A recent blog of ours covered the topic of myths around the causes of back pain, particularly posture. However, the misinformation about back pain doesn’t stop with just the causes, there is also evidence that many sufferers are getting the wrong treatment. If you suffer from back pain and have had difficulty solving the issue then it’s useful to know what treatment is necessary in your situation.
Excessive Treatment for Minor Issues
When it comes to prescribing treatment for back pain it’s hugely common for patients to use powerful painkillers to merely mask the pain of the issue rather than solve it. This can involve oral painkillers and injections being used on minor issues potentially leading to a reliance on these drugs. Considering addiction to painkillers is major problem and back pain is highly common there is no doubt of the potential harm this could cause.
In addition to painkillers, surgery can also be recommended when it is not necessary. Although back surgery has its place there does some to be an overexuberance to perform it on issues that can be solved with less invasive means, particularly with simple sprains and weaknesses. This can put the patient at an unnecessary risk in a major area of the body.
The reason for this approach to treatment is not entirely clear, it may be down to patient pressure or GPs being stretched for time and needing to treat quickly with painkillers.
What Treatment is Necessary?
The treatment methods that are being recommended are largely based on lifestyle changes, making them far less invasive, reducing risk of further harm, and contributing to prevention as well as cure.
For example, there is strong evidence to suggest increased physical activity is beneficial to back pain, although it is dependant on the activity. Aggravating movements such as excessive stretching or weight training will cause paint to worsen, but a specialist can tailor a low-impact regime to the patients needs.
Furthermore, back pain sufferers should not fear movement in the belief that their back is fragile. Although the spinal cord is important, the vertebrae surrounding it are designed to be strong enough to protect it. This means that those with back pain should not avoid lifting objects or moving their back, but instead move strategically to minimise agitation and add strength.
Other non-invasive treatments can involve: using orthopaedic inserts in shoes, a change of mattress or bed to improve sleep and help recovery, and even the use or talking therapies for psychological causes.
What if These Treatments Fail?
In the instances where these lifestyle treatments do not make a difference to a patient’s quality of life then it may be necessary to revert to the use of painkillers or surgery. In these more serious situations the back pain may cause additional symptoms such as; digestive issues, numbness in the legs, or loss of lower body strength. If this is the case a scan may be undertaken to rule out a sprain or other underlying causes, but it may not result in a conclusive diagnosis.
This challenge of diagnosing back pain may well be another reason for the use of painkillers to mask issues. However, if you yourself are prescribed painkillers be sure that you have exhausted all other possibilities before starting a course of potentially addictive drugs. Even then the lowest possible dose should be used for the shortest possible time so you can discern when your pain clears up without the numbing influence of medication.