According to the National Institute of Health, back pain is one of the most common causes for patients to seek medical care in both primary care and emergency settings.
Back pain can significantly impact a person’s quality of life – from physical limitations and sleep disturbances to serious impacts on mental health and emotional well-being. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments available to alleviate discomfort, improve function and restore mobility.
The first step in managing your back pain is to consult with your doctor. After the initial exam, your doctor will develop a personalized treatment plan for you.
Treatments for back pain can include:
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy is the first approach to managing and reducing back pain. Through this therapy, patients are taught various exercises and lifestyle modifications that improve mobility, strengthen the back and enhance coordination among soft tissues that support the spine.
- Medication: Medications for back pain typically include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and muscle relaxants, which can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. NSAIDs, like ibuprofen or naproxen, work by reducing pain and swelling and muscle relaxants can help ease muscle spasms.
- Injections: Injections for back pain are commonly used when other treatments have not provided sufficient relief. These injections may include steroids, which help reduce inflammation around the nerves and discs in the spine. Additionally, nerve block injections can be administered to numb specific nerves and alleviate pain in targeted areas.
- Surgery: Surgery for back pain is typically considered when conservative treatments have failed to provide significant relief. The goal of back surgery is to alleviate pressure on the affected nerves or stabilize the spine, thereby reducing pain and improving overall function.
There are also a variety of lifestyle changes you can make to prevent back pain:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Work on good posture
- Avoid prolonged sitting or inactivity
- Safely lift objects
- Quit smoking