Chronic Lower Back Pain

Millions of people suffer from chronic lower back pain and finding relief can be a lifelong pursuit. The spine runs from the base of the skull to the pelvis and provides support and stability to the entire body. An erect, healthy spine enables people to walk, sit, stand or run without discomfort. However, injury to the lower spine can cause chronic and debilitating pain which requires prolonged treatment. Victims of motor vehicle accidents, falls, or degenerative diseases may spend years trying to get relief from compressed vertebrae or slipped discs. Even busy executives, typists and administrative assistants that spend hours sitting in one position may experience chronic lower back pain. Pregnant women, athletes, and workers who must spend hours standing are all prime sufferers of enduring or frequently recurring spinal discomfort. "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16).

Thousands of over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs exist to combat chronic lower back pain. Doctors may prescribe stronger dosages of ibuprofen, aspirin, or acetaminophen than those that can be purchased over the counter. One visit to a local pharmacy reveals hundreds of types of pain medication -- some more effective than others. Effective management involves finding the right medication or combination of medicines to alleviate suffering or gradually remove the inflammation which causes persistent discomfort. Patients can remain on medications for years, but the side effects are a serious consideration. And painkillers do very little to reverse the underlying cause of lumbar spasms or recurring discomfort. Patients may be concerned about becoming addicted to medications by taking prolonged dosages; and physicians may limit intake over a period of time. Doctors frequently prescribe lower dosages for long term management, along with medications to counteract the adverse affects of prescription drugs. Over a prolonged period of time, some medicines may erode stomach linings or cause damage to vital organs, such as the heart, kidneys or liver.

Two commonly used solutions for chronic lower back pain are surgery or chiropractic care. Persistent distress caused by pinched nerves, slipped discs, or degeneration of spinal nerves or tissue may require surgery. Back surgery may include repairing spinal blockages, rebuilding bones in the spinal column by grafting bone tissue from other parts of the body, or reconnecting discs with metal pins. Surgery may or may not be successful in alleviating discomfort. Over time, spinal surgeries or injections to reduce pain can become ineffective. And because the spine supports the majority of the body's weight, re-injury is highly likely. A sudden twist or turn, motor vehicle accident, or fall can easily re-injure and cause patients to suffer more discomfort. Recovering from surgery is also an arduous process; and patients' ability to recover depends on several factors, including overall health.

Chiropractic care for chronic lower back pain involves gradually manipulating the bones of the spine over a number of weeks until the back is realigned. Chiropractors assert that most people's spines get out of alignment through the natural aging process or after an accident or fall. They maintain that a gradual manipulation to restore alignment helps to alleviate pressure placed on delicate nerves or cartilage, which separates and cushions bones. Some patients report improvement after undergoing weeks of spinal manipulation and therapy, just as patients report a reduction of chronic lower back pain after surgery. The decision to undergo surgery or have chiropractic care is an individual one. Patients who suffer from frequent or recurring spinal discomfort should have a physician or chiropractor examine and x-ray the spine to determine the cause of chronic suffering. The decision for surgery or spinal manipulation will depend on the diagnosis, cost for either procedure, and whether healthcare providers feel that either option will provide prolonged relief.

Certain lifestyle changes may also offer relief for sufferers of chronic lower back pain. Continued discomfort may be caused by poor posture, ill fitting shoes, or an aging mattress. Before committing to surgery or chiropractic care, patients may try improving posture while sitting or standing. Typists or those who sit at a desk all day should try to keep the head aligned with the spine, avoid slouching, and take frequent breaks away from the desk. Balancing a book on top of the head is a good way to practice proper posture. Instead of buying shoes off the rack, chronic sufferers may consider going to a podiatrist to have the feet properly sized and order custom made shoes. Women who wear high heels should be aware that sexy shoes may contribute to back problems. High heels tend to pitch the body forward in an unnatural posture; but switching to flats which offer more support may help alleviate lumbar spasms. Sleeping on an old mattress may also contribute to back pain. Investing in a comfortable mattress with the right firmness may be expensive, but well worth relieving chronic suffering. Placing a pillow under the knees while sleeping on one's back can also relieve spinal pressure.

