Coping With Chronic Back Pain

Coping With Chronic Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common health problems in the United States.  People of all ages, genders, races, and socio-economic levels can fall victim to debilitating chronic back pain.  In fact, chronic back pain is one of the leading causes of work-loss days.  Chronic back pain can be a difficult condition to treat because there are so many potential causes of the pain.  As a result, it is important to consult a pain specialist so an adequate pain management plan can be put together that incorporates a variety of treatments, not just medicine alone.

Many patients who suffer from back pain believe the answer is prescription narcotics.  However, this is one of the lines of thinking that has led to the current opiate crisis.  Often, while prescription narcotics may reduce back pain in the short term, used long term, they can actually make the pain even worse.  In most cases, chronic back pain occurs in the lower back.  This most often occurs as people age because the cushioned discs in the spine begin to dry out and deteriorate, thus causing pain and added pressure.  Degenerative disc disease, sciatica, and spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spine, tend to be the most common causes of back pain, especially later in life.

While back is a very likely reality for most people, there are steps you can take to prevent or delay the onset of chronic back pain.  Keeping a healthy weight is absolutely vital to good spinal health.  Extra weight puts extra pressure on already degrading discs, which leads to more pain.  In addition, eating healthy and exercising regularly can help keep the spine in tip-top shape.  Choosing jobs that do not require heavy lifting can also help preserve the integrity of the spine.

Once chronic back pain occurs, properly treating the pain is very important.  Beginning treatment as early as possible is also important to avoid letting the pain get out of control.  As stated before, prescription narcotics are rarely the long term answer.  Consulting with a pain specialist can give you a leg up on adequately treating chronic back pain.  Alternative treatments to prescription medications include nerve blocks, epidural steroid injections, and physical therapy to help with range of motion.  In many cases, a combination of various treatments seems to be the best answer for those suffering from chronic back pain.

Chronic back pain can be a very debilitating condition that negatively affects a person’s quality of life.  Living with chronic back pain can lead to work-loss, negative mental health, and a sedentary lifestyle, which leads to other problems.  Working with a pain specialist is key in adequately treating chronic back pain.  Each patient is different, and each case of chronic back pain can result from a different combination of underlying causes.  In addition, the way people experience pain and respond to treatment is always unique.  Working with a specialist who understands you as a patient, and has access to the newest pain management techniques can make all the difference in alleviating your pain and improving your quality of life.