What Back Pain Sufferers can Expect from a Doctor’s Visit
In most cases, back pain is a manageable issue. Often, the cause of back pain can be traced back to habitual issues that, once identified and corrected, can allow a person to overcome their pain and get back on track to wellness. In some rare cases, back pain becomes unmanageable and requires the intervention of medical professionals.
Severe back pain is often due to serious injury to the spine. Car accidents being the main contributor, while high impact sports come in a close second. We’ve all heard stories about football players that end their career’s abruptly due to spinal injury. Whatever the case, when back pain becomes unmanageable, it becomes time to seek help.
Typical Medical Recommendations for Back Pain
Before jumping into more drastic medical protocols, your doctor is likely to start with a holistic approach to back pain and take it from there. Physical therapy, with the consultation of a license physical therapist, is the most common first step recommendation from general or pain management doctor.
Often, stretching and muscle development is all that’s needed to correct back pain. For example, when we sit at our desks for hours-on-end working, some muscles start to fatigue and tighten while others get weak from atrophy. A physical therapist will help target the areas that are likely causing your pain and assist you with a set of stretching and strengthening exercises.
Physical therapists can also give advice on office ergonomics, by helping you setup your desk and ergonomic chair in a fashion that will preserve the integrity of your spine.
Your medical professional may recommend you see a chiropractor to assist with your back pain issues. Often a spinal adjustment is all that’s needed to correct a back pain problem.
When the spine is out of alignment and particularly when a vertebrae or 2 or 3 are out of place, the muscles surrounding the vertebrae start to lock up. It makes it even harder for the joint to naturally go back to its ideal position.
A chiropractic adjustment could be a quick and easy resolution and should be considered before going to more intense levels of treatment.
We face a lot of stigma in our society because of the abuse of pain medication we see nowadays. With due cause. Pain medication that is commonly used to treat backpain (such as vicodin, carisoprodol, and oxycotin), are highly addictive and once abused, can leave you in considerably more pain than when you started with. If your doctor agrees that pain medication is the next step, it never hurts to get a second opinion. If you decide to go forward with taking them, always use the prescribed amount.
That being said, pain medication does have its effective place in the treatment of pain. Often the body is in a ‘shocked’ state due to an injury. The muscles are clenched, the nerves are firing, which in turn causes the muscles to clench, etc. Its a cycle of pain. Often what the body needs is a little help in reducing the pain so the natural healing process can begin.
If all else fails, various surgical procedures might be suggested.
At a basic level, procedures such as spinal steroid injections and nerve ablations may be employed. These treatments are usually used to treat with issues due to bulging discs, herniated discs, and degenerative disc disease. When the discs have issues, often the facet joints of the spine become dis-positioned and can affect the nerves around them. Injections and ablations can be used to calm down or temporarily shut down the nerve, so the body can naturally heal without the stress of pain.
When this doesn’t work, doctors may consider doing more advanced treatments such as joint fusion, but this is much further down the road.