During your initial visit, the doctor will assess your medical history and collect more specific information during the exam. In order to better understand your pain symptoms, the physician may gently move your joints and limbs. It is important to answer all the physician’s questions honestly, because your answers help determine a correct diagnosis.
For years, physicians have used cortisone injections, epidural steroid injections, trigger point injections and nerve blocks to relieve pain symptoms. They are often provided in a series of three or four injections spanned over a couple weeks.
In many cases, these injections are intended as a means to an end. The goal is to provide enough pain relief to bridge the patient from being inactive to being able to attend physical therapy, where they can better treat their back problems with special exercises.
Medications can lessen swelling and reduce pain in the back and neck. The type of medication your physician recommends depends on your symptoms and your level of pain.
At home, pain can be relieved with Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID), such as ibuprofen products like Motrin or Advil. Aspirin may also be recommended to ease pain..
Self-care measures can help ease some common pain symptoms. Try these helpers:
Living with pain is a daily challenge. Chronic pain can be both incapacitating and unpredictable and may interfere with your job, your relationships with family and friends, and your overall quality of life. Although new treatments offer more options for pain management, you may still experience disabling pain. You may also occasionally feel anxious or depressed. These options may help you cope:
Nontraditional therapies may be helpful if you have chronic pain:
Time is your most valuable asset. In cases where pain is focused in the low back or when there are warning symptoms, take the time to help yourself. Check out the home therapy section of this site for ways to treat common pain symptoms yourself.
In 1986, the New England Journal of Medicine released that the treatment of most back pain cases should involve no more than two days of rest and inactivity. After that, patients should start moving and exercising to strengthen back muscles and increase flexibility. The rehabilitative process requires a commitment on the part of the patient to work closely with a therapist during the first few weeks to ensure a successful long-term recovery.
While drugs and manipulation may relieve initial pain, neither of these alters the musculature of the back, which is essential for long-term recovery. Only exercise can strengthen the back muscles and make them more flexible and resistant to future strain.
Years ago, the prescription for pain was bed rest. However, we know today that more than a few days of bed rest after an injury can be counterproductive to rehabilitation.
Exercise and movement actually help tissues in the back become stronger, more supportive of the back and resistant to additional injury. Specific exercises can be used to target particular types of back pain. Engaging in activity acts as a lubricant to the back muscles and joints, and it’s as necessary to recovery as oil is to the hinge in a squeaky door.
It is important to work with a therapist to make sure exercises are done properly. Never do any exercise that causes pain to your back.
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