Are you or someone you know suffering from lower back pain? Is it sometimes hard to move or even stand up straight, and you are considering injections to get some relief? The degree of pain someone is experiencing and whether their case is acute or chronic plays a significant role in what treatment doctors recommend to manage the pain. Keep reading for a quick but thorough breakdown of potential treatments for lower back pain, including different types of injections, as well as more conservative therapies.
What They Treat (Some Examples Of Back Pain)
Also known as sciatica, Radiculopathy is highlighted by nerve pain which commonly starts in the lower back and radiates into one or both legs. It can also manifest as neck pain that shoots into the arms.
A narrowing of the spine, spinal stenosis is caused by something encroaching on the spine, such as a hernia or a bone spur. Due to the effect this has on nerves, people suffering from spinal stenosis can experience pain, tingling, numbness or even muscle weakness. Spinal stenosis can also be caused by the wear and tear of the spine due to osteoarthritis.
Inflammation of tendons (tissue that connects muscle to bone), bursae (tissue that lessens friction between tendons and muscles), and joints in the back can all lead to back pain as well.
Types Of Injections For Back Pain
Someone suffering from chronic back pain, or even severe acute back pain, might consider being treated with pain-relieving injections. Several different types of injections are potentially available, and serious sufferers should contact a pain specialist doctor in their area to discuss if injections are right for them.
Some examples of injections include:
Steroid injections, unlike oral steroids and painkillers, provide pain-relieving medication directed to the site of pain. Depending on the diagnosis of the doctor, these shots might take the form of epidural injections, or could be focused on tendons or joints. These injections are well-known to be effective in short-term pain relief, with reports of relief ranging anywhere from one week to one year. As is possible with many treatments, different bodies respond differently to these Corticosteroid Injections, but doctors generally agree that they can be effective in managing pain, but do not cure the reason for the pain. According to Dr. Robert Shmerling, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, “The shots are almost always a temporary measure. In general, it’s for symptom control, and not a definitive treatment for most conditions.”
In a nerve block injection, a doctor injects the area around the nerve with a numbing medicine, or anesthetic. Lidocaine is the anesthetic most commonly used. After a nerve block injection, you’ll quickly have numbness with near-complete pain relief. Unlike epidural injections, which only really begin to work after 24-28 hours, nerve block injections wear off after several hours.
In addition to providing a damaged nerve extra time to heal, a doctor may choose to begin with nerve block injections to more precisely diagnose the source of the back pain in order to provide more effective follow-up treatments.
Discography, also known as Discogram, is used to providing imaging of the disks of the back in order to provide appropriate subsequent treatment. In this procedure, the back is numbed, and then the disks of the back are injected with an imaging contrast one by one so that the source of the pain can be diagnosed.
Conservative Therapies For Back Pain
Before jumping to injections, you might consider exploring more conservative back treatments if you have not done so yet.
Try using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to manage pain. Ibuprofen (such as Motrin and Advil), Naproxen (such as Aleve) and aspirin all fall into this category of medication, and are readily available over the counter.
Additionally, doctors recommend not giving your back too much rest. Short periods of rest can certainly be beneficial, but providing too much rest can have negative effects in the long term.
How long should one try to manage with these conservative therapies before pursuing a more aggressive therapy like injections? While the back pain usually starts to ease up in six to eight weeks, how manageable that is for the patient depends on the specifics of the case and the patient himself. If you find your case unmanageable, its best to consult with a doctor for guidance.
So, what treatment is best for you or the back pain-sufferer that you know?
Obviously, it all depends on the patient and the specific case. Reach out to your doctor to discuss what available treatments are right for you, and their potential benefits and risks. If you live in New York City or the surrounding area, consider reaching out to the pain relief experts at Downtown Pain Physicians now.
Downtown Pain Physicians 80 Maiden Ln #905A, New York, NY 10038 (212) 404-8070 https://www.downtownpainphysicians.com/