Almost every person experiences back pain at least one time during his or her life, and lumbar discomfort is one of the most commonly reported ailments to medical professionals. Many episodes resolve on their own within a few days to a few weeks, and discomfort can usually be relieved by simple, conservative methods. Surgical intervention and lumbar artificial disc replacement are rarely needed in order to alleviate spinal pain.
Ice and Heat
People who strain their lower spines often find relief by using ice and heat applications. Ice alone is recommended for 24 hours after the injury occurs when most of the swelling is active. After the first day, ice and heat can be used intermittently as needed. Ice packs should be covered with a cloth in order to prevent skin damage, and both cold and warm packs should not be left on for more than 10 to 15 minutes at a time, twice per hour.
Many over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen provide relief for back discomfort by both reducing swelling and alleviating pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as naproxen and ibuprofen are also useful. In more severe cases, patients may benefit from prescription narcotic pain pills, oral steroids, or muscle relaxants.
The exercises, massage, and external manipulation that are performed during physical therapy sessions often help people who are struggling with chronic back pain. One of the goals during treatment is to strengthen the structures that support the spinal column. Stronger lumbar muscles help prevent injury to the spine and assist in avoiding sprains and strains due to weakness. Massage is effective because it unwinds tense muscles and allows painful lactic acid to be released. Healthy blood flow is then returned to the area so that the muscles can relax and heal.
Patients who are living with long-term back problems related to degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, herniated discs and other issues with the spinal column often find relief from periodic injections. During treatment, an injectable steroid preparation is administered into a target point along the vertebrae. The medication is directly applied to the affected area and offers relief by reducing swelling.
If you’re living with any kind of back pain, it’s important to speak with a qualified and experienced physician who can help you determine the cause and identify treatment options. For serious back and spine issues, your primary doctor may refer you to a spine surgeon who is knowledgeable about both traditional spine surgeries and non-fusion spinal treatments to ensure you understand all of your possible treatment options.
To schedule a consultation with a trusted spine surgeon in Los Angeles, reach out to The Spine Institute at (310) 828-7757 and start your journey to a pain-free life.