Simple (and Not-So-Simple) Ways to Treat Back Pain
Back pain that hasn’t gone away on its own can be an extremely frustrating and worrying condition. Not only is it constantly interfering with everything you want to get done, but the question of just what is causing the pain (and if it’s something serious) can weigh heavily on your mind.
Any form of back pain that is severe enough to limit your activity, or has lasted for more than a couple of weeks, is something you should not delay seeking treatment for. Our orthopedic experts can not only guide you toward a faster recovery, but likely provide you some well-needed peace of mind as well.
Some sources of back pain may be treatable through simpler, more conservative methods. Pain that is more severe or longer lasting, however, might need more advanced forms of treatment for better results.
We will discuss a range of back pain treatments here today, but please let us stress again: back pain that is severe or persistent should not be addressed on your own. The sooner you see us for an evaluation and treatment plan, the more likely we can bring relief and prevent future complications.
Simple Rest and Activity Modifications
Rest is perhaps the simplest form of treatment for pain, but it can often be overlooked.
If the core problem is a soft tissue injury, avoiding strenuous activity can provide an opportunity for those tissues to fully repair themselves without their work continually being undone.
However, trying to remain completely inactive or resting for too long of a period of time can actually be detrimental to overall recovery. There can also be certain activities that would be considered “resting” that may nevertheless still cause strain on the back, such as sitting for a prolonged period of time.
We can discuss with you ways to modify your activities to still keep you moving while reducing or eliminating sources of strain on the back. This may include:
- Modifying or temporarily eliminating activities that strain the back in specific ways.
- Being mindful of activities that may make pain worse, such as standing or sitting for extended periods of time.
- Defining a period of time to follow protocols of rest and modifications before pursuing additional forms of treatment, if necessary.
Ultimately, the goal is to provide an environment that is as favorable to recovery as possible.
Heat and/or Cold Therapy
Although they may seem like opposites, both heat and cold can have beneficial effects on treating back pain, depending on the condition at hand and the needs of each patient.
Heat can help relax tight muscles and increase blood flow to areas of injury. With more blood comes more of the oxygen, growth factors, and other elements cells need to conduct repairs more efficiently.
Cold, on the other hand, is effective at reducing inflammation. It can be especially effective within the 48 hours following an injury, or after any sort of activity that may leave a site aggravated or swollen.
Depending on the condition that must be addressed, we may recommend a regimen of heat and/or cold therapy. Whichever method is being used, it is always important to protect the skin by wrapping the source of heat or cold you are using and limiting how long and how often you use it.
We have discussed limiting and modifying movement, but we may also recommend moving in ways that can benefit your condition.
We may discuss simple physical therapy plans to:
- Improve flexibility
- Increase range of motion
- Strengthen your core
- Improve poor posture (which may be placing excess stress on your back)
- Reduce pain
Any sort of conditioning or exercise plan for back pain should always be discussed and planned with a medical professional first.
In some cases, we may recommend the use of certain medications to address specific needs. They may include pain-relievers, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxants, among others.
Medications will often be prescribed orally, but may sometimes take the form of injections. A nerve block, for example, can provide some temporary pain relief while also providing us more insight into the true source of the pain.
The use of certain medications must be carefully monitored, and should not be considered a long-term solution for pain relief.
Class IV Laser Therapy
For both acute and chronic forms of pain, as well as nerve pain, our Class IV Laser Therapy can be an effective means of reducing pain and accelerating recovery.
This advanced form of treatment uses light energy to stimulate beneficial responses at the site of pain or injury. It can further increase blood flow and elevate the rate at which cells conduct repairs.
We will be happy to discuss the potential of laser therapy with you and whether it may be an option worth pursuing for your particular situation.
If conservative forms of treatment are simply not providing the results you need, or there are other factors that necessitate it, then surgery may be considered as an option.
The procedure recommended would depend on a multitude of factors, including patient medical history, needs, and symptoms that must be addressed. We will always take the time to fully discuss surgical options with every patient, and to answer any and every question you ask of us. You should never have to decide whether to move forward with surgery until you have all the information you need.
Find the Help You Need for Your Back Pain
Whether some simple rest and stretching is all you need, or something more advanced is necessary, the best thing you can do for persistent back pain is to seek appropriate care. We can help!
Our offices in Carmichael and Roseville are here to help patients get back to the life and activities they love without pain holding them back. Schedule an appointment with us by calling (916) 961-3434 or texting (279) 800-4542.
Looking to schedule an appointment with a physician?
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8am-5pm