Back Pain

What Is Back pain?
Acute or short-term low back pain generally lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Most acute back pain is the result of trauma to the lower back or a disorder such as arthritis. Pain from trauma may be caused by a sports injury, work around the house or in the garden, or a sudden jolt such as a car accident or other stress on spinal bones and tissues. Symptoms of Back Pain may range from muscle ache to shooting or stabbing pain, limited flexibility and range of motion, or an inability to stand straight. Chronic back pain is pain that persists for more than 3 months. It is often progressive and the cause of back pain can be difficult to determine.

Is there any treatment for Back Pain?
Most low back pain can be treated without surgery. Back Pain Treatment involves using over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce discomfort and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation. The goal of back pain treatment is to restore proper function and strength to the back, and prevent recurrence of the injury. Back Pain Medications are often used to treat acute and chronic low back pain. Effective back pain relief may involve a combination of prescription drugs and over-the-counter remedies. Although the use of cold and hot compresses has never been scientifically proven to quickly resolve low back injury, compresses may help reduce pain and inflammation and allow greater mobility for some individuals. Bed rest is recommended for only 1-2 days at most. Individuals should resume activities as soon as possible. Exercise may be the most effective way to speed recovery from low back pain and help strengthen back and abdominal muscles. In the most serious cases, when the back pain condition does not respond to other therapies, surgery may relieve pain caused by back problems or serious musculoskeletal injuries.

What is the prognosis?
Most patients with back pain recover without residual functional loss, but individuals should contact a doctor if there is not a noticeable reduction in pain and inflammation after 72 hours of self-care. Recurring back pain resulting from improper body mechanics or other nontraumatic causes is often preventable. Engaging in exercises that don't jolt or strain the back, maintaining correct posture, and lifting objects properly can help prevent injuries. Many work-related injuries are caused or aggravated by stressors such as heavy lifting, vibration, repetitive motion, and awkward posture. Applying ergonomic principles - designing furniture and tools to protect the body from injury - at home and in the workplace can greatly reduce the risk of back injury and help maintain a healthy back. What research is being done?

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and other institutes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) conduct pain research in laboratories at the NIH and also support pain research through grants to major medical institutions across the country. Currently, researchers are examining the use of different drugs to effectively treat back pain, in particular, chronic pain that has lasted at least 6 months. Other studies are comparing different health care approaches to the management of acute low back pain (standard care versus chiropractic, acupuncture, or massage therapy). These studies are measuring symptom relief, restoration of function, and patient satisfaction. Other research is comparing standard surgical treatments to the most commonly used standard nonsurgical treatments to measure changes in health-related quality of life among patients suffering from spinal stenosis.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strok.

FDA Approves Artificial Disc; Another Alternative to Treat Lower Back Pain
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved an artificial spinal disc for use in treating pain associated with degenerative disc disease (DDD). The device is intended to replace a diseased or damaged intervertebral disc. The device--the first of its kind--is the Charité artificial disc manufactured by DePuy Spine, Inc., of Raynham, Mass. It was approved for use in patients who have DDD at one level in the lumbar spine (from L4-S1) and who have had no relief from low back pain after at least six months of non-surgical treatment. Currently, patients with DDD who get no relief from pain after several weeks of non-invasive therapy may have surgery to implant a variety of devices intended to stabilize the spine while bone grafts fuse together the two vertebrae surrounding the diseased or damaged disc. The artificial disc provides another alternative for these patients.

The Charité artificial disc is made up of a plastic core sandwiched between two metal endplates. The device helps restore the natural distance between the two vertebrae, which can allow movement at the level where it is implanted. However, it may not necessarily allow movement, or may allow too much movement, which can over-stress the device.

The new system is placed in the spine through a small incision just below the belly button. The diseased or damaged disc is removed and the artificial disc is placed in the space. Patients require general anesthesia.

FDA approved the device based on a review of a clinical study of safety and effectiveness conducted by DePuy at 16 medical centers. The objective of the study was to determine whether the Charité artificial disc was any less safe and effective than a commercially available spinal fusion cage using bone graft.
The firm studied the use of the artificial disc in 205 patients who had been diagnosed with DDD and had failed to have their pain relieved after six months of non-surgical therapy and compared them to 99 patients who received the control device. Additional safety information was obtained from another 71 patients when doctors in the study were being trained to use the Charité artificial disc.

The study showed that two years after surgery, patients treated with the artificial disc did no worse than patients treated with intervertebral body fusion. The rates of adverse events from use of the artificial disc were similar to those from treatment with fusion. In addition, the study showed that there was no statistically significant relationship between motion at the level where the disc was implanted and the patient's relief from pain.
FDA is requiring DePuy Spine to conduct a post-approval study to assess the product's long-term safety and effectiveness, including its impact on other discs and on the bony structures on the back of the spine.

A Closer Look at Lower Back Pain Relief
By Eddie Tobey
As many as 8 out of 10 adults will experience back pain in their lifetime, and most of them will feel it in their lower back. When we consider that our lower back bears the brunt of our body weight, and that our back is made up of many vertebrae, a few discs to absorb shock, several major nerves and joints that allow for movement of the spine, stacked on top of each other, this statistic begins to make more sense.
Back pain is either acute, appearing quickly and intensely after an accident or injury and lasting only a short while, or chronic, recurrent pain that can come seemingly out of nowhere. The direct causes of chronic back pain are rarely obvious - simple movements, arthritis, bad posture, obesity, and internal disorders can all cause our backs to ache.

It is important to try to pinpoint the cause so you can get the most appropriate type of treatment for your low back pain. Doctors often recommend medications for lower back pain relief. Both over-the-counter and prescription medicines can ease lower back pain, and Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), which include aspirin and ibuprofen, can significantly reduce inflammation as well as back pain. Acetaminophen, available in many over-the-counter medicines, acts as an analgesic and is often used to treat acute pain. Occasionally doctors prescribe opioids or muscle relaxants for severe pain, although these can be habit-forming. Once common, doctors prescribe back surgery less often nowadays, which usually involves implanting one of several medical devices to stabilize and fuse the spine.

The medical community is now questioning the efficacy of bed rest, once thought to be essential for healing and lower back pain relief. Medical studies seem to prove just the opposite - that exercise is the real healer. Specific exercises strengthen back muscles, increase flexibility and tone, and pump fluid into back discs, alleviating soreness caused by disc dehydration. Getting up and moving or performing physical therapy can relieve back pain.
Many sufferers say they have experienced lower back pain relief through acupuncture, an ancient Chinese treatment in which needles are placed in specific points on the body. Chiropractic, whose practitioners realign the vertebrae of the spine to correct imbalances in the musculoskeletal system, provides relief for others. Whichever type of treatment one chooses, it is important to remember that there are many causes of lower back pain, and no one treatment will work for everyone.
Pain Relief Info provides detailed information on arthritis, back, joint, lower back, natural, chronic, neck, sciatica, knee, fibromyalgia, and muscle pain relief. Pain Relief Info is the sister site of Acid Reflux Web.
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