Back pain is a pain in any region of the back. It is divided into neck pain(cervical),middle back pain(thoracic),lower back pain(lumbar). Low Back pain is a universal human experience – almost everyone has it at some point. It is significantly more common among adults aged between 35 and 55 years. Pain here can be intense and is one of the top causes of missed work. Surgery is rarely needed in back pain treatment. Fortunately, low back pain often gets better on its own. When it doesn’t, there are effective treatments.
Symptoms That Require Urgent Care
Severe back pain after a fall or injury should be checked out by a healthcare professional. But there are some warning signs that require urgent care include a loss of bowel or bladder control, numbness in the groin area, leg weakness, fever, and pain when coughing or urinating.
Common Causes of Low Back Pain
Herniated or slipped disc: The jelly-like center of a lumbar disc can break through the tough outer layer and irritate a nearby nerve root.
Sciatica – Sharp shooting pain in the back & leg due to herniated disc pressing over the nerve going to the legs. Facet joint dysfunction- facet joints lie behind each disc. These joints can be painful due to inflammation or trauma.
Sacroiliac joint dysfunction- The sacroiliac joint connects our sacrum bone to each side of the pelvis. This joint can become painful if it becomes inflamed or if there is too much or too little motion of the joint.
Arthritis – There is a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord called spinal canal stenosis which can cause back & leg pain.
Structural irregularity – Abnormal curvature in the spine either side to side(scoliosis) or excessive curve in front/ back (kyphosis).
Osteoporosis- is a common cause of vertebral fracture & back pain in old age.
Spondylolisthesis-This condition occurs when one vertebra slips over the adjacent one
Trauma- Acute fractures or dislocations of the spine can lead to pain.
Rare causes: Cancer, infection, cauda equina syndrome.
Common Symptoms of Low Back Pain
Persistent aching or stiffness along the lower spine.
Sharp, localized pain in the lower back — especially after lifting heavy objects
Chronic ache in the lower back, especially after sitting or standing for extended periods
Sciatic pain or sciatica: Problem is in the back, but one feel pain along the course of the nerve (leg,
foot) in addition to back pain.
Inability to stand straight without having pain or muscle spasms in the lower back
Low Back Pain Treatment at GNRC pain clinic
There are many non-surgical treatment options for chronic back pain. These includes
Oral Medicines: Oral medicine consists of neuropathic agents, muscle relaxants, pain relieving medicines.
Interventional techniques: The interventional techniques are non-surgical procedures which are used in cases where other methods have failed and the patient requires rapid recovery. These procedures are minimally invasive, day care procedures, providing rapid recovery and are relatively inexpensive.
Spinal Injections: Epidural Injections are techniques where anti-inflammatory medicines are injected into the opening at the side of the spine where a nerve root exits. These injections reduce pain, tingling, and numbness that occurs due to inflammation, irritation or swelling of nerve roots.
Facet blocks and median branch block: Anti-inflammatory agents are deposited in the small spinal joints and its nerve supply
Radiofrequency ablation This procedure involves deadening of painful nerves via heat administered
through a small needle.
Ozone Discectomy This procedure is used to relieve back pain due to prolapsed disc by injection of Ozone inside the intervertebral disc. Ozone reduces the size of the herniation by dehydration.
Spinal cord stimulation: Spinal cord stimulator is a type of implantable neuromodulation device
used for the treatment of chronic pain following back surgeries.
Life Style Changes Tips
1. Exercise regularly
2. Always stretch before exercise or strenuous activity.
3. Don’t slouch while standing or sitting.
4. Avoid cradling the phone between your neck and shoulder.
5. Sit in a chair with good lumbar support and proper height for the task.
6. Wear comfortable and low heeled shoes
7. Sleep on your side to reduce any curve in your spine. Always sleep on a firm surface
8. Don’t try to lift object too heavy for you.
9. Maintain proper nutrition and diet to reduce and prevent excessive weight.
10. Quit smoking.
Dr. Kalpajit Dutta