Most simple back pain can improve with self-care and OTC medication while acute or chronic pain that lasts longer requires more specific treatment. Depending upon a patient’s condition we offer various pain management techniques and treatments:
Non-invasive, non-drug pain management
- Exercise:Physical activities such as cardio, yoga, and tai chi helps in strengthening the muscles, and flexibility, and restore normal motion. A doctor will design a patient-centric exercise plan to help them recover quickly.
- Manual Techniques: Such as massaging the joints, muscles, and ligaments to relieve muscle tension and improve pain.
- Behavioural Modification: To optimise a patient’s response to back pain and painful stimuli some techniques are used to reduce the pain. These include
- Relaxation techniques
- Coping techniques
- For symptomatic improvement, learning to control muscle tension, blood pressure, and heart rate
- Superficial Heating Or Cooling Of Skin:This technique involves the use of cold packs and hot packs alternatively on the affected area to relieve lower back pain.
- Electrotherapy:Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) is one of the most commonly used therapies that aim at reducing back pain by using a low-voltage electric stimulation, which interacts with the sensory nervous system. The process yields positive results in managing back pain. However, TENS is not recommended if you are pregnant, have a history of epilepsy or heart disease, or use a pacemaker.
Non-Invasive Pharmacologic Pain Management
If a patient does not experience any relief with non-drug pain management then a doctor may advise taking medication along with physical therapy. These medicines include:
- Over-The-Counter (OTC) Pain Relievers:These are Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which help in relieving pain instantly. OTC medications include ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or naproxen sodium (Aleve)
- Muscle Relaxants
- Topical Pain Relieverssuch as creams, salves or ointments
- Narcotics:Drugs containing opioids such as oxycodone or hydrocodone
- Antidepressants:Tricyclic antidepressants (such as amitriptyline)
- Injections: When OTC medicines don’t work a doctor may inject cortisone — an anti-inflammatory medication inside the patient’s body for relieving the pain and inflammation.
Invasive pain management
If the above-mentioned treatments fail to provide relief over a course of time and unrelenting pain persists then a doctor might recommend surgery. The common surgeries for back pain management include:
For chronic back pain management, the best plan is often a mixed treatment designed by the doctor according to a patient’s condition. Surgery is only an option when a patient has a medical reason for pain such as sciatica or a slipped (prolapsed) disc, and other treatments don’t work.