Back Pain, What are My Options?
Back pain is one of the most common complaints for which adults seek medical attention. There are many causes of back pain, including simple muscular strain, arthritis, and disc problems. Back pain may also stem from accidents or on-the- job injuries.
Although chronic back pain sufferers frequently assume that their pain must simply be tolerated, this may not necessarily be the case. To the contrary, your physician may effectively treat many forms of back pain, and various forms of therapy are available.
In the case of musculoskeletal strain, rest, physical therapy,trigger point injections and osteopathic manipulative therapy are effective. Furthermore, these types of conservative treatments are often effective for less severe forms of lumbar (low back) disc problems.
In the most severe lumbar disc problems, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove pressure from the spinal nerves. In many cases, however, nerve blocks (such as epidural and caudal blocks) may be effective in treating back and leg pain associated with lumbar disc disease. When the response to conservative therapy has been less than optimal, epidural injections may provide a generally safe, relatively simple method of treatment. In fact, some patients who have required surgery in the past are now being treated with epidural injections.
An epidural block is an injection in the lower back (lumbar) area performed under local anesthesia. The injection generally takes only a few minutes and is done on an outpatient basis. Usually, a series of three blocks are performed over a two to three-week period. The procedure is discussed in detail with the patient and all questions are answered prior to performing the procedure.
Occasionally, patients who have had back surgery may experience recurrent pain. For these patients, there are several types of epidural blocks, including caudal blocks, which may be helpful.
IN THE KNOW
If you are experiencing chronic back or leg pain, you should consult your family physician. He or she can effectively evaluate your pain and determine the best way to treat it. When appropriate, epidural blocks are an important and valuable method for treating low back pain.