Back pain is possibly the most common condition that patients seek help for and it can vary significantly from patient to patient. From an intermittent mildly aching back to acute sharp pains, back pain presents in many different ways and can affect all ages. Some conditions or previous surgery can be the cause of back pain although more commonly back pain is as a result of strain to the muscles and ligaments within the back. Sometimes, back pain can be an indicator of other conditions such as stomach, kidney or gynaecological problems so it is important to seek help from a medical professional who will be able to help determine the cause for you.
Back pain can be seen in the upper, middle or lower back and typically makes patients feel generally stiff and sore. Pain from the lower back can radiate into the buttocks or legs and in the upper back can radiate into the shoulders and arms. Good posture is important for everybody to help to prevent back pain and it is essential that consideration of the back is taken when lifting heavy items.
Often, back pain will pass within a short time and there are some simple methods to help to ease the pain. Applying heat or cold packs to the area is a quick and easy solution for short term relief and this can be as inexpensive as a hot water bottle or a pack of frozen peas wrapped in a cloth. It is important to keep active and to keep your back mobile as inactivity will usually make the pain worse. Simple stretches for the back can be done at home on a daily basis and low impact sports such as walking, swimming, yoga or Pilates are excellent activities for helping to strengthen the back and keep it supple. If pain levels are worse, an over the counter remedy such as ibuprofen can be taken for short periods.
If your back pain is more acute and has not resolved with these simple methods then your consultant may recommend further treatment be undertaken. Often a referral to a physiotherapist will be recommended as they will be able to provide guidance on appropriate exercises that can be done or a chiropractor may be recommended if manual treatment is required.
More invasive treatment techniques can include ultrasound or x-ray guided injections to the affected area of the back which may be the cervical, thoracic or lumbar spine and radiofrequency treatment is another available option.
Surgery to the back is usually only recommended in severe cases where other options have been exhausted and when a specific cause has been identified.
Here at the London Interventional Clinic our consultant, Dr Stephen Humble, regularly treats patients with back pain successfully using a combination of anti-inflammatories, exercises and outpatient procedures. Get in touch with a member of our team who would be happy to discuss your requirements and the options for appointments available to you.