Lower back pain is considered one of the leading causes of disability worldwide and lead to injury. As a crucial point in the body’s posture, the lower back plays a key role in supporting the human body and facilitating key bodily movements such as twisting. Chronic pain in this region can limit a person’s mobility and contribute to bad posture and a greater potential for debilitating injury.
For a long time, the extensive use of painkilling medication has been the go-to solution for chronic lower back pain that cannot be resolved through surgery. Today, however, a variety of treatments—ranging from physical therapy to platelet-rich plasma injections — are becoming popular alternatives to more invasive or painkiller-fixated treatment methods.
The problem of chronic back pain
The most common causes for lower back pain are tied to muscular injury or inflammation; acute cases usually go away on their own. Even acute back pain, however, can be excruciating and is usually promptly treated through anti-inflammatory painkillers or dealt with through physical therapy and other noninvasive methods.
Chronic back pain, however, is different. The complexity of the neural and musculoskeletal positions in this region make pinpointing the possible underlying causes of chronic pain very difficult. Sometimes, lower back pain is caused by herniated or slipped intravertebral discs. In others, back pain is caused by damage to the nerves, which will register stabbing or prickling pain even without an obvious stimulus.
In addition, many of the more severe cases of chronic pain cannot be resolved even with back surgery.
Long-term pain management sometimes entails the intensive use of painkilling medication, which have many key drawbacks. Chief among these is the body’s gradual ability to develop a tolerance for pain medications and the side effects associated with them. In addition, especially potent pain-killing drugs have the potential to be addictive and thus should only be used sparingly and as a last resort.
Chronic pain management solutions for lower back pain are diverse. Besides pharmacological solutions, a broad assortment of other pain management therapies exists to help manage lower back pain, the effectiveness of which is heavily dependent on the initial diagnosis. Many non-invasive or manipulative methods such as regular exercise, physical therapy, spinal manipulation, and electrotherapy are usually recommended for patients in less severe cases of chronic pain.
Alternatives to an intensive regimen of painkillers include targeted medicine delivery, which provides a more controlled release of painkillers closer to the source of pain. This minimally invasive system can help manage pain effectively while reducing the side effects associated with large doses of potent medication.
Other innovative and minimally invasive therapies like platelet-rich plasma injections offer the prospect of long-term recovery. The therapy has shown promise in pain management across several fields of musculoskeletal medicine, where it has found to foster healing in injured regions of the body. A more recent study suggested that the platelet-rich plasma matrix could be used to treat lower back pain associated with the degeneration of intravertebral discs.
Not every solution for chronic back pain may fit a person’s individual health needs. Individuals should seek the advice of a medical professional when faced with recurrent lower back pain.