Health Guide
Drug Guide

Back pain

What is it?

Back pain or a low back strain is your back's way of responding to injury or illness. Back pain is pain in the back that usually happens by hurting muscles or ligaments in your back. Everybody reacts to back pain in different ways. What you think is painful may not be painful to someone else. But, pain is whatever you say it is!

Causes:

Back pain may happen when you hurt your back by lifting something or straining hard. You may have hurt your back falling down. Other back problems, like a ruptured (burst) disk or pinched nerve, may be the cause of your back pain. An infection in the spine could be causing you to have back pain. Other causes of back pain are osteoporosis ("brittle bone" disease), tumors, or childbirth. Sometimes it is not known what has caused the problem.

Signs and Symptoms:

Back pain may start suddenly or slowly. It may be felt at the time you hurt your back or it may start hurting hours later. You may have constant pain or pain that comes and goes. Your back may feel stiff. You may have trouble bending over or getting out of bed in the morning. You may have pain in your legs or buttocks (rear end). Backaches tend to come and go. Or, you may have long-term backaches.

Wellness Recommendations:

Medical Care:

Caregivers will plan your treatment based on what is causing your back pain. So, your care may change if your back pain gets worse with time. Any or all of the following may be used to treat your back pain.

Tests: You may need one or more of the following tests to look at your back. These tests can help caregivers find out if other problems are causing your back pain, such as broken bones or cancer. Usually these tests are not done until other treatments have been tried and have not helped your back pain. Ask your caregiver if you want more information about these tests.

Dietary Measures:

Herbs and Supplements:

Before taking any herbs or supplements, ask your caregiver if it is OK. Talk to your caregiver about how much you should take. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the label. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to. The herbs and supplements listed may or may not help treat your condition.

Herbs:

Supplements:

Complementary Therapies:

Other ways of treating your symptoms : Other ways to treat your symptoms are available to you.

Talk to your caregiver if:

SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:

Care Agreement:

You have the right to help plan your care. To help with this plan, you must learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. You can then discuss treatment options with your caregivers. Work with them to decide what care may be used to treat you. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

References:

1. Carpenter DM & Nelson BW: Low back strengthening for the prevention and treatment of low back pain. Med Sci Sports Exerc 1999; 31(1):18-24.

2. Chrubasik S & Eisenberg E: Treatment of rheumatic pain with kampo medicine in Europe. Part 1. Harpagophytum procumbens. Pain Clinic 1999; 11(3):171-178.

3. Elkayam O, Ben Itzhak S, Avrahami E et al: Multidisciplinary approach to chronic back pain: prognostic elements of the outcome. Clin Exp Rheumatol 1996; 14(3):281-288.

4. Ernst E & White AR: Acupuncture for back pain: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Arch Intern Med 1998; 158(20):2235-2241.

5. Ernst E: Massage therapy for low back pain: a systematic review. J Pain Symptom Manage 1999; 17(1):65-69.

6. Ferrell BA, Josephson KR, Pollan AM et al: A randomized trial of walking versus physical methods for chronic pain management. Aging (Milano) 1997; 9(1-2):99-105.

7. Flor H & Birbaumer N: Comparison of the efficacy of electromyographic biofeedback, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and conservative medical interventions in the treatment of chronic musculoskeletal pain. J Consult Clin Psychol 1993; 61(4):653-658.

8. Giles LG & Muller R: Chronic spinal pain syndromes: a clinical pilot trial comparing acupuncture, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, and spinal manipulation. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1999; 22(6):376-381.

9. Grant DJ, Bishop-Miller J, Winchester DM et al: A randomized comparative trial of acupuncture versus transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for chronic back pain in the elderly. Pain 1999; 82(1):9-13.

10. Hambly MF & Mooney V: Effect of smoking and pulsed electromagnetic fields on intradiscal pH in rabbits. Spine 1992; 17(6 suppl):S83-85.

11. McCauley JD, Thelen MH, Frank RG et al: Hypnosis compared to relaxation in the outpatient management of chronic low back pain. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 1983; 64(11):548-552.

12. Nespor K: Psychosomatics of back pain and the use of yoga. Int J Psychosom 1989; 36(1-4):72-78.

13. Rosomoff HL & Rosomoff RS: Comprehensive multidisciplinary pain center approach to the treatment of low back pain. Neurosurg Clin N Am 1991; 2(4):877-890.

14. Zhang WY & Li Wan Po A: The effectiveness of topically applied capsaicin. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 1994; 46(6):517-522.


Last Updated: 9/15/2016

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