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Back Pain

Do you Have Lower Back Pain That Won’t Go Away?

Back pain is one of the most common types of pain. It is especially common in the lower back, which is known as lumbago.

Back pain usually disappears after a few days with the help of painkillers, physical therapy, and rest. But sometimes, back pain won’t go away without medical help. If you are experiencing severe pain that persists for several weeks even after taking medication, you should consider seeking medical help to diagnose and treat your condition.

When to visit your doctor
If the pain doesn’t improve after a few weeks, it radiates to your legs or produces weakness.

Warning signs
If the pain appears after an injury, if it gets worst with time, or you have fever, bowel, or bladder problems.

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What You Should Know About Back Pain

Common causes
Muscle strains, ligament strains, fractures, structural problems such as bulging or ruptured discs, arthritis, sciatica, and abnormal curvature of the spine.

Risk factors for back pain
Sedentary lifestyle, smoking, pregnancy, medical conditions, poor posture, sports injuries, older age, genetics, strenuous physical activities.

Related conditions
Degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, herniated disc, spinal stenosis, lupus, spondylolisthesis, shingles pain, kidney stones, among others.

Treating Chronic Low Back Pain

If it looks like your lower back pain won’t go away, you can find pain relief in our pain treatment centers. One of our specialists will evaluate your situation to accurately diagnose your condition to define the best treatment plan for you. Some therapies they may suggest are radiofrequency ablation (RFA), spinal cord stimulation, and injections.

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Important Facts About Injections

Epidural Spinal Steroid Injections

Alleviate different types of pain, including lower and upper back pain.

Nerve blocks

Used to treat the specific nerve or group of nerves that are causing the pain. Also used as a diagnostic tool.

Facet joint injections

Often the best option for patients who’ve had back pain for a long time, especially after an injury.

FAQ About Back Pain And How To Treat It

What is Lower Back Pain?

Lower back pain, or lumbago, strikes men and women alike, and it’s more common in older people. This type of pain can be dull or sharp.
You may experience acute pain (which lasts for up to 4 weeks), subacute back pain (lasts 4 to 12 weeks), or chronic back pain (persists for three months or more).

What causes back pain?

Back pain can be produced by a number of causes, including:

  • Skeletal abnormalities, like scoliosis, lordosis, or kyphosis.
  • Injuries from playing sports, repetitive movements, accidents, or falls.
  • Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is a condition that occurs when the cartilage that cushions the bones wears down with age.
  • Sciatica, caused by compression of the sciatic nerve in the lower back.
  • Spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spinal canal that presses the spinal cord and nerves.
  • Herniated disks or ruptured disks. This is when the soft tissue inside the discs that connect the vertebrae comes out.
  • Disc degeneration. As people age, their intervertebral discs degenerate. They can dry out, which makes them lose their cushioning properties and the ability to absorb shocks.
  • Infections in the vertebrae, like osteomyelitis.
  • Osteoporosis. This condition weakens the bones, making them easy to break. This can lead to neck pain, back pain, and other symptoms.
  • Spondylosis. With age, the spinal discs thin and the space between the vertebrae narrows. Osteophytes, or little pieces of bone, can develop around the edges of the vertebrae, producing pain.
  • Fibromyalgia, a condition that affects muscles all over the body.
  • Tumors. These rarely appear in the back. Tumors in the back usually originate in another part of the body.
  • Pregnancy. In this case, back pain usually disappears after giving birth.

Are there risk factors for developing back pain?

Back pain can affect anyone. However, there are several risk factors, such as:

  • Age. Lower back pain usually affects older people. Several painful conditions can develop with age, such as osteoporosis, spinal stenosis, and osteoarthritis.
  • Being overweight. Being obese puts significant stress on the back.
  • Fitness level. Weak abdominal muscles provide insufficient support for the spine.
  • Genetics. Some hereditary conditions can lead to lower back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis in which the joints of the spine fuse.
  • Work-related risks, like lifting heavy things. Sitting at a desk all day and poor postures can also cause back pain.
  • Mental health issues. Depression, anxiety, and stress can alter one's perception of pain. Chronic pain can also contribute to mental health problems that can lead to physical problems.
  • Pregnancy. The increased weight gain during pregnancy can lead to lower back pain.

