May 1, 2016
Back Pain Relief Overview
Back pain is a common problem that affects men and women in nearly equal proportions. The incidence of the condition appears to increase with advancing age. In general, the problem may be described as being acute or chronic. The latter term is used if it has lasted for less than two weeks and the former used if the duration is more than two weeks. There are a number of things on back pain relief you need to know if struggling with the problem.
Treatment is dependent on the underlying problem. Most cases of acute pain are due to muscle strain such as that which occurs after involvement in strenuous physical activity. They tend to resolve spontaneously with time or with over the counter analgesic agents. In a few cases, they may fail to resolve to the medication and progress to become chronic.
Osteoarthritis and Back Pain
Among the commonest causes of chronic back ache is a degenerative condition known as osteoarthritis. The condition affects large joints including the ankle joint, the knee joint, the hip joint and intervertebral joints. The problem is often seen from the sixth decade of life. The discomfort has been observed to be aggravated by movements taking place at the affected joints.
While there is no definitive treatment of osteoarthritis (except replacement of affected joints in severe cases), analgesic agents are often used to provide relief. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory analgesic drugs, NSAIDs are, in particular, quite helpful. Examples include diclofenac, naproxen and aspirin among others. Opioids and opioid-like drugs such as tramadol may be prescribed if the symptoms are severe. Exercise is often prescribed alongside the drugs.
Infectious Causes of Back Pain
Infections may cause both acute and chronic pain. Bacterial infections can be easily managed using antibiotics. The antibiotics may, however, not be effective against tuberculosis. A specific set of drugs is available for this. Tuberculosis causes marked deformity and subsequent spine instability due to its destructive effect on bony structures. Corrective surgery such as spinal fusion may be needed in this case to restore normalcy.
Tumors may be involved in one of two ways; as primary bone tumors affecting the spine or as secondary tumors (metastasis). Multiple myeloma is the commonest bone tumor that affects bones primarily. Others include osteogenic sarcoma, giant cell tumors and so on. Secondary tumors that metastasize to the spine and cause pain may originate from the thyroid, breasts, kidneys or the prostate gland. As is the case with other types of cancers, treatment is through chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery depending on the stage.
Physical Therapy for Back Pain Relief
Several other options other than medical treatment and surgery are available. Physical therapy is among the most commonly used alternatives. There are two main types of exercises that can be used: passive and active. Passive exercises are conducted by the therapist while active exercises are done by the patient. To increase the chances of success, the two are often offered concurrently.
Acupressure and Acupuncture for Back Pain
Acupressure and acupuncture are other options that one may consider. Acupuncture is said to work by restoring the normal flow of life energy (also known as qi). This is made possible through the use of fine needles that are inserted into the body in predetermined regions. Acupressure is done similarly but the palm of the hand is used to apply pressure instead of needles.