If you already suffer from back pain or other back problems, a lumbar support might be just what you need. However, if problems are serious or persistent, it is always a good idea to seek the advice of a professional as well.
This list includes the more common causes of back pain, but there are many more. Finding the optimal treatment for low back pain usually depends on obtaining a correct clinical diagnosis that identifies the underlying cause of the patient’s symptoms.
Vibe-Fersum K, O’Sullivan P, Skouen JS, Smith A, Kvåle A. Efficacy of classification-based cognitive functional therapy in patients with non-specific chronic low back pain: A randomized controlled trial. Eur J Pain. 2013 Jul;17(6):916–28. PubMed #23208945.
People who can be taught to train themselves to react in a different way to pain may experience less perceived pain. CBT may use relaxation techniques as well as strategies to maintain a positive attitude. Studies have found that patients with CBT tend to become more active and do exercise, resulting in a lower risk of back pain recurrence.
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Jump up ^ Patel ND, Broderick DF, Burns J, et al. ACR Appropriateness Criteria Low Back Pain. Available at https://acsearch.acr.org/docs/69483/Narrative/. American College of Radiology. Accessed Dec 12, 2017.
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However, once the pain has eased or gone it is common to have further bouts (recurrences) of pain from time to time in the future. Also, it is common to have minor pains on and off for quite some time after an initial bad bout of pain. In a small number of cases the pain persists for several months or longer. This is called chronic back pain.
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^ Jump up to: a b Stanton, TR; Latimer, J; Maher, CG; Hancock, MJ (April 2010). How do we define the condition ‘recurrent low back pain’? A systematic review. European Spine Journal. 19 (4): 533–9. doi:10.1007/s00586-009-1214-3. PMC 2899839 . PMID 19921522.
The medication typically recommended first are NSAIDs (though not aspirin) or skeletal muscle relaxants and these are enough for most people. Benefits with NSAIDs; however, is often small. High-quality reviews have found acetaminophen (paracetamol) to be no more effective than placebo at improving pain, quality of life, or function. NSAIDs are more effective for acute episodes than acetaminophen; however, they carry a greater risk of side effects including: kidney failure, stomach ulcers and possibly heart problems. Thus, NSAIDs are a choice to acetaminophen, recommended only when the pain is not handled by the latter. NSAIDs are available in several different classes; there is no evidence to support the use of COX-2 inhibitors over any other class of NSAIDs with respect to benefits. With respect to safety naproxen may be best. Muscle relaxants may be beneficial.
Congenital anomalies of the spine can cause lower back pain as they upset weight distribution and strain tissues, ligaments and nerves. Scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, and lordosis, an abnormally accentuated arch in the lower back, are two examples of skeletal irregularities that may spur discomfort in the lower back.
Bone scans are used to detect and monitor infection, fracture, or disorders in the bone. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream and will collect in the bones, particularly in areas with some abnormality. Scanner-generated images can be used to identify specific areas of irregular bone metabolism or abnormal blood flow, as well as to measure levels of joint disease.
For older people with chronic pain, opioids may be used in those for whom NSAIDs present too great a risk, including those with diabetes, stomach or heart problems. They may also be useful for a select group of people with neuropathic pain.
Continue with normal activities as much as possible. This may not be possible at first if the pain is very bad. However, move around as soon as you are able, and get back into normal activities as soon as you can. As a rule, don’t do anything that causes a lot of pain. However, you will have to accept some discomfort when you are trying to keep active. Setting a new goal each day may be a good idea. For example, walking around the house on one day, a walk to the shops the next, etc.
A doctor will usually want to ask questions about your symptoms and to examine you. Basically, the symptoms are usually as described above, with no other worrying symptoms to suggest anything serious or another cause of back pain (such as the ones listed below). The examination by a doctor will not detect anything to suggest a more serious cause of back pain. Therefore, a doctor can usually be confident from his or her assessment that you have nonspecific back pain.