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Back Pain

Back Pain Treatment

What causes back pains?

Your back is made up of a complex structure of bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and, discs that together support your body and help with movement. Damage to any of these parts can lead to back pain. In some cases, a single cause cannot be pinpointed and this is known as ‘non-specific back pain&rsquo

Common causes of back pain include

  • Ligament sprain or muscle / tendon strain – from a fall, awkward lifting, poor posture or movement or a car accident. They are painful and may temporarily limit your movement.
  • Bulging or rupture disc / sciatica – puts more pressure on your nerve, causing back pain and sometimes a sharp pain down your legs, called sciatica.
  • Osteoarthritis / spinal stenosis – lower back and hip joint problems and sometimes a narrowing of the space around your spinal cord, known as spinal stenosis.
  • Abnormal spine curvature – may cause pain if your spine curves in an unusual way such as to the side in scoliosis.
  • Osteoporosis – when your bones become brittle and porous, compression fractures are more likely.

More rare causes of back pain are: a broken spinal bone, an infection, cauda equina syndrome (nerves in your lower back become severely compressed) and, cancer.

What do you do if you have back pain?

Back pain is very common. Acute back pain without a serious cause often improves within four to six weeks. Some back pain can continue long term and, be debilitating and very uncomfortable.

For acute back pain you can try to reduce your pain using over-the-counter pain relief, hot and cold packs, staying active and, doing simple back exercises and stretches.

If your pain is severe, gets worse over time or, it doesn’t start to improve after a few weeks, you should see your doctor or a physiotherapist. They will offer you an assessment and diagnosis of your pain, advice on pain management and recommendations regarding your treatment options.

What does a back-pain treatment involve?

There are a wide range of back pain treatments available. Specific treatment will be recommended based on your back-pain diagnosis. They include physiotherapy, pain management and, spinal surgery.

Back pain aftercare and recovery

Your doctor or physiotherapist will advise you on your aftercare and recovery based on the specific treatment you have had for your back pain.

Patients undergoing physiotherapy treatment will be given detailed information relating to their back pain and their recovery programme.

If you have had a pain injection or radiofrequency denervation you will go home the same day but you should have someone stay with you for 24 hours after the procedure. Depending on which procedure you have you may feel some pain, numbness or, weakness in your back, neck or legs at first.

If you have had spinal surgery we provide post-operative rehabilitation physiotherapy with tailored advice and exercises to help you recover quickly. You will also have a follow up appointment with your surgeon to review your recovery.

How do you prevent back pain?

You can take steps to reduce your risk of getting back pain. These include:

  • Take regular exercise – to help build your strength and control your body weight. You should include specific back exercises and stretches.
  • Lift with your legs - bend your knees and hips, not your back, when you lift objects.
  • Maintain good posture when sitting and standing.
  • Eat a healthy diet – including Vitamin D and calcium for bone health.
  • Don’t sit for too long when driving or at work.
  • Ensure you have a supportive mattress to keep your spine straight and support the weight of your shoulders and buttocks.

Back pain treatment with Clifton Park Hospital

At Clifton Park Hospital we offer convenient appointments with a highly experienced spine specialist to assess your back pain and utilise our onsite diagnostic testing if required. We are proud to be an Orthopaedic Centre of Excellence.

Our spinal consultants offer advice on pain management and will recommend the best treatment option for your needs.

Alternatively, you can refer directly to one of our chartered physiotherapy back specialists who can assess your back pain quickly and offer physiotherapy advice or treatment or, refer you on to an orthopaedic surgeon if required.

Back treatments at Clifton Park Hospital include:

  • Physiotherapy – our chartered physiotherapists offer private patients a physiotherapy back pain assessment. They can also perform biomechanical and occupational injury and ergonomic assessments. Advice and a range of physiotherapy treatments to help manage and alleviate your pain is available including sports massage. Our physiotherapists can also direct you to a spinal consultant if required. They also proactively provide post-operative care and advice to our patients.
  • Pain injections – typically made up of local anaesthetic to block back pain and, steroids to reduce inflammation, they deliver directly to the painful area of your back such as your joints, muscles, ligaments or around your nerves. They can also be used diagnostically to help determine which back structure is pain generating by measuring your pain relief from a pain injection.
  • Radio frequency denervation - radio waves are sent through needles, inserted into your nerves that supply the affected joints, to heat the nerves and stop them sending pain signals.
  • Spinal surgery – may be recommended if: you have a specific medical reason for your back pain such as a slipped disc or sciatica or, other treatments haven't helped.

Spinal surgeries include:

o          Discectomy – removal of a part of your disc that is irritating or pressing against a nerve.

o          Laminectomy – removal of a small section of a vertebra that is pinching your spinal cord or nerve.

o          Spinal fusion – joining of two vertebrae together using a bone graft.

o          Spinal decompression - gives your nerve roots or spinal cord more space and relieves pain caused by their impingement.

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