Relief is the first thing that comes to mind when you are in extreme pain. While most of the attention of media is centred on cardiovascular diseases which include high blood pressure and heart disease, health concerns involving back pain should also get its share of awareness.
Back pain is a common problem and can significantly and negatively affect your daily life
If you experience too much pain, you are deprived of your time to spend living since you concentrate more on how to alleviate the soreness and discomfort. It’s a fact that cardiovascular disease influences the quantity of life, but we can’t also ignore the fact that musculoskeletal pain has adverse effects on the quality of life.
Back pain can reside at the core of a vicious cycle that can compromise happiness, peace, and overall wellbeing. You do less exercise because of the pain and in effect, it can lead to the cardiovascular diseases that we frequently hear in the news.
What are the most common back pain treatment methods?
To create a master plan for change, you should first learn that your pain is influenced by various physical and environmental factors. And then, you can learn what are the different treatment types to heal back pain, of course, with the assistance of licensed medical professionals.
Physical Therapy and Exercise
To aid patients with back pain, physiotherapy clinics like PhysioActive Singapore use physical therapy as a conventional form of treatment. There are still a few studies supporting the positive effects of exercise towards treating back pain. There are cases that unless appropriate medicine is prescribed to the patient, doing therapy and exercise is prohibited or postponed. Nonetheless, physical therapy can always be seen as a supplementary treatment and an ongoing activity that may lessen the need for expensive medical treatments.
However, depending on the severity of the condition, physical therapy may not be enough or even the right type of treatment to start. Let’s take a look at what other options we have.
Common Medications and painkillers prescribed for back pain
There are different medications available for back pain. Some medications prove to be more effective in acute LBP compared with chronic and subacute back pain. There are also a lot of treatment choices for people with undetermined LBP.
Choosing the type of medication for treatment will depend mostly on pain aetiology, medical comorbidities of the patient, degree of pain, the profile of adverse side-effects, past reaction to a medication, and most importantly, the symptoms of the patient.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID)
Evaluated as first-line of treatment for back pain, NSAIDs uses their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties by selectively inhibiting cyclooxygenase (Cox) enzymes. However, NSAIDs are linked to unfavourable renal and gastrointestinal effects.
As a treatment for back pain, opioid still stays full of controversies. They give a lot of side effects such as somnolence, myoclonus, constipation, nausea, and pruritus. Aside from that, they pose of the high likelihood of addiction, potential abuse, and respiratory depression as one of the strongest classifications of analgesics.
One of the most popular examples of a synthetic opioid is tramadol. It acts by binding to mu-opioid receptors and inadequately impedes the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine. Due to insufficiency of data supporting its effectiveness over NSAIDS and inadequate verification of its usefulness for back pain, it is still not suggested to be included as first-line treatment. Even though tramadol is considered as not an actual opioid, it still has a high possibility for usage abuse.
Although there is still inadequate proof to fully allow the usage of antiepileptic drugs in back pain, one of the antiepileptic drugs considered is gabapentin. In a few experiments, it was effective for chronic back pain. When gabapentin was given in advance in radiculopathy, it showed the possibility to stop central sensitization.
For conditions involving the musculoskeletal system, the muscle relaxants authorized in the US include methocarbamol, cyclobenzaprine, orphenadrine, chlorzoxazone, carisoprodol. Studies indicate that they are more effective in treating acute pain than those which are chronic ones. In addition, compared to placebo treatment to patients with uncertain back pain conditions, muscle relaxants prove to give better effects.
Due to its safety categorization, acetaminophen is considered as a first-line treatment for back pain. It is the first treatment solution suggested by organizations in the US.
Topical Analgesics and Ointments
The advantage of using topical medicines or analgesics is that they do not directly affect the organ systems and eliminates those types of side effects. If they have adverse effects in the body, those may be limited to skin reactions such as allergies and skin irritations. They can be applied in the body separately or along with other types of back pain remedies.
Since systemic glucocorticoids are not proven to be more effective than placebo, in terms of its applications in radiculopathy, glucocorticoids are not suggested by medical professionals. However, glucocorticoids are still advised whenever there are cases of immediate care or emergencies.
The usage of antidepressants is not considered first-line because of inadequate support of their usefulness in treating back pain. There have also been studies linking them with arrhythmias and QRS prolongation. A lot of studies and discussion is still needed to completely state its effects and effectiveness in the treatment of back pain.
The application of steroid injections is also considered in the treatment of back pain. They are also conventional forms and are applied to those who have radicular pain, pain due to disc herniation, diskogenic pain, postlaminectomy syndrome, and spinal stenosis.
Spinal Cord Stimulators
This form of back pain treatment focuses on those patients who experience pain due to refractory neuropathy and failed back syndrome regardless of comprehensive and thorough medical and interventional forms of treatment.
Alternative Medicine & Herbal Medicine
Several types of research indicate that alternative forms of herbal medicine may help in the healing of back pain. Examples of herbal medicine include injections, spinal cord stimulators, acupuncture, cayenne, white willow bark, and devil’s claw.
Acupuncture can help a patient who has a chronic illness where no relief is anticipated. It can offer short-term relief but it essentially does not work on the cause of the pain. Acupuncture serves as a treatment by acting as a local anaesthetic which obstructs the nerve impulses that come from the pain receptors going to the brain.
Before the prescription of proper treatment for the patient, a thorough examination is needed to understand the underlying causes of back pain. Imaging is unessential but it can help if the patient does not respond to the form of treatment or the diagnosis from tests is not quite comprehensible. Still, back pain remains a major source of physical weakness and should be properly medicated.