That pain in your back has been giving you a hard time for over a month now, and you can no longer pass it off as a normal back pain. Chances are that you are suffering from chronic back pain like so many other Americans. But don’t be disheartened yet. Once you identify the chronic condition of your pain, you can move on to effective means of treating and “living” with that stubborn back pain.
When does your back pain become chronic?
It’s necessary to distinguish between “Acute back pain” and “Chronic back pain” before you move on to deal with it. Short spells of recurrent back pain can be labeled as acute back pain, but when the pain persists for more than a month, it is a case of chronic pain. The accepted definition of a chronic pain is when your pain or discomfort lasts for 3 months or even beyond.
Why is your back susceptible to chronic pain?
Your back, especially your lower back is an intricate interconnected structure with your spine as the pivot. It consists of:
- Sensitive nerve points travelling down to your legs.
- Small and composite joints.
- Spinal discs that make up your spine.
- A web of muscles, tendons and other tissues.
Thus, a single anomaly in any part of your back can cause a chain effect and give rise to back pain.
What are the conditions that can develop into chronic back pain?
There can be several factors that can precipitate chronic back pain. They are:
- Mechanical problems of the spine and the surrounding muscles. These include conditions like herniated disks or scoliosis or even simple muscular tensions.
- Medical conditions such as arthritis or even pregnancy that puts pressure on your spine and lower back.
- Back injuries can be traumatic and sudden and they include accident injuries like spinal fracture or constant straining of one single spot.
- Infections like Osteomyelitis and spinal tumors can also cause chronic back pain. However, such conditions are rare instigators of chronic back pain.
How can you treat Chronic back pain?
The treatments for your chronic back pain depend on the cause and intensity of your pain. You can opt for a number of treatments:
- You can opt for painkillers and over the counter drugs such as NSAIDs, analgesics like ibuprofen, naproxen, or opioids to counter the pain [Source:http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/chronic-pain-11/causes-pain?page=2]. But too many painkillers can result in harmful side effects and cause liver issues, cardiovascular problems and ulcers.
- Muscle relaxants can also be a good option to relieve the pain. But your system can become immune to such drugs because of excessive use.
- Physiotherapy and heat and/or ice therapy can bring considerable relief to most chronic back pain sufferers. Your physical therapist can advice you about the movements that can aggravate your pain, and warn you against such moves and postures.
- In some severe cases of chronic back pain, tractions and realignments become your only option to check the pain.
- Low intensity Exercise like walking, cycling, swimming, or simple stretches can effectively reduce your chronic back pain problem.
- Alternative methods of medication such as acupuncture, meditation and spinal massages by osteopaths and chiropractors can help your back pain treatment to a considerable extent.
- Steroid injections and nerve therapy are also options for severe cases of chronic back pain. Tiny jolts of current inhibit the nerve points that cause chronic back pain.
- Surgery is also an option for the most advanced cases of chronic back pain.
All about coping with your back pain:
Living with a chronic case of back pain is not easy, but it does not mean that you should live like a vegetable! There are strategies you can adopt to cope with your back pain.
- Maintain a pain journal, this will help you note the activities that aggravate or inhibit your pain. This also helps your physiotherapist in treating your problem.
- Eliminate stress; you are already stretched to breaking point because of your pain. Try to relax as much as you can and this will ease the muscle tension and relieve your pain.
- Acceptance will help you cope with your pain. Accept it and work to treat your pain so that you can emerge victorious in your strife to check your chronic back pain.
- Now that you know how you can effectively treat that damned chronic back pain, you have a definite upper hand!