The Lowdown on Low Back Pain
(and Other Aches)

 

What is pain management?

Pain management care is the combination of a variety of surgical and non-surgical treatments. It is practiced using both old-fashioned care and modern technology.

An estimated 50 to 75 million Americans are affected by chronic pain. At any given time, another 25 million have acute pain. According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, during a single two-week period, 13% of Americans reported lost productivity due to pain. Headache was the most common problem and low back pain was second.

Pain-management care is provided by spine specialists, physiatrists, and anesthesiologists. Psychologists, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and other alternative providers are often consulted. The prompt treatment of pain decreases the chance that problems will become chronic.

Treatments for pain include medications, pain blocks, therapy, counseling, acupuncture, chiropractic, hypnosis, pain pumps, and pain stimulators. Pain medications are most effective when used in combination. Anti-inflammatory are used when there is evidence of inflammation. Narcotics, muscle relaxants, antidepressants, and some seizure medications can help pain. Regional blocks, where nerves going to a painful area are deadened, may be especially effective.

Surgery is occasionally part of a pain management program. All conservative care should generally be tried before resorting to an operation. Generally, one should get a second opinion before considering any spine surgery.

 

 






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Last modified: 07/27/08