Pain management doctors have confirmed that the main reason people come to see them is due to back pain. It is something that no one seems able to avoid throughout their life and it is responsible for many lost working days. Luckily, there are home remedies and many treatments that can be carried out before there will be the need for surgery. The symptoms of back pain can be:
- Aching muscles
- Pain down the legs
- Sharp pain
- Trouble lifting or bending
- Pain that gets better when lying down.
A lot of the time there will be no need to see the pain management doctors right away as there can be a lot of improvement when self-medicating and taking care of the back. If there is no improvement however, you should arrange to see a doctor. There are specific occurrences when you should see a doctor, and this will include:
- There are problems involving the bowel or bladder
- You develop a fever
- There has been a fall and pain management is required
- There is no improvement even if you have been sensible and taken plenty of rest
- The legs are affected, and the pain goes further down than the knees
- Legs tingle or do not feel as strong as they used to
- You experience sudden, unexplained weight loss.
There are a number of reasons why there could be concern as a result of the back pain and they include you recently having had cancer, using steroids, using drink and drugs to excess or osteoporosis.
Causes of back pain
From time to time you are likely to suffer from back pain that comes and goes and after around 6 weeks has gone for good. This is often because you have done something to cause the problem. When you visit the pain management doctors, it is likely that they will find that one of the following conditions is the cause of the back pain.
- Strain – This can be ligament or muscle and tends to occur when there is either an unusual movement made, or continuous heavy lifting. The worse your physical health is, the more this is likely to happen. The pain tends to manifest itself as debilitating muscle spasms and you will require pain management
- Ruptured discs – Often the spongy material that protects the discs starts to rupture and leans on a nerve. If there is pain it will be possible to treat the disc right away.
- Arthritis – The lower back is regularly affected and if not treated, there is the risk that spinal stenosis will form.
- Skeletal problems –Scoliosis is a common one and here, the spine is curved, and it can be very painful.
The sad fact is that anyone can suffer back pain and the main objective from a visit to pain management doctors will be to work out what to do to make it go away. While children can suffer as well as adults, there are a number of reasons why it has started now. They include:
- Age – It is the case that by the age of 40 you are likely to be suffering some form of back pain and putting off pain management will not help.
- Being inactive –Exercise is very good for back pain as it helps the muscles to be strong. Once they weaken they will not work correctly and can lead to a degree of pain.
- Weight – The heavier you are, the more pressure the back will feel and the quicker the pain will start.
- Illness – Cancer is a major reason for back pain as is arthritis.
- Mistakes –If you do not lift items correctly, there can be back pain and your doctor should tell you how to find out the correct way to lift, and how it will help.
- Depression – This can manifest itself through back pain.
- Smoking – As well as the obvious risks, blood flow is affected and the disks in the back miss out on the nutrients they require.
Preventing back pain
Getting fit is an ideal way to help protect your back and stop back pain becoming the bane of your life, but may not totally prevent the requirement of pain management. Exercise is an ideal way to do this and you should seek help before starting. The exercises you do at first may depend on your weight and you should begin with low impact exercises. These will include swimming and walking.
Ensuring that the back is properly aligned is important and you may need to visit pain management doctors or a back pain doctor NYC to find out what should be done. Losing weight and giving up smoking are bound to be 2 of the main things they tell you. The way you hold yourself can be a cause of back pain, and you will likely be told the best posture that you should have. Keeping the pelvis in a neutral position is a start and to ensure this you need to stand up straight.
When seated, make sure that the chair supports the lower back correctly. Try to move around when you can and if you feel pain starting, use a cushion to keep the spine naturally curved. You could delay the need for pain management if you make substantial changes to the way you live. Learning how to lift correctly will help. If you do have to lift, make sure that the back is not curved and do not twist once lifting. When carrying the item, keep it close to you and it is advisable to get help when carrying anything heavy or with an unusual shape.
If you have back pain you will be told about a wide range of amazing cures including the perfect mattress, specially designed shoes or back supports that can be added to the chair. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that these work for everyone and you need to try different things to see what works for you.
