Are you suffering from chronic low back pain? If yes, then for how long and what is the intensity of the pain? Well, these are a few questions that your physician will ask you when you will opt for lower back pain treatment.
Back pain can trigger irritability, discomfort, and other type of problems in your daily life. It will restrict your range of motion and cause a sleeping problem. If the pain is mild, then you should try to perform some light exercise or hot and cold compression.
If the pain is a result of an accident or any trauma, then you need immediate medical attention if the pain resides for a long time and escalates to a chronic state. That is when you might have to consider surgeries.
So there are different phases of this pain, and it depends on the cause of the problem. Sometimes a minor strain can cause the problem, and sometimes it might be an indication for a tumor. So in this article, we will discuss what the causes are and how one can treat this problem.
Causes Of Low Back Pain
Several factors might contribute to your lower back problem. It can be related to injury or aging. One can suffer spinal stenosis, spine arthritis, myofascial pain syndrome, and bulging or herniated disc.
Sometimes when it is difficult to find the reason for the back pain, it is recommended to perform some medical procedures. One can deal with the problem only after knowing the reason for origin.
- Spine arthritis causes the cartilage present inside your spine to thin gradually.
- Spinal stenosis refers to the narrowing down of the spinal canal, which escalates to nerve pain.
- Bulging disc or herniated discs are disc problems.
- If you experience any unexplained tenderness or muscle pain, then it can be myofascial pain syndrome.
Apart from that, the pain can be a result of bad posture, unhealthy diet, tumors, infections, etc.
Chronic Low Back Pain
Lower back pain goes into the stage of chronic when the pain retains for more than three months. In most of the cases, you can see that the pain is reducing for a few days and coming back again, which leads to frustration even if it provides temporary relief. It is imperative to know the cause of the problem if you are experiencing sharp back pain.
Back pain is a symptom and not a cause, and hence you need to perform a proper diagnosis. Several health issues might trigger the pain. If a person is not taking care of chronic low back pain initially, then they might have to opt for surgical treatments to ease the pain in the future.
Non-Surgical Treatments For Treating Chronic Lower Back Pain
Physical therapy is vital if you are suffering from chronic low back pain. Make sure you are not performing any physical exercises when the pain is severe. Always take guidance from the physician or spine therapist before trying out any exercise. Different types of pain will require various activities.
Exercise can help in reducing specific symptoms and improve the overall condition. People who are suffering from chronic low back pain are advised not to lie on your back for a long time as it escalates the pain. Some of the physical therapy that will be recommended to you will be core strengthening, aerobic exercises, flexibility, and stretching exercises, restraining the posture, and testing your pain tolerance through exercise and movements.
Trans fats, processed foods, and refined sugar are known to be inflammatory, and it will delay healing. It is crucial to ask a doctor and get a proper diet that can reduce chronic back pain. Apart from that, try to avoid the junk that can make you gain weight. It is vital to maintain a healthy weight to reduce the pressure from your spine. This will, in turn, help to reduce chronic low back pain.
If you are suffering from chronic low back pain when you need to make some lifestyle modifications. With chronic pain, you will face several limitations like mobility problems or sleeping problems, so it is crucial to understand your body and pace yourself accordingly.
Anything that is triggering the pain should be kept at bay during this time. It will help in reducing the pain and make you feel better. It is essential to avoid all the things that are increasing the pain until you are visiting your doctor. Also, avoid smoking because nicotine can delay healing and accentuate pain.
Meditation And Mindfulness
If your daily life activities are facing hindrance because of chronic low back pain, then it will drain you emotionally and physically. A person needs to manage their irritability, depression, frustration, and any psychological aspect while dealing with low back pain. You can try out some relaxation strategies like meditation or yoga to shift your focus from pain.
Epidural steroid injections, nerve blocks, nerve ablations, and there are other procedures where you will have to take injection for reducing chronic low back pain. This type of injection is used for treating the pain when you know the cause and source.
All these injections will help in reducing or stopping the pain for a particular amount of time. One should not use these injections for a long time, as it might cause reactions as well.
There are several other alternative ways of treating chronic low back pain. Biofeedback therapy, massage, acupuncture, electrical nerve stimulation, laser therapy, and other spine treatment can help to reduce lower back pain. Ask your doctor about the appropriate treatment, which can benefit your condition.
Different types of muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory medication, analgesic, and other types of medication can help in easing chronic low back pain. They do come with some adverse effects and hence not recommended for long term use. Several doctors have recommended taking opioid medication as well.
