Typically, back pain is divided into two main categories: chronic and acute. Acute back pain is typically sudden onset in relation to some injury or strain. Chronic back pain is ongoing and persists for longer than three months. For years people where just told to expect back pain as they get older they were offered little in terms of comprehensive treatment aside from pain medications. Thankfully, recent research has revealed some surprising ways to cope with and treat chronic back pain. Some of them are given below.
The idea of voluntarily laying still and letting (paying someone even) stick many thin needles into my skin is not my favorite idea of how to spend an afternoon. However, research supports this treatment based on ancient Chinese medicine as an effective treatment for chronic back pain. As described, the practitioner inserts several very fine needles into the skin at specific points on the body to relieve pain. The vast majority of recipients of this treatment report a reduction in pain shortly after the treatment. Unfortunately, it is not a cure, continued treatments are necessary to continue pain relief.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
No, no one is calling chronic pain sufferers crazy, but it is recognized that chronic pain is very stressful. Stress can lead to more muscle tension which in turn can lead to more pain and the cycle keeps repeating. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a form of talk therapy, attempts to teach the patient how to modify and control their thought processes, reactions and reduce stress, thereby reducing some of the pain. Again, this is not a cure, it is more of a way to deal with the stress of chronic pain.
Massage therapy is particularly helpful if lower back pains are muscular in nature. By using different techniques massage therapists are able to release tension from muscles, improve lymphatic and blood circulation which can reduce pain. It also helps relieve stress and can be very relaxing. All of which are beneficial to chronic pain sufferers. Finding a therapist who works with the chronic pain population is a good idea as they have often received additional training in bodywork that can help reduce pain.
Chiropractors as a whole are usually well versed in chronic back pain. They have often received extensive training regarding the treatments available and frequently work in conjunction with massage therapists so that a patient receives the most benefits possible from a particular therapy. Chiropractic care is considered an alternative treatment that is sometimes scoffed at or discounted entirely by medical doctors. However, a great number of patients have reported significant relief from back pain after chiropractic care.
No, not shock therapy. In this form of electrotherapy low voltage electric stimulation interacts with the nervous system to reduce pain. The most commonly known form of electrotherapy is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). Studies have found that while this treatment is not beneficial to everyone, it does not make matters worse so it may be worth investigating.
Biofeedback trains a person to control a part or function of their body that he or she is not usually in control of. There are several kinds of biofeedback muscle tension, sweating, and temperature can all be measured to help a patient learn how to control their bodies. The newest and most sophisticated type of biofeedback training involves the use of EEG technology for the trainer to see how the brainwaves of the patient are affected by pain. This allows the trainer to coach the patient more effectively.
In this therapy used for pain management a practitioner helps a patient develop a mental image of a relaxing setting. Patients then can go back to that image when they are experiencing pain to help alleviate the body’s natural stress response to pain. This often means the patient perceives less pain than they might otherwise.
Pain management especially for chronic low back pains is not typically limited to one therapy. Often with the input of a specialist new therapies are added and less effective ones abandoned. There are almost always options to try.