Back pain can be debilitating, often causing a person to stop their daily activities. To effectively manage back pain, an effective multidisciplinary approach is necessary in order to rule out other, more serious medical conditions. In addition to standard pain medications, patients should consider strengthening their back muscles through exercise to help prevent further injury.
To effectively manage back pain, a leading cause must be identified and a course of treatment created. A major challenge is recognizing when additional treatment and evaluation are warranted. The patient’s age, medical history, location, and type of pain (radiating or localized), as well as the leading cause of the symptoms (e.g., herniated or degenerated discs) are all important factors in the proper diagnosis of back pain and its management. Medications that are used to manage back pain are designed to block pain signals originating in the brain and spinal cord. While these medications can relieve some of the symptoms of pain, they are not meant to address the underlying cause of back pain, which could be a structural, neurological, or immunological issue. In addition, these drugs are known to carry serious side effects that can further compromise a person’s health and quality of life.
To best manage back pain, it is important for the patient to consult with a doctor who specializes in pain management and has experience treating patients with different types of injuries and illnesses. Because every case is different, a doctor should review the medical history of a patient and their symptoms to determine the most appropriate course of treatment. When a patient does meet with a doctor and feels that the leading cause of their back pain is a mechanical problem, such as spinal stenosis, an MRI may be recommended to find out the underlying causes. A strong combination of medication, physical therapy, chiropractic treatments and conservative treatments, such as ice packs and hot compresses, can successfully treat most cases of back pain, but patients should remember that their doctor is probably the most important factor in determining the proper course of treatment for their health situation.