Among all the kinds of chronic pain, chronic back pain is one of the most common types of chronic pain people suffer from. In the United States, the lifetime prevalence of back pain is around 80% with the highest prevalence in the age group of 45 to 64.
If you are suffering from back pain, then you are not alone. Chronic pain is the pain that persists after an injury or surgery, and the source is hard to identify. Pain due to issues with the spine such as the lower, middle or upper back are common and can disturb your life to a great extent. Degenerative disc disease, injury to back, obesity, arthritis and muscle strain can all lead to back pain.
One of the most common reasons due to which adults seek medical care is chronic pain. It has been linked to limitations in mobility and daily activities, depression and anxiety, dependence on strong pain-killers like opioids and reduced quality of life.
Pain Treatment Options
Although managing and treating chronic back pain can be a challenge, there are many treatment options available for you. The Pain Center provides newer and different kinds of treatment options under the care of a pain specialist for each specific case of chronic back pain including:
Nerve block aims to relieve chronic pain by blocking the path of pain through nerves. It is an injection of an anesthetic, steroid and/ or anti-inflammatory drug targeted toward a particular nerve or group of nerves. Injection aims to “turn off” the pain signal coming from a specific area or to reduce inflammation in that area. Nerve block injection also allows a damaged nerve time to get healed from a state of constant irritation. Your pain specialist may recommend a nerve block after other nonsurgical methods like medicines and physical therapy have not given you relief from back pain.
Epidural Steroid Injection
It is an injection of medication into the space around the spinal cord or epidural space. Epidural steroid injections are commonly used to treat lower back pain and sciatica caused due to inflammation. However, relief achieved with these injections tends to be temporary or short-term. Steroids, anti-inflammatory or anaesthetics are usually used in this procedure.
Spinal Cord Stimulation
A small device is surgically implanted near the spine, which generates mild electrical impulses. These impulses interfere with pain messages carried by nerves. Spinal cord stimulation blocks or modifies the nerve activity to minimize the pain sensation reaching the brain.
In this procedure, electric current is used to heat up and destroy a small area of nerve tissue to stop the pain signals. It may provide lasting relief for people with chronic pain in the lower back or neck. The relief from pain from radiofrequency ablation may last for 6-12 months. For some patients, it can give a longer relief.
Implantable Opioid Infusion Pumps
These are small devices that are surgically implanted near the spinal cord. Implantable Opiod Infusion Pumps deliver opioid-based drugs directly to the spinal cord.
Chronic back pain needs an exhaustive evaluation to determine the underlying cause and understand how to best manage it. Pain specialists are experts with a high level of training and education in evaluating, diagnosing and treating different types of pain and its underlying cause. If you have been suffering from back pain and you are looking for an expert to give you a permanent solution, then make an appointment with Dr. Sandra Thompson of The Pain Center, who has 28+ years of experience and is an expert in pain management.