Most people will endure back pain at least once during their lifetime. Back pain is one of the leading causes of doctor visits here in the United States. Most people find they receive back pain relief by resting, using ice packs, and taking anti-inflammatory medications. However, stubborn back pain may require additional treatment such as facet thermal ablation or discectomy surgery.
Some of the most common symptoms of back pain include aching muscles, shooting pain, burning pain radiating down one leg, difficulty standing, inability to straighten up, and reduced motion of the back. Most back pain gradually begins to subside with rest and over-the-counter medications. However, severe back injuries require treatment recommended by doctors. People who have not received back pain relief within two weeks from injury should consult their doctor for treatment. Some other symptoms that should be evaluated by a doctor include weakness in legs, intense pain, back pain with bowel dysfunction, and back pain associated with pulsing sensations in the abdomen.
Back strain is one of the most common causes of back pain in adults. This type of injury is most commonly associated with heavy lifting or awkward movements. When back strain is the cause of pain, back pain relief is usually achieved within two or three weeks. When back pain is caused by structural problems in the spine, it often requires longer recovery times. Bulging or herniated spinal discs may cause severe back pain. If these spinal discs compress the sciatic nerve, it can result in pain known as sciatica. Arthritic conditions are another common cause of back pain. Osteoarthritis is common in the knees, back, hips, and hands.
Recommended treatments for back pain include ice, rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and gentle yoga stretching exercises. Those who experience ongoing pain may benefit from treatments from a physical therapist, which may consist of heat treatments, ultrasound, exercise, and behavior modification. Injections of steroids such as cortisone may also help reduce back pain.
Example of a yoga stretch to reduce upper back pain:
Those who have back pain caused by structural problems may require laser spine surgery to receive pain relief. People who are diagnosed with herniated spinal discs or bulging spinal discs may undergo a procedure known as a discectomy. During discectomy surgery, all or part of the spinal disc is removed which reduces pressure on the nerves and relieving pain. Some surgeons are using new, less invasive techniques to relieve back pain. Facet thermal ablation primarily relieves pain from deterioration of facet joints in the spine. Thermal ablation uses fiber-optic technology to remove painful portions of the affected joints in the back. This surgical procedure is performed under local anesthetic, instead of full sedation. Since this is a minimally invasive procedure, most patients recover much more quickly than with traditional back surgeries. This type of surgery works well for those suffering from arthritic conditions such as osteoarthritis or degenerative facet joints.
There are a variety of treatments available today to treat back pain. Ultimately, it is up to the patient and his doctor to determine the best course of treatment for each individual.