(WTNH)-Almost 50 percent of Americans admit to chronic back pain, problem that can take over your whole life. Dr. Imran Ali, Resident Physician of Internal Medicine at Yale New Haven Health and Bridgeport Hospital, discusses treatment options and how to prevent back pain from starting. He says the key thing to think about whether the back pain is simply muscle strain or could it be something more. By far the most common cause of back pain is arthritic findings of the spine. You also see a lot of herniated discs. The inter vertebral disc is a soft cushioning substance in between our vertebral bones but as we age this cushioning becomes thinner and it slips forward becoming dislodged where then it can put pressure on the nerves nearby. Most common areas of back pain lower back or lumbar region.
The first step for treatment is to use a mild pain reliever such as Tylenol and if you do not have any peptic ulcer disease or kidney disease you can use one of the NSAIDs like Ibuprofen or Napoxyn. Narcotics are not the answer. Studies show that Physical Therapy can be really beneficial and in fact surgery is not always the answer. The big things you have to watch out for is sudden leg weakness or loss of bowel of bladder function, this can be a serious emergency where there may be compression of the spinal cord. The American College of Physicians just this year has issued guidelines on how to treat back pain without heavy medications. These include moist heat, physical therapy and acupuncture.
A lot of back pain can prevented by avoiding injuries that occur from lifting improperly and obesity as the excess weight can cause significant wear and tear on joints all throughout the body. A good way to prevent back pain is to strengthen the para spinal muscles and to have a strong core which you can get by doing abdominal exercise.