Back pain is something many people experience at one time or another, but what really matters about spine-related discomfort is how you decide to handle it. This was one of the topics covered during a recent survey of 2,000 Americans with back pain issues. Here’s a closer look at the results, which show how the average person manages spine-related pain.
Approximately 60 percent of people with back pain surveyed reported turning to over-the-counter medications to manage their discomfort. More than half the respondents also said they see their primary care physicians or spine specialists when there’s a need to manage their back-related aches and pains.
The survey also found that 54 percent of people with spine pain seek out pain management solutions online. About 45 percent report going to their doctors for prescription pain meds, a step often taken if over-the-counter meds aren’t providing sufficient relief.
About 40 percent of the individuals with back pain questioned said they attempt to manage their pain with “alternative therapies.” Options of this nature include:
• Yoga or Pilates • Massage therapy • Inversion tables
Nearly 40 percent of respondents explore their options with physical therapy. However, there are some people with back pain who prefer to manage their pain with specific alternative treatments other than those mentioned above. The two most common options fitting into this category are chiropractic care—mentioned by 24 percent of the survey takers—and acupuncture, which 17 percent of the respondents said they had tried. Lastly, 11 percent said they had tried surgery to manage their back pain.
More than half the people with back pain surveyed did seek input from their physicians or spine specialists. Even turning to the Internet can be helpful, just as long as it’s not used as a substitute for seeking in-person care.
It’s also encouraging that many spine pain patients see the value in exploring their options with physical therapy. Because physical therapy is so individualized, it’s an option that could improve your quality of life enough to put off or avoid surgery, which brings us to the fact that surgery comes in last among pain management preferences. However, this is just fine, since surgery is meant to be a last resort, and many patients benefit from non-surgical pain management solutions. That being said, it’s also worth noting that with many surgical spine procedures, such as back fusion alternatives, Los Angeles patients can find welcome relief if they’re not getting the desired results from conservative treatments alone.
It’s not so encouraging that many people with back pain rely on over-the-counter meds to manage their discomfort. While over-the-counter painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs can work well for some minor instances of back pain, it’s not recommended that people depend on medication alone to manage long-term or chronic back pain.
Passive treatments such as massage therapy and chiropractic adjustments can also be helpful for minor, mild, or short-term instances of back pain. Even so, active physical therapy tends to produce better results for the following reasons:
• You’ll be stimulating and strengthening spine-supporting muscle groups • Stronger supporting structures can take pressure off your spine • Physical activity boosts circulation and facilitates the body’s natural healing processes
If you have back pain that isn’t going away after a few weeks of self-care efforts, talk to your doctor or a Los Angeles spine surgeon. Once a clear or likely source of your discomfort is identified, you’ll be more likely to respond well to treatment.
The pioneering spine specialists at The Spine Institute have years of experience successfully diagnosing and treating back pain. If you’re experiencing sudden, severe, or lingering pain in your back or neck, call one of our friendly representatives today at 310-828-7757 to schedule a consultation.