What is the treatment?
The low back or lumbar spine is a remarkably well-engineered structure which connects the bones, nerves, joints and ligaments. All the muscles work together to provide flexibility, strength and support. However, there is a disadvantage to this complex structure. It leaves the lower back susceptible to pain and injury. Medical treatments aim to provide relief by reducing the pain. On the other hand, these treatments are not known to treat the underlying conditions in the human body. The work of a doctor is to typically prescribe treatments along with specific regimens and physical therapy. Lower back pain may occur due to a surgery, sprain or any other cause. To guide the treatment, it is important that there is an accurate diagnosis identifying the underlying cause.
There are many treatment options available depending on an individual’s needs. These include medicinal remedies, administration at home, alternative care, or even surgery. A person’s diagnosis determines certain treatments which are more effective than others. In many cases, combination treatment has proven to be the most beneficial. The common medical treatments associated with lower back pain are muscle relaxants, back braces, narcotic pain medications and epidural steroid injections. In some cases, a surgery is considered if the lower back pain is severe is not getting better even after 6-12 weeks of medications. Surgery is performed only in rare cases and by the patient’s full consent.
How is the treatment done?
Muscle relaxants are known to increase the movement of tense muscles, act as a depressant of the central nervous system and relieving pain from muscle spasms. In case of chronic pain management, these medications don’t provide any relief. Narcotic pain medications are known to treat acute, intense or short-term pain. These are also known as painkillers or opioids. These work by weakening the signals which are sent to the brain in order to alter one’s perception of pain. Owing to the reason that narcotic medications can become addictive in case of long term treatment, it’s treatment is limited to short-term usage only. These may also have quite a lot of side effects. Back braces are yet another method of providing relief and comfort to a patient. It possibly reduces the pain as well. It is like an inelastic corset worn daily along with a few physical therapies. Epidural steroid injection treatment is associated with a steroid which is directly administered into the dural sac’s outer part, which surrounds the spinal cord. Fluoroscopy is a live x-ray which is used to direct the needle to the corrected area. This injection’s aim is to relieve pain temporarily followed by a reducing the inflammation of the compressed nerve root.
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
Pain is itself a symptom that occurs mainly due to injury of bodily tissues. However, some of the symptoms that are associated with pain and might help someone to understand whether or not he/she is eligible for treatment are: depression, flu-like symptoms, loss of appetite, numbness, muscle spasms, inability to concentrate, sleep disturbances and unexpected weight loss. When a person experiences low back pain together with some other symptoms, it may be indicative of a life-threatening ailment. A person should consult a doctor before undergoing any treatment. The doctor will take the final call on whether a person is eligible for treatment or not.
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Pain can be experienced due to a variety of causes. A person can wrongly diagnose any pain arising out of any serious complication to be back pain. Some serious diseases which are commonly undiagnosed can be nerve diseases like diabetic neuropathy, peripheral neuropathy and chronic disorders like fibromyalgia, arthritis, migraine and chronic pain syndromes. Thus it is of paramount significance to visit a doctor and get the proper diagnosis. People suffering from severe diseases or underlying conditions and experiencing pain due to that are not eligible for the treatment.
Are there any side effects?
Some of the side-effects of low back pain relief are: fatigue, soreness, muscle twitching, lightheadedness, emotional distress and bruising. Some medications relieve pain and their side effects include indigestion and other gut problems, headaches, dizziness and drowsiness. Prolonged usage of medications can affect kidneys, liver, heart and blood circulation and can also cause fluid retention. Furthermore, some of the side-effects of analgesics are constipation, drowsiness, skin rashes, dry mouth, upset stomach and ringing in the ears.
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
The recovery period of a patient who has undergone low back surgery depends on several factors, including the condition of the patient before the surgery, the experience and skill of a surgeon and the extensiveness of the surgery. A microdisectomy is considered minimally invasive for a patient with a lumbar herniated disk. In this case the patient usually does not have to stay in the hospital overnight and the recovery period lasts a week. Doctors advise the patient to avoid activities which put exertion on the spinal structures. Physical therapies are typically prescribed to encourage healing and rebuilt the range of motion, flexibility and strength.
How long does it take to recover?
For a soft-tissue injury to heal properly with the help of medications or alternative therapy it may take between 3-6 weeks for full recovery. This is the average reported timing. In case of chronic pain it may also take longer than this period.
What is the price of the treatment in India?
The cost of surgical treatment for low back pain is Rs. 3,25,000 to Rs. 5,20,000. The cost of medication ranges from Rs. 315 to Rs. 500.
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
Analgesics, acupuncture and massage therapy helps to deal with low back pain. But this pain is a sharp and sudden sensation that may occur due to a number of reasons. A person undergoing a surgery will experience pain even if he had had medication and had undergone treatment for it before. An accidental cut on your body or a broken bone can also herald the onset of low back pain. Thus this sensation is never permanently cured.
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
There are several alternative treatment methods for lower back pain. These include releasing your inner endorphins which is the natural hormones created within the body. There are three ways in which you can do so. These ways include meditation, massage therapy and aerobic exercise. Other methods include exercising to the core, getting enough restorative sleep, cold or hot therapy (application of a cloth dipped it cold or hot water to the painful area), and stretching exercises.
Rs. 315 to Rs. 500