Back pain is one of the most common medical conditions, affecting 8 out of 10 people at least once in their lives. The pain can be dull and insistent or sharp and sudden. It can come on suddenly and be gone within a few days in acute conditions; or be chronic, which means that it lasts for more than three months.
Most back pain will go away on its own even it takes awhile. In other cases pain relievers or rest may help to make you comfortable. The particular treatment you get for your back pain will depend on the type of pain and the underlying cause.
What Causes Back Pain?
Due to the complexity of the back with its interconnections of bones, nerves and muscles, it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the source or underlying cause of pain. Back pain can result from a variety of conditions which come on suddenly or develop over time. In some instances, there is no underlying cause at all.
On the other hand, pain in the back can be the result of injuries, sprains, strains, pinched nerves or everyday activities at home or work. Some common causes include:
Overuse of back muscles during work or sports
Handling heavy objects
Awkwardly twisting or bending
Remaining too long in a hunched position without taking a break
Driving for long periods in a hunched position
There are some conditions that place you at risk of experiencing back pain:
Using bone depleting medication such as corticosteroids
What Treatment Plans Help with Back Pain?
The types of treatment for back pain are determined by how long you’ve been experiencing the pain, the severity of the pain and individual preferences. Short term back pain is generally treated with the over-the-counter pain relievers such as Paracetamol, ibuprofen, codeine. Muscle spasms in your back may be treated with muscle relaxants like diazepam.
Some people find home treatments effective in easing pain. These include having a hot bath, using hot water bottles or ice packs. You may opt to change your sleeping position, trying to relax, exercising and staying active.
How Is Back Pain Best Treated?
There is no one recommended treatment to ease back pain. The most effective remedies or means to make you comfortable will likely depend on whether or not one treatment fails. According to the National Health Service in the UK, while the first thing to try for back pain is pain relieving medication, home remedies and exercise. If these do not prove to be effective then the following treatments may be tried:
Medial Branch Blocks
Trigger Point Injections
What is the Prognosis of Back Pain?
In most cases of back pain the condition is relatively mild and non-disabling. Only a small portion of sufferers end up with chronic pain. The outcome of treatment is highly dependent on the particular individual’s health and lifestyle. Recovery can be complete within a few weeks. However, it is not uncommon for chronic back pain to be recurring.
Over 90% of individuals end up with successful pain relief and the ability to avoid surgery while getting back to work and playing with one’s kids!
“Back Pain.” U.S National Library of Medicine. N.p., n.d. Web. <https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/backpain.html>.
“Back Pain – Causes .” Back Pain – Causes. National Health Service UK, n.d. Web. 25 Sept. 2014. <http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Back-pain/Pages/Causes.aspx>.
“What is the Prognosis of Back Pain?” Clinical Rheumatology
Best practice and Research,Volume 24, Issue 2, Pages 167–179, April 2010