Diagnosing back pain with pain management doctors
A back examination will be needed, and this will let the pain management doctors see how you can move and also ask you to be honest about the level of pain that is being felt. They will be able to find out where the pain is, what you can still bear to do, and once this has happened, the doctor can hopefully rule out dangerous and long lasting reasons for the back pain. To make sure that they are covering every eventuality, it is likely that the doctor will order a number of tests to be carried out including:
- X-rays – Arthritis in particular will be shown up this way, but also it will be seen if the bones are correctly aligned.
- MRI scans – There are things that an x-ray will not pick up, so an MRI scan will be required to see if it is a disk problem, or something to do with the muscles or spinal cord.
- Blood test – This will help show if there is an infection and curing this can help with pain management.
- Bones scan –The doctor will want to be able to rule out tumors and fractures.
- EMG – Electromyography can show if there are herniated discs or if you are suffering from spinal stenosis.
Pain management for treating back pain
If the pain is classed as acute, it is likely that the only intervention needed will be heat pad and non-prescription medicine. A lot of people also think that bed rest will help, but it will not. Where possible, carry on as normal although activity should be light. Anything that hurts should be taken out of the daily routine and if things don’t improve, you may arrange to see the pain management doctors.
- Your pain management doctors could suggest one of a number of types of back pain medication and this will depend on the causes and severity. It could be:
- OTC medication – Ibuprofen is a popular one as is naproxen sodium. Even though they are OTC, you should follow the instructions from your pain management doctors.
- Relaxants -These will be prescribed if the pain is worse than mild, though might make you feel tired.
- Creams – They just need to be applied to the area where there is pain and are an effective form of pain management.
- Opioids – These will not be advised if there is chronic pain. They are a short term solution and need to be monitored carefully.
- Antidepressants –This will be a low dose prescription.
- Injections –This will usually be cortisone.
- Alternative medicine –This could involve a visit to a chiropractor, as they can help with pain management.
- TENS machine –The nerves causing the pain can be treated with electrical pulses, although using this as a form of pain management has shown mixed results.
- Massage and yoga – Message will be especially useful if the pain comes from overuse of the muscles. Yoga will help with manipulating the muscles and helping with posture.
Visiting a pain management doctors
It will help if you are prepared when you arrive as this will allow the doctor to fully understand the issues and help them decide the form your pain management will take. The more information you can give them the better; so, remember to advise them of:
- Anything that is causing you stress
- How long you have had the symptoms as well as what they are
- Any medication or supplements you are currently taking
You can also take this as an opportunity to find out anything you want to know. The pain management doctors will not be offended if you have a list of questions to ask them. They could include: –
- What do you think started the pain?
- What level of tests will I need?
- Will I need medication and what side effects are there?
- How long before the pain stops?
- Can I do anything to stop it happening again?
The pain management doctors are likely to ask you about your lifestyle including questions regarding the type of work you do, if you are aware of how you injured yourself and a variety of questions about the pain such as degree of pain and how long you have had it. They could also ask about depression and this is important as there is a link. Finally, they will ask what you have already tried so that they are not duplicating the treatment.
If you do not have a specialist back pain doctor NYC, you could apply to speak to Dr. Michael Nguyen as he is seen as a specialist in the field. As he was trained at Harvard, he has a great background and is well qualified in interventional pain. There is bound to be a way to deal with the pain even if it means you manage it rather than have it totally cured. With a combination of lifestyle changes, medication and other forms of treatment, a lot of people find that they can carry on with a happy life and not have to change too many of their plans.
If the pain does not stop, there could be more drastic paths followed and this will include surgery. It is natural to feel worried about surgery to the spine as there has been a long standing fear that a slight mistake could leave the patient paralyzed. As back surgery is normally the last option, the doctors who carry it out will be well experienced and there is not going to be a lot that you show them that they have not seen and treated before.
Now more than ever you can be confident that the pain in your back will be improved. Choose the right doctor and follow their advice and you should soon be back on your feet and living the life you were living beforehand.