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Low Back Pain Causes and Treatment

Health and Wellness, Pain Management

By Dr. Michael W. Brook, Pain Management & Anesthesiology

Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study. It’s one of the most common reasons for missed work and the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office.

Some of the most common causes of low back pain include:

· Lumbar strain – an aching dull pain in the low back that worsens with activity. This condition may occur with minimal trauma. Anti-inflammatory medications and early physical therapy are helpful forms of treatment.

· Spinal stenosis – due to narrowing of the area that the nerves pass through in the low back. Pain generates because of poor blood supply to these nerves and worsens with walking. Pain is relieved with forward movements, such as leaning on a walker or a shopping cart.

· Facet pain – The facet joint is located in the back of the spine and supports about 10% of our body weight. It controls motion, such as forward movement. Overtime, this joint becomes worn out and causes pain. The pain does not spread past the knee.

Interventional Pain Management:

Interventional pain management can relieve the above conditions. Such treatment includes:

· Epidural steroid injections – a safe option that is useful in treating disc-related pain, especially when the nerve root is irritated.

· Facet joint injections – proven pain relief therapy for facet syndrome, pinched nerves and arthritis.

· Medical branch block – blocks the nerves to the joint to eliminate pain for 6-12 hours. If pain is relieved, patients return to have the nerve burned, offering relief for 12 to 18 months. This works for low back and neck pain.

If interventional pain management is not an option, there are ways to alleviate low back pain naturally:

1. Develop core strengthening and regular activity

2. Improve flexibility with yoga and tai chi

3. Avoid using a brace, if possible

4. Seek spinal manipulation by a chiropractor

5. Receive regular massages

6. Use acupuncture

7. Undergo physical rehabilitation

8. Maintain a healthy body weight

9. Use care when lifting

10. Quit smoking for improved blood flow to spine

To learn more about Dr. Michael W. Brook and Adventist Health / Spine and Pain Center, 470 N. Greenfield Ave., Suite 305 in Hanford, please call (559)-537-0327.