Back pain is an ailment that affects 90% of Americans at one time or another in their lives. It is also the largest reason people go to see doctors. Lower back pain and chronic back pain is a main reason for many disabilities in the work force as well as at home. Each year billions of dollars are spent on treatment and procedures for chronic back pain as well as lower back pain. Of that total dollar amount, over half of it was for surgical procedures for chronic back pain.
The back is a constructed part of the body held together by muscles, bones and ligaments. The backbone consists of many vertebrae, which are small little bones. It is these vertebrae that protect your spinal cord. It’s the muscles, bones and ligaments that hold the vertebrae together. We also have discs in between the vertebrae to keep the vertebrae from touching each other when we move. It is also the discs that help us to bend, twist or extend our bodies in different ways. The procedures for chronic back pain may differ depending on what part of the back is injured.
If the back pain is caused by some sort of injury to the muscles, joints or nerves, the procedures for chronic back pain are often injections of local anesthetics such as Marcaine, Licocaine, Novocain or some type of steroid. Although they may help for awhile, these injections can only be given a few times a year because steroid medications carry some risks along with them. Other procedures for chronic back pain are injection of medication into a sore muscle or into the nerve, if this is where the pain is from. Called Nerve blocks, injecting medication into the nerve will not only give immediate pain relief, but it is also sometimes permanent relief or long-term.
There are many procedures for chronic back pain that may be used. Often, a doctor will start with the least costly such as therapy and exercise, followed by shots or prescription drugs. When these don’t help, they move onto larger procedures for chronic back pain such as more serious surgery such as removal of a nerve or a discectomy, if the disc is the problem. In cases where the discs are severely injured, they may perform surgery to repair the discs, which can be very painful during recovery.
Although we tend to take our back for granted, it is one of the most important parts of our body and is responsible for carrying a large part of your body. Parts such as muscles, vertebrae, discs, etc. may seem like very small parts, but have a large important role for us. When we injury one of these small parts, the pain can be excruciating until it turns to chronic back pain. When medical treatment is received shortly after the injury, the procedures for chronic back pain are usually much less severe than if we wait.