Treating Pain Blog

Doctor Q&A

Q: Now that I am feeling better, how do I manage my pain going forward if it comes back?

Doctor Q&A asking the important question: Will my pain come back again?

Answer: At National Spine and Pain Centers, we see many patients who have recovered from bouts with acute and chronic low back pain only to have the pain recur, often times to a more severe degree. If you’re in this category, we can help.

Low back pain can occur for a multitude of different reasons related to our day-to-day activities or with age… muscle fatigue and strain, bulging discs, fractures, arthritis, and more. An MRI of the low back is very helpful in trying to distinguish the reason for your pain, which, in turn, helps dictate the course of action.

What do I do when I first begin to feel low back pain recurring?

Once someone begins to experience severe low back pain, the most common treatment is medication management which involves taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as Motrin or Aleve, muscle relaxants or low-dose pain medication on a temporary basis. This serves to treat inflammation around the nerve, and within the joint of the spine as well as target muscle strain.

The goal is not to be on anti-inflammatory medication long-term because of possible gastric side effects and problems that can develop at the kidneys. We also do not recommend continuing short-acting pain medication long-term if at all possible. In many cases, this is sufficient to resolve the pain.

What if the pain continues for a few weeks?

If the pain continues, physical therapy can be very helpful in optimizing stretching, traction and strengthening of low back muscles and core muscles that will prevent re-injury. Chiropractic care has been very helpful in maintaining alignment.

Also, trying to optimize your body mechanics, such as bending with your legs and not with your back, are very helpful in terms of your day-to-day activities. Utilizing a lumbar support brace on a daily basis with activities that involve repetitive bending or lifting are significantly helpful.

But what if that is simply not enough?

If the pain persists beyond this, it is highly recommended that you see your pain management specialist:

  • At that point, inflammation has persisted to the point that where it may be necessary to deposit some anti-inflammatory medication, cortisone, directly over the involved nerve roots to alleviate the inflammation
  • Note that this can be done very easily under x-ray guidance and it’s a very quick and safe procedure
  • Your pain management doctor can also directly target the spine joints to provide relief secondary to joint pain for 6 months to a year or longer
  • These are just some of the non-surgical treatments options available but as long your injections can be appropriately spaced, these can be a mechanism of maintaining your pain control long-term

Our doctors at National Spine & Pain Centers offer a comprehensive approach to pain management, combining both conservative measures and sophisticated techniques to give you lasting relief.

Reach out to us for an appointment if you, your friend or family member is experiencing low back pain. We have some of the very best board-certified pain specialists in over 30 locations for you to choose from.