If you suffer from lower back pain, you are one of the 80% of Americans who experience this issue at some point in their lifetime. Low back pain is most common in adults who are age 30 and older, and it is the most common cause of missed workdays worldwide.
Most low back pain is short-term and resolves on its own with rest and at-home treatments, including ice therapy and over-the-counter pain relievers. However, if these remedies do not work and the pain persists longer than two or three weeks, your back should be evaluated and possibly treated by an orthopedic doctor.
Let’s talk about some of the most popular medical treatments for low back pain, and where you can go in Central Maryland for effective and long-term relief from back pain.
Treatments for Low Back Pain
Treatment options for low back pain are different according to the overall health of the patient, the cause of the condition, and the precise diagnosis.
Some of the most popular medical treatments for low back pain include the following:
Prescription pain medications are often the first choice to relieve low back pain. Your orthopedic physician will likely prescribe muscle relaxants for mild to moderate back pain. Interestingly, antidepressants have also been shown to alleviate low back pain even though depression is not the issue.
To help relieve chronic back pain due to nerve pain (such as sciatica) in the spine, your orthopedic doctor can administer injection-based treatments, including an epidural steroid injection. Epidural steroid injections are often used to treat radiating pain caused by an irritated spinal nerve. In this treatment for back pain, steroids and anesthesia are injected into your epidural space to relieve pain and inflammation – and it lasts for up to three months.
Another injection-based treatment for low back pain is regenerative medicine. This therapy is used to treat a wide range of injuries and conditions by harnessing a large dose of your own cells to heal your body.
The most widely used regenerative therapies include platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy and stem cell therapy. PRP therapy involves the use of platelets from a small blood sample to treat your low back pain. In stem cell therapy, your orthopedic doctor will extract some of your own stem cells and inject them directly into your lower back to help foster healing.
If pain medication doesn’t work, your orthopedist may refer you to a physical therapist (PT) for your low back pain. Your physical therapist will schedule an exercise program over several weeks to relieve your low back pain. This exercise plan will include gentle stretches to promote blood flow to your spine and back muscles.
Your physiotherapy treatment for back pain will usually have three phases:
- Acute phase: During the initial stage, your orthopedic doctor will prescribe a treatment plan which may involve heat therapy, cold therapy, massage, and/or TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation).
- Recovery phase: Your therapist will show you how to perform a few additional activities and exercises as your back gets stronger and more flexible. These exercises will help you regain your low back’s capabilities, and you should enjoy less and less pain as time goes on.
- Maintenance phase: Your therapist will teach you how to maintain your fitness regimen and how to embed these habits into your daily life. The goal will be to keep it as natural for you as possible in order to help you maintain your motivation to continue the back exercises.
Most types of surgery for back pain are now outpatient procedures, which allow you to return home the same day of surgery and enjoy faster recovery. Surgical treatment of low back pain is usually reserved for back pain that is associated with structural problems that don’t respond to other therapies, such as a herniated disc or spinal compression.
Low Back Pain Treatment in Central Maryland
If you’re having low back pain that is not going away with home remedies, look no further than the Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland. Our experienced orthopedic doctors offer a comprehensive individualized treatment plan geared toward helping you get back to the life you love again – with no more low back pain.
To schedule a consultation, contact us today at (410) 644-1880 or (855) 4MD-BONE (463-2663). You can also fill out our online appointment request form. We look forward to helping you get back to your active lifestyle again!