Chronic Low Back Pain
Keeping active and using pain medication properly can help with chronic back pain. There are also specific exercise therapies that are recommended.
So, Dr. O’Connor, what treatments are suggested for people with chronic low back pain?
Well, Ty, like acute back pain, at one time bed rest was considered an appropriate treatment for chronic back pain. We now realize that more than a day or two of rest can actually increase back pain. Some movement is necessary to heal properly. Now, it’s okay to limit activity for a short time, but it’s so important to get up and get moving as soon as possible. And, if possible, stay at work and make simple changes in how you do your job.
Good advice. Now, are medications used to relieve the symptoms of chronic low back pain?
Yes, Ty. Over- non-steroidal medications, such as ibuprofen and naprosyn, can offer some relief. Prescription pain relievers, anti-depressants, and anxiety medications have also been shown to help.
Now, it’s also important to note that over-the-counter medications and prescriptions can interact with other medicines, nutritional supplements, and herbal remedies. So be sure to talk with your health care provider or pharmacist about all of the medications that you are currently taking. And, also be sure to take all medications as directed.
So it sounds to me like keeping active and using pain medication properly can certainly help. Now, can you suggest any other strategies to help reduce back pain?
You bet. Research has shown that several alternative therapies such as types of massage, acupuncture and yoga can have a benefit for people experiencing chronic low back pain. Progressive relaxation, which involves the deliberate tensing and relaxation of muscles in order to release muscle tension, has also proven effective for some people.
Well, what about spinal manipulation?
Good question, Ty. Spinal manipulation, when performed by a qualified professional such as a chiropractor or an osteopath, can also offer relief in some cases. Your healthcare provider’s staff can usually provide a list of qualified practitioners in your area.
Now, in a small number of chronic low back pain cases, surgery may be indicated. Your provider can discuss the potential benefits of the surgical options available.
There are also specific exercise therapies that are recommended for people with chronic low back pain. The most important things are to keep a positive attitude, get moving as soon as possible, and get plenty of exercise.
Good advice. We’ll be back after a short break.