Should I see a doctor about my lower back pain?

Sometimes back pain is mild and/or fades away by itself. But in other cases, you may need some medical help. These are some warning signs that may tell you it’s time to get medical attention:

  • You are in severe pain. Sometimes back pain can be persistent, intense, or both. This can impact your everyday activities and even your sleep.
  • Pain persists for several weeks. Chronic back pain lasts for over 12 weeks. However, you don’t need to wait that long to see a back doctor if your pain is affecting your quality of life.
  • The pain radiates to other parts of your body. If you also feel pain in other areas, such as your legs, or if you feel weakness or tingling, it could be a sign of an underlying health condition.
  • Back pain is accompanied by other symptoms. If you experience fever, bowel, or urinary issues, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.

If you are experiencing any of these, our pain specialists at Premier Pain Doctors can help you by creating a back pain treatment in NJ or PA.

How can I treat chronic back pain?

Treatments for low back pain will vary according to your diagnosis, as well as the severity of the symptoms, your medical history, and other factors. The best pain treatments are often multidisciplinary. Some of the pain therapies a back pain specialist may recommend are:

  • Medication. Traditional pain therapies involve the use of NSAIDs, analgesics, opioids, muscle relaxants, topic pain relievers, and antidepressants.
  • Physical therapy. A spine specialist may create a personalized physical therapy program to strengthen your muscles, improve your flexibility and your posture.
  • Lifestyle changes. A pain specialist may recommend some changes in your diet, reducing inflammatory foods. They may also recommend certain exercises, weight loss, avoid smoking and practice relaxation strategies.
  • Spinal cord stimulation. A non-invasive procedure in which a small device is inserted underneath your skin. The system works by masking pain signals, so you don’t feel any pain.
  • Radiofrequency ablation. This non-surgical procedure consists of using a needle to deliver radio waves directly to the nerves that are causing the pain. This “burns” the nerves, stopping them from sending pain signals to the brain.
  • Injections. There are several types of injections for back pain. A back doctor injects them into the affected area, reducing inflammation and providing temporary pain relief.
  • Surgery. These procedures are usually used when the pain is caused by structural problems, such as spinal stenosis.

To have an effective pain management plan, it’s important to visit a pain specialist who can accurately understand your condition and design a customized treatment plan for you. If you are in NJ or PA, you can find back pain relief at Premier Treatment Centers.

What are spine injections?

Frequently, doctors use spine injections in patients with chronic back pain. With these, back doctors can administer pain medication right to the site of pain.

This procedure can alleviate back pain for weeks, months, or even years. As it is a temporary solution, you may have several injections for long-term pain management, although the exact number of injections varies in each case.

What type of spinal injection is best for me?

There are several types of epidural spinal injections that treat different types of pain:

  • Lumbar epidural steroid injection: used to treat pain in the lumbar region. Can also be used to treat pain in the legs.
  • Lumbar transforaminal epidural steroid injection: helps relieve pain in the lower and upper back. Can also help alleviate sciatica.
  • Caudal epidural steroid injection: used to alleviate pain in the lower back and legs.

Should I get an injection or a nerve block to treat back pain?

A medical professional will determine what’s the best treatment for you. If there’s suspicion of a single nerve root causing the pain, then nerve blocks may be the best choice.

How long does the effect last?

This varies from patient to patient. Depending on the causes of pain and other factors, pain relief can last for several months. In some cases, injections can bring permanent relief.

Do injections have side effects?

The risk of developing serious side effects is minimal. Common side effects include mild pain in the site of the injection, increased blood sugar, insomnia, flushing, nausea, vomiting.

Less common side effects include infection, nerve damage, bleeding, and allergic reactions.

Do injections require preparation?

Usually, injections don’t require much preparation. Follow your doctor's instructions carefully before the procedure.

Are injections painful?

Your pain specialist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area, so you won’t feel any pain. You may feel a little discomfort during and after the procedure.

Am I a good candidate for pain injections?

If you have chronic back pain that doesn’t go away with conventional therapies, you may be a good candidate. However, if you have diabetes, or if you are allergic to certain medications, you should let your pain doctor know before the procedure.