Back Pain Resources
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1. Reduce Inflammation
2. Improve Posture
3. Stretch & Strengthen
4. Reduce Stress
5. Improve Sleep
6. Get Help
7. Self Help
More About Back Pain
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Use Herbs and Enzymes
The first thing I do when pain starts is to make sure I am doing everything I can to reduce inflammation. The worse the inflamation, the greater the pain. If the inflammation is to great, it will be hard to stretch out the muscle and disc tissues to eliminate the pain. It will be harder for a chiropractor to help realign the spine, and harder for the adjustment to stay. I use herbs and enzymes to reduce inflammation pretty successfully. The most effective combination product I have found, is one you can try for free. Here's how to Reduce Inflammation with herbs and enzymes. Below is a more extensive article about back inflammation therapies, including recommendations by a board-certified rheumatologist..
Back Inflammation Therapies
by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR
Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. Find out more about the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit
Most cases of back pain resolve over time, without surgery. The trick is to know what therapies work well for back pain and inflammation. There are a wide variety of non-surgical treatments that are helpful.
The common non-surgical treatment options are physical therapy/exercise, medication, spinal injections, chiropractic, and alternative medicine.
Physical therapy combines passive modalities with therapeutic exercise to improve spine health. Examples of passive modalities that physical therapists administer to patients include:
- Heat/Cold Therapy: Helps to reduce inflammation, muscle spasm, and pain.
- Ultrasound: This device is applied to the skin in a circular movement to transmit sound waves into underlying tissues. The sound waves create a deep heat that improves circulation while helping to relieve inflammation, muscle spasm, and pain.
- Spinal Traction: Gentle force is applied to stretch and mobilize the spine to alleviate back pain and spasm.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS): A small electrical device delivers a painless current through skin patches. This current blocks pain signals to specific nerves. TENS can be used to relieve pain and improve mobility.
- Massage: Therapists knead, rub, and stroke muscles. Various types of massage help to increase circulation and relieve muscle tension, spasms, inflammation, fluid retention, aches, stiffness, and pain.
- Aquatic Therapy: This includes whirlpools, water spas, Roman tubs, common bathtubs, and swimming pools. Water temperature and movement is varied to help soothe and relax muscles.
Examples of therapeutic exercise physical therapists teach patients include:
- Stretching exercises to increase flexibility.
- Strengthening exercises to improve the spine's ability to absorb stress and strain.
- Postural modification to rehabilitate the spine and prevent re-injury.
- Non or low impact aerobic exercise
There is a wide variety of medications to choose from to treat back pain. Some medications are available over-the-counter (OTC) and other types must be prescribed. These include:
- NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs) help to decrease inflammation and promote healing.
- COX-2 Inhibitors (a type of NSAID) may allow patients to take higher doses without the accompanying gastrointestinal side effects from conventional NSAIDs.
- Acetaminophen, an analgesic used exclusively for acute pain. It can be used alone or in combination with NSAIDs.
- Muscle relaxants are often prescribed for severe pain.
- Opioid narcotics are carefully prescribed for back pain due to their addictive nature. These drugs are not a first line of treatment, but may be used in refractory cases.
- For people who have inflammatory forms of arthritis that affect their back such as ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis, anti-TNF drugs such as etanercept (Enbrel), adalimumab (Humira), and infliximab (Remicade) may be required.
Many of these medications, even OTC drugs can have serious side effects. Talk to your physician before taking any medications for back pain.
Spinal injections are often effective in relieving pain. Two common spinal injections are:
- Facet joint injections help to reduce inflammation and pain originating from one or more facet joints. These joints are located at the back of the spine and are important for movement.
- Epidural steroid injections deliver pain relieving medications into the epidural space. The medicine spreads through the space, coating the nerve roots and the outside lining of the facet joints.
Spinal injections should not be used as the only remedy to relieve pain. Instead, spinal injections should be part of a treatment plan that includes other therapies such as physical therapy and therapeutic exercise. Talk to your doctor to see if spinal injections might be right for you.
Chiropractic is a branch of medicine based on the understanding that good health depends, in part, on a healthy spine. Chiropractors also believe one of the main causes of pain and disease is the misalignment of the vertebrae in the spinal column. To address this problem, chiropractors use some of the following techniques to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves, restore joint mobility, and help return the body to health:
- Manual detection (palpation)
- Carefully applied pressure, massage, and manual manipulation of the vertebrae and joints (adjustments)
- Manipulation under anesthesia
- Exercise programs and instruction
- Lifestyle and nutrition counseling
Alternative medicine encompasses a wide variety of treatment options, many of which originated centuries ago. A few of the most common alternative medicine treatments used for back pain include:
Acupuncture: Thin, pre-sterilized, disposable needles are inserted at selected parts of the body to increase blood flow and Qi (the life force that runs through the body). Some patients report that acupuncture has provided relief from back pain and helps to promote healing.
- Herbal medicine: Certain herbs have healing properties. Individual herbs may be combined to create a formula with a specific function (such as pain relief).
- Biofeedback techniques: The practitioner teaches the patient mental and physical exercises that are monitored by sensors applied to specific points on the body. Each sensor is connected to a machine designed to monitor physiological responses.
There are many other types of alternative therapies. If you decide to try one of these, be sure that it is administered by a reputable practitioner. Also, be sure to talk to your physician about any of these therapies before you begin, to make sure they will not interfere with your other treatments.
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