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Tuesday, 01 October 2013 00:00

What You Should Know About Low Back Pain

Facts about chronic low back pain:

  • "Chronic" means the pain has lasted for more than 3 months
  • The longer you've had the pain, the less likely it can be cured or will go away completely
  • Emotional distress and depression can be caused by chronic low back pain and make pain harder to deal with
  • People with chronic low back pain can improve their daily functioning and overall quality of life
  • The most effective course of action is a combination of self-management approaches in addition to care from health care service providers
  • How do I know that my doctor hasn't missed something that can be cured?

    • Family doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, and osteopathic physicians are trained to identify both serious and curable causes of low back pain
    • While it is possible that a curable cause of your low back pain has been overlooked, that is less and less likely as time passes

    Who is qualified to help me?

    • Family doctors, chiropractors, physical therapists, and osteopathic physicians are trained to evaluate and treat people with chronic low back pain

    Do I need X-Rays, an MRI, or laboratory tests?

    • Most people with chronic low back pain do not need these tests
    • Your doctor will order tests only to clarify specific diagnoses

    What should I do?

    • Improve your pain and wellbeing by focusing on improving your day-to-day functioning. Stay active and exercise. Use pain coping skills, relaxation, and stress management to moderate your pain.
    • Get involved in rehabilitation, multidisciplinary pain programs, self-management program and a support group.
    • Consider acupuncture, aqua therapy or a yoga class with an instructor trained to help people with back problems.
    • Take Acetaminophen or anti-inflammatory medication if needed for the pain. Your doctor can prescribe other medications as needed.

    What can I do and what can be done for me?

    • There is no treatment that helps everyone. Most people benefit from using several approaches
    • Research has shown that the following 'self-management' approaches can help:
      • Stay active and exercise
      • Learn and use pain coping skills, relaxation, and stress management
      • Participate in active rehabilitation and multi-disciplinary pain programs
    • The following treatments have been studied and shown to help:
      • Acupuncture
      • Massage may be helpful if combined with activity and exercise therapy
      • A personalized exercise and active rehabilitation program designed for you by a spine care professional
    • These medications have been studied and can be helpful:
      • Acetaminophen (eg. Tylenol) and anti-inflammatory medication called NSAIDs (ibuprofen, eg. Advil or Motrin)
      • Low does tricyclic antidepressants (such as amitriptyline or nortriptyline)
      • Short courses of muscle relaxants for pain flair-ups with muscle spasms
      • Narcotic medications for severe pain under close medical supervision
    Read 4027 times Last modified on Monday, 07 October 2013 21:22

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