Understanding Back Pain
Understanding back pain is key to determining treatment, the recovery process and long term affects and prevention from future occurrences.
There are different types of back pain depending on the area of the back affected and if more than one area is suffering from any type of damage. The damage can be as minor as a pinched nerve to a ruptured or herniated disc in any of the three spinal areas. These areas are the cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions. The damage may be to a disc, nerve, nerve root, vertebrae or the base of the spine, known as the sacrum.
The pain in your back can be described as an intense burning pain, localized in one area, or it may be radiating to the outer extremities that is brought on by a certain activity or movement. In addition to the feeling of localized or radiating pain, patients suffering from back pain may also experience numbness, tingling and/or muscle weakness.
Depending on the extent of the damage or condition, some patients may experience chronic back pain. If you do not resolve your back pain and determine the cause and condition, this pain may continue for a prolonged period of time. This could be from months to a lifetime. Often, patients who suffer from chronic back pain elect to have back surgery.
One of the most painful areas of the back that patients suffer from is the lumbar or lower region. The pain has been described by patients as severe and debilitating and it is often those suffering from chronic lumbar back pain that seek back surgery.
Back pain affects millions of people and is not discriminatory in age, gender or health of a person.
Causes of Back Pain
The most common causes of back pain are due to injury or the degenerative process. Less common causes may be muscular or spinal abnormalities.
Recovery From Back Surgery
When patients explore back surgery as a treatment for their condition, it is important to fully understand the condition you are suffering from and to know all procedures that can be performed to determine if this is the right treatment for you.
Once you have determined that back surgery is the treatment that is right for you, inquire about conservative and non-conservative or minimally invasive surgeries. Prepare a list of questions, consult with surgeons and base your decision on the risks, success and recovery from each surgery.
Recovering from back surgery can be a long process, most especially if a patient elects to have conservative back surgery. It can last for months and requires a strict rehabilitation process.
It is important to be in the best physical condition that you can be in to heal faster, rebuild muscles and tissues and return to a normal state of being. The recovery from back surgery is dependent on your strength and ability to heal quickly.
Your doctor will work with you to determine the rehabilitation you need to return to your normal day to day activities. Your doctor will help you set goals and you will know whether you are pushing yourself too hard by the pain and possible delay in recovering from your back surgery.
Before your surgery, it is recommended to plan and prepare your home for post surgery. By doing this, you will avoid tiring yourself and possibly experiencing pain or a set back.
- Have a straight, hard back chair on the level of the house you plan on spending most of your time. Place a small table next to it, as well as everyday things you may need to avoid bending, lifting or twisting and reaching.
- Prepare and freeze meals.
- Place items that are above or below the counters in your kitchen on the counter.
- Make a schedule for family and friends to assist in running errands i.e. groceries, laundry, cleaning.
Returning to Work
For patients who have had to take medical leave, returning to work either during or after recovering from back surgery, it is important to ensure that your office has been assessed and is ergonomically set up. This is most important for patients who have suffered from back pain for work related reasons.
Sitting for a prolonged period of time may cause lower back pain. This is most common in an office environment. Posture is often a problem for most when we are sitting in an office chair for prolonged periods of time. Office chairs are often not ergonomic and in these instances, back pain can worsen existing problems due to an increase in stress placed on the back and neck.