Last year, more than 26 million people in the U.S. suffered from back pain, which is the leading cause of disability among people under age 45. And because so many people suffer from chronic back pain, as many as 19 million patients spend a total of $50 billion on the direct costs of treating the condition every year.
Even though the increasingly office-bound American workforce often suffers from neck pain (as many as 45% according to some estimates), lower back pain is the most common spinal complaint.
What are my treatment options for preventing lower back pain ?
There are three common treatments for lower back pain:
- Exercise and physical therapy
- Medications, including painkillers, muscle relaxants, and anti-depressants
- Minimally invasive spine surgery, or MISS
Exercise and Physical Therapy: Like many medical problems, a healthy lifestyle is often the best prevention. If you already suffer from painful lower back pain that affects your quality of life, then your doctor might recommend a regimen of exercises for your back, such as stretches and low-impact aerobic exercise. Your doctor might also refer you to a physical therapist for ongoing treatment.
Medications: For some, over-the-counter pain meds are often enough. Others may require prescription strength pain killers, muscle relaxants, or oral steroids. Still others take anti-depressants.
Many are surprised to learn that not only does back pain cause depression, but depression may also be one of the leading causes of lower back pain. Plus, both depression and low back pain affect the same receptors in your brain, and certain anti-depressants have proven effective at treating both conditions.
MISS: Although spine surgery may sound intimidating, MISS usually only requires minuscule “keyhole” incisions along your back. Typically, patients go home the same day and recover at home, sometimes within just three days.
Of course, there’s no way to know the best method for preventing lower back pain until you see a doctor. The Web might be useful for finding general background information, but ultimately personal medical problems require professional medical care. See this reference for more.