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Understanding Back Pain

find a DoctorBack pain is experienced by millions of people annually, and it is caused by a wide range of different reasons. Many people think it is simply caused by old age or a weak body, but, in reality, those are only a fraction of the amount of issues that cause back pain. With some, back problem are hereditary or are born with it. With others, these pains come from activities and strenuous actions that a person chooses to make, ultimately risking their body and having to deal with such issues.

What are the Causes of Back Pain?

There are four main factors that cause severe back pain. Aging plays a massive role in back problems due to the body naturally deteriorating after time. This causes problems, such as Degenerative Disc Disease (DDD), and breaks down cartilage, potentially causing bulging discs and damaged nerves. Aging is part of life and there is no real cure for back pains caused by aging. However, there are therapeutic and non-invasive ways to relieve that pain and feel more comfortable.

Injuries are another reason for back pain. Many times athletes, manual labor workers, and other people who tend to be overly active injure themselves more easily than those who are less active. Injuries to the spine can cause lingering, chronic back pain, and, often times, surgery might be recommended.

Spinal pain is also caused by hereditary or acquired conditions. Some people are born with diseases such as scoliosis or hereditary arthritis. Conversely, some women endure severe back and neck pain during their 9 month pregnancy. Many of these issues cause fractures and sprains in the spinal column that lead to both acute and chronic back and neck pain.

Finally, one of the least causes for back pains is tumors and infections. While tumors and infections can cause back pain, it is very uncommon, but can still affect a person by causing inflammation by “suffocating” or tightening the disc or vertebra, resulting in a restriction of movement.

How is Back Pain Treated?

Back pain treatments differ depending on the location of the focal point of the pain. Massages, heat pads, and nuerostimulation (stimulating the nerves) can release tension and relax muscles, temporarily easing pain. Other treatments include injections of steroids, muscle relaxers, and light exercise. In any case, consult a physician at the start of back pain, as it’s residual effects can be costly, both physically and financially, if it is not immediately taken care of.


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Pain Management

1. What Is Pain Management? Pain management is a quickly growing medical specialty that combines integrative therapies with traditional medical care. Ideally, this allows patients to have the best of both worlds. This type of care is typically customized for each person and should be created by the patient/healthcare provider treatment team. Following are some examples of this approach: Acupuncture: Developed in China, it has been practiced for thousands of years. The most commonly used and most scientifically studied acupuncture technique stimulates points on the body using thin, solid, metallic needles that are manipulated by hand or electrical stimulation. Massage: Used in numerous cultures. Usually, a therapist will press, rub, and otherwise manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues of the body with their hands, fingers and/or forearms to enhance function and promote relaxation. Physical therapy: Techniques include movement, exercises, water therapy, ultrasound, heat, and ice to help improve function, increase flexibility and strength, and decrease pain. Tai chi: This ancient Chinese discipline is sometimes thought of as a combination of yoga and meditation. Tai chi is rooted in self-control, and is a series of slow and soft movements. These exercises are thought to be calming and relaxing, providing both physical and emotional benefits. Medications: Often an important part of managing illness and relieving pain. Two common categories of medicines include: Over-the-counter medications: These are medications that you do not need a prescription from a healthcare provider to purchase. Follow the directions on the label and be sure to tell your loved one’s healthcare provider about them. Prescription medications: These medications require a prescription from a healthcare provider and must be purchased from a pharmacy. When using these medications, follow the directions on the label and call your healthcare provider with any questions. It is helpful to discuss all medications taken with the pharmacist. Social support: Identified as a significant way to help reduce pain. An individual’s support system includes friends, family members, and caregivers, including professionals. 2. Caring for a Person With Pain It is difficult to watch a loved one suffer from pain. Here are some important things to keep in mind: Believe your loved one’s report of pain. Pay attention to the signs that indicate your loved one might be in pain. These may include: Facial expressions, such as grimacing Breathing and sighing heavily Unusual body movements, such as limping Behavioral changes, such as not wanting to eat or sleep Emotional changes, such as crying or irritability Attend visits to the healthcare provider with your loved one. Prepare questions in advance and take notes. Keep a pain diary to use as a starting point for a discussion with the healthcare provider. For pain diaries and other assessment guides, Talk to the insurance company. You will likely need to communicate with your loved one’s insurance company to assist with claims. Before you pick up the phone to speak to a claims representative, it is necessary to gather some information: Your name and relationship to your loved one Your loved one’s birth date Insurance policy number Name and address of the organization that sent the bill Total amount of the bill Diagnosis code on the bill Insurance company’s explanation of benefits Remind and encourage your loved one to follow their treatment plan, such as doing their exercises or taking their pain medication. Take responsibility for all pain medications. There are many responsibilities that come with using medication to treat pain. Some things you should think about are: Keep a record of all medications being taken (prescription and over-the-counter medications). Tell the healthcare provider about all over-the-counter medications or herbal supplements your loved one is taking. If pain disrupts your loved one’s sleep, speak to their healthcare provider about treatment options. Lock up medications to avoid theft. Keep all medications out of the reach of children. Talk to a pharmacist about appropriate disposal after medications are no longer needed. 3. Caring for Yourself Seek support from other family caregivers. There is great strength in knowing you are not alone. Value yourself. When people offer to help, accept the offer and suggest specific things they can do to help you. Watch out for signs of depression in yourself and don’t wait to get professional help if you need it. There is a difference between caring and doing. Be open to technologies and ideas that help your loved one become more independent. Pain management is important for ongoing pain control, especially if you suffer with long-term or chronic pain. After getting a pain assessment,your doctor can prescribe pain medicine, other pain treatments, or psychotherapy to help with pain relief. Source:

Note: The information on this Web site is provided as general health guidelines and may not be applicable to your particular health condition. Your individual health status and any required medical treatments can only be properly addressed by a professional healthcare provider of your choice. Remember: There is no adequate substitution for a personal consultation with your physician. Neither BPF Specialty Hospital, or any of their affiliates, nor any contributors shall have any liability for the content or any errors or omissions in the information provided by this Web site.