As most of the pharmacologic treatments can cause addiction in people, so people are advised to seek other options as well. Apart from that, you must always take the medication that has been prescribed by a doctor.
Surgical Method For Treating Lower Back Pain
When a person is suffering from chronic low back pain for almost 6 to 12 weeks, then they should consider non-surgical methods. If the non-surgical methods are failing to ease the pain, then an emergency surgery situation might arise. There are different types of surgeries, and each of them is for addressing different kinds of problems.
First, we will have to look into several factors before opting for low back surgery. So here are two points that you need to keep in mind.
- Lifestyle And Healing Process: When it comes to the surgery, you will have to invest a certain amount of time in letting yourself heal. You must consider the healing process and how it is going to affect you.
- Ability To Move Or Function: If the pain is not interrupting your sleep cycle or daily activity, then you can opt for non-surgical treatment. When the pain becomes chronic and hinders every minor movement, then you should go for surgeries.
Different Types Of Surgeries
When it comes to surgeries, different conditions will require different treatments, and some may also demand a more extended healing period. Hospitals nowadays use some modern approaches for surgeries that are operated by the experienced surgeon, so one can easily opt for spine surgery without any hesitation. If the lower back pain causes are very critical, then you will need a lengthy recovery period, but you will find yourself utterly healthy after that.
After the surgery, it is imperative to have emotional and mental well being because it has a very positive impact on the improvement of your health. If you are confident about the surgery, then you can expect a quick and decisive recovery. When the back pain is moderate or mild, then you can usually skip spine surgery. One must perform an imaging test to detect the reason for pain. Do not go for surgeries if you are not sure about the cause of the pain.
Lumbar spinal fusion: Lumbar surgery is used for removing the soft tissue present between the adjacent vertebral bones. By performing this procedure, the bones will be able to grow within a year. Then the bones will be fused into a single long bone to eliminate motion and stabilize the spinal segments.
In the lumbar spine, one can perform fusion on the front, back, and side or together. Modern navigation, implants, techniques, and biologics are used to make the surgery predictable. Your recovery will not require an extended period, and you can return to your daily work and activity.
A person who is suffering from spondylolisthesis, instability, fracture, deformity, stenosis, and degenerative disc disease can go through this surgery. By using the fusion surgery, infections and tumors are also treated.
Decompression surgery is used for removing anything that is putting pressure on the nerve root, thereby affecting the spinal spine column. Bone spurs or disc portion, which is herniated, can create tension. If you have lower back pain, then two types of decompression are used in the surgery.
Microdiscectomy is one of them, which is an invasive procedure that requires minimal surgery. It is designed for the patient who is suffering from a lumbar herniated disc that is leading to radicular leg pain.
Another one is laminectomy. In this surgery, a layer of the soft tissue or bone, which is compressing the nerve roots or multiple nerves, is removed. If you are experiencing pain in your leg along with weakness, which is caused by bone spurs, disc, and facet joints, then laminectomy is recommended.
To perform decompression surgery, the minimum invasive technique is used. It will cause minimal discomfort and small incisions, and you can quickly recover.
Alternate Surgical Options
For people who are experiencing low back pain can also go for alternate surgical options mentioned below:
- Lumbar Artificial Disc: Instead of going for fusion surgery, many people would prefer to go for the artificial lumbar disc. By using this process, you can recover quickly and maintain proper spinal motion in comparison to lumbar fusion.
- Devices For The Posterior Motion: For non-severe degenerative spondylitis and stenosis, one can go for a coflex interlaminar device. By using this approach, one can get similar results like that of fusion but with faster recovery and small surgery.
The recovery time after the surgery will be determined by considering several factors like the seriousness of the condition before surgery, experience, and skill of the surgeon and extensiveness. Physical therapy is recommended to improve the range of motion, build strength, and promote healing.
After the surgery, the doctor might recommend you some muscle relaxant, pain killers, back brace, shower tools, a unique bed, and supporting pillow to promote healing. You will have to provide your body with complete rest to allow the tissues surrounding the spine to heal completely.
This is a complete overview of how to treat chronic low back pain by using surgical and non-surgical methods. Initially, when the pain is medium or mild, you should use non-surgical methods. It is vital to consider the duration of the pain to determine the seriousness. Even if the pain is chronic, you can make some lifestyle changes or follow some exercises to reduce it.
When the non-surgical methods fail to provide relief, then you can go for the surgical techniques. It is imperative to understand that surgeries are often time-consuming and will need a lengthy healing period. Surgeries may also restrict you from performing your daily life activities. Talk to a doctor about all the complications and the result of the surgery before going for this option