Back pain is a common complaint among both men and women and a major cause of adult disability. The pain can range from a persistent dull ache to a sudden sharp pain.
Generally, pain in the lower back area is the result of trauma such as falls, injuries, accidents, muscle/ligament strain, skeletal irregularities and bulging/ruptured disc. The major risk factors that increase the risk of the condition include age, excess body weight, limited physical activity, psychological conditions and smoking. Awkward bending, bad posture, carrying heavy objects, poor lifting practices, sitting in the same position for long hours, overuse of muscles/ligaments, heavy or strenuous work and muscle imbalances are common factors can also trigger pain in the lower back. Back pain can also occur due to medical conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, sciatica, spondylitis or spinal stenosis.
Effective Non-invasive Interventions for Low Back Pain
There are multiple noninvasive treatment options for acute and chronic low back pain. These include non-drug, non-invasive pain management techniques, medication and injection. The treatment prescribed will differ depending on factors such as how long the person has suffered pain, the severity and location of pain and individual needs and preferences.
Noninvasive, non-drug pain management techniques
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) – A small, battery-operated device delivers low-voltage electrical current via electrodes placed near the affected area. The electricity stimulates the nerves and sends signals to the brain and reduce the perception of pain.
- Manual techniques – This involves manipulation of affected area by applying force to the joints, muscles, and ligaments. Chiropractic is a popular manual technique for back pain.
- Ice or heat application – Ice packs help to reduce muscle spasm and joint inflammation, where as heat application relaxes the muscles.
- Exercise – This can improve a patient’s strength, mobility and range of motion. It generally includes a unique combination of strengthening, stretching, isometric and aerobic programs to improve posture and flexibility.
- Epidural steroid injections – These injections deliver steroids directly in to the painful area of the lower back in order to reduce inflammation.
- Prolotherapy – This treatment modality (also called regenerative injection therapy) involves injecting a dextrose solution into the ligament and tendon where the bones are attached to relieve pain.
Pain relievers and related drugs are administered from the initial onset of acute pain as well as to treat chronic back pain. These include analgesics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), and muscle relaxants.
Signs and Symptoms of Back Pain
The symptoms associated with this condition include –
- Muscle pain
- Tingling or burning sensations
- Shooting or stabbing aches
- Limited flexibility or range of motion of the back
- Inability to stand up straight and muscle spasms or stiffness
- Pain that radiates down the leg
The intensity of pain may differ from one person to another depending on the type and severity of symptoms.
If you experience any of these symptoms, the ideal option is to get treatment at an established healthcare center. Such centers would have an experienced team comprising pain management physicians, physical therapists, neurologists, and other specialists. These healthcare professionals will work together to evaluate your condition and provide you with an individualized treatment plan to help manage your back pain and improve mobility and function.