done as outpatients, allowing the patient to return home the same day as their operation.
Don’t Delay Treatment
Regardless of what type of back pain you suffer from, one aspect remains constant: If untreated, chronic aches and back pain can continue to follow you throughout your life. If mundane household chores or tasks at work lead to recurring pain on a daily basis, it’s important for you to know that options are available.
The vast majority of lower back pain conditions will get better with time and can be addressed with conservative treatments. However, it is important to note that there are some diagnoses that indicate the need for surgery to enable relief from pain and better enjoyment of day-to-day activities.
CRO Akwa Wellness
April 7th 2018
Sources and References:
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Lavelle, W. F., Kitab, S. A., Ramakrishnan, R., & Benzel, E. C. (2017). Anatomy of Nerve Root Compression, Nerve Root Tethering, and Spinal Instability. In Benzel’s Spine Surgery (4th ed., pp. 200–205).Bogduk, N. (Ed.). (2004).
Practice guidelines for spinal diagnostic and treatment procedures. San Francisco: International Spine Intervention Society.
Indahl, A., Indahl, A., Velund, L., & Reikerås, O. (1995). Good prognosis for low back pain when left untampered. Spine, 20, 473–477.
Chou R, Baisden J, Carragee EJ, Resnick DK, Shaffer WO, Loeser JD (May 2009). “Surgery for low back pain: a review of the evidence for an American Pain Society Clinical Practice Guideline”. Spine. 34 (10): 1094–109.
Originally published at quickhealthnotes.weebly.com.