Living with back discomfort is an unfortunate reality that many people struggle with every day. Many times, the problem resolves on its own within a few weeks, but sometimes, back pain can become a chronic condition. Effective pain management can be accomplished by following a specialized treatment plan.
A full pain management plan consists of series of steps that ensures that all possible treatment options are explored. The following outlines the common pain management plan that may be prescribed to you by a doctor or spine surgeon in Santa Monica, CA.
When a sudden occurrence of lumbar discomfort is caused by a strain or an injury, it is important to rest for a few days to allow time for the nerve roots and damaged tissues to heal. Taking frequent rest periods and lying on a supportive surface, along with avoiding strenuous activity is important. Individuals should slowly return to normal activity within a few days as resting for too long can weaken the support muscles in the back and lead to further injury.
Heat and Ice
Patients can also find relief from discomfort by using either ice or heat applications for approximately 15 minutes, with 40 minute rest intervals. Some people are able to alleviate their pain by alternating the heat and ice applications throughout the day.
Several different types of medications work to control back pain and range from mild, over-the-counter remedies to prescription pain pills. Ibuprofen and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are ideal for taking care of mild to moderate pain resulting from inflammation. People who are experiencing moderate to severe symptoms may need prescription pain relievers, muscle relaxants or oral steroids in order to control their discomfort.
When conservative treatment fails, patients can opt for treatments that target the areas of pain more directly. Some people find relief from periodic injections into the back of either steroids or anesthetic agents. Individuals living with chronic pain may have an opioid infusion pump implanted that delivers medication directly to the spinal cord.
When the above pain management treatments do not work, individually or in combination with one another, spine surgery may be required. There are different types of spine surgery that will be prescribed depending on the cause of your pain and can include discectomy, laminectomy, artificial disc replacement and decompression, to name a few. When pain persists, it is of the utmost importance to work with an experienced spinal surgeon who will be able to pinpoint the exact cause of your pain and provide you with appropriate options for treatment.
If you are living with chronic back pain that makes it difficult to perform activities of daily living and are in need of treatment options, reach out to The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration at 310-828-7757. We offer in-person consultations and one of our board-certified spinal physicians will be more than happy to assist you.