In the final analysis, chronic lower back pain is subjective. No two cases may be alike; and patients may have to explore different avenues to get prolonged relief. Men and women who take medication for frequent or recurrent discomfort should be aware of the dangers of continued use of prescription drugs and consult with a physician about alternative solutions should drugs prove to be ineffective. Candidates for surgery or chiropractic care should be fully informed about each procedure, recovery rates, and possible side effects or continued care. Making the decision to go under the knife, endure physical therapy, or try alternative non-surgical means of achieving relief from persistent pain in the lower back is a purely personal one. Most chronic suffers are willing to explore all options to get sustained relief from debilitating discomfort.

Cure For Lower Back Pain

A successful cure for lower back pain can vary from person to person depending on the reason and preexisting conditions connected to the problem. Treating an injury is much different than treating a deformed spine. Furthermore, even with the same conditions that cause a person back problems; the same treatment for lower back pain may not work for each person. Find a doctor that is not only knowledgeable, but also willing to explore other options if the first treatment doesn't work. Exercises done at home might be just what someone needs or simply changing the position of a work chair might help too. Exploring all options is important for the most successful, long-lasting outcome.

Medical doctors as well as Chiropractors are professionally trained to treat spinal problems. Treatment for lower back pain might include exercises, dietary changes, or even surgery depending on the situation and the severity of the situation. Some exercises that help include stretching in the morning before any activity, midday cardiovascular, and weight training which will tone the back muscles in order to relieve pain from other spinal areas. Decreasing intake of refined sugars and carbohydrates decrease the instance of pain while not taking away from needed nutritional elements. Diets rich in fresh, organic fruits and vegetables aid in the overall health of the person, which in turn lessens, back pain. Understanding the ingredients in foods consumed will help identify irritants to the body thus providing a possible cure for lower back pain. Preservatives and artificial ingredients create a resisting environment in the body, which causes pain due to chemical fights the body endures. "For this people's heart is waxed gross, and ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with eyes, and hear with ears, and should understand with heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them." (Matthew 13:15)

Most drugs will treat the effect, but not the underlying reason for the pain. Each prescription should be evaluated carefully before consumed to ensure it will not cause worse problems in the future. Likewise, herbal supplements can have very harmful effects when used with certain drugs. Consult a physician about any change in dietary intake as treatment for lower back pain. These problems include diabetes, increased risk for heart disease, and even cancer. With so many new drugs on the market it is hard to find studies about their effects, but the underlying ingredients are all the same. Therefore, an educated decision about treatment for lower back pain can be made based on the information on previous drugs. Though some drugs are taken off the market, almost identical ones remain using loopholes created by the FDA, which doesn't prohibit the overall use of certain components to harmful drugs. A person can educate themselves effectively by reading past medical reports and having a general understanding of related drugs to those banned. Over the counter medications can sometimes be the most harmful and therefore should be avoided at all costs. The question remains: Is it more harmful to sustain the pain or risk taking a drug? The decision is personal and should be discussed with the doctor.

If the problem is diagnosed as being a dietary induced problem such as salt intake, starch or protein consumption may be decreased in order to minimize swelling around the spine creating a cure for lower back pain. An elimination diet can determine problem foods causing spinal problems. Invisible effects of a food allergy may also be a problem. Keep careful record of the foods consumed over a period of time and any adverse effects the body has. This record will help determine any patterns of food related reactions enabling a person to design treatment for lower back pain. Once these problems are identified a dietitian can help determine the best diet to include all the essential vitamins without eating the foods that are bothersome. It doesn't make sense to simply cut a food out without replacing it with something else. Vitamins offer a great alternative to forbidden foods, but even that needs to be researched appropriately to ensure the best quality in the vitamin. Some companies sell low quality vitamins at a high price while other companies offer high quality vitamins for a moderate price. Ask the manager at a health food store to ensure the best purchase. A dietitian can design a plan specific to the needs of the individual to ensure the most quality diet based on certain food restrictions.

The last option is surgery. After trying everything else, a person might consider surgery as a cure for lower back pain. There are many options available depending on the need of the individual. Of course addressing a food allergy will not help a herniated disk, but surgery will. Talk with the doctor about all options and the perfect timing to undergo surgery. Fully understand the healing period as well as the lifestyle changes needed in order to heal correctly. Ask about alternatives to regular procedure such as different anesthetics and less invasive techniques that would allow the patient better and quicker mobility following surgery. Of course the long lasting effect of the surgery is much more important than the minimal annoyance after surgery. Making proper arrangements for care following surgery is crucial for mental and physical healing. If a person feels discouraged due to lack of self-sufficiency, then physical healing may take longer. Line up help and organize all tasks before leaving for surgery. Make sure all responsibilities have been designated to other people during recovery.

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