WHAT IS CHRONIC BACK PAIN?
Chronic back pain is pain that persists for 12 weeks or more, even after receiving treatment for an initial injury or other underlying cause of the pain. About 20 percent of those harmed by acute low back pain suffer even more as it becomes chronic with constant symptoms at one year. Even if pain continues, it doesn’t mean there’s a medically significant cause or one easily identifiable and treatable. Sometimes, pain is an inevitable outcome.
KNOW THE SYMPTOMS
“Back pain can range from a muscle aching to a shooting, burning or stabbing sensation. In addition, the pain may radiate down your leg or worsen with bending, twisting, lifting, standing or walking.”
Many of these symptoms are manageable with diet or lifestyle changes, light exercise, or even surgery or medicine. For someone dealing with chronic back pain, an invasive procedure or a worsening condition may be avoided with ketamine, available from a licensed clinic.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT CAUSES CHRONIC BACK PAIN?
Back pain often happens without a reason that can be identified with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or some other test. Common causes may include:
- Muscle or ligament damage. Heavy lifting or a rapid difficult movement may strain spinal ligaments and back muscles. Poor physical condition is the culprit, as continuous strain on your back can result in painful muscle spasms.
- Ruptured or bulging disks. Disks serve as cushions between the vertebrae in the spine. The soft material within a disk may rupture or bulge and push on a nerve. However, you may have a ruptured or bulging disk absent back pain. Disk disease is another possible cause, sometimes discovered on an unrelated X-ray.
- Occasionally, osteoarthritis in your spine collapses the space around the spinal cord. This is a condition known as spinal stenosis.
- Osteoporosis happens when your spine’s vertebrae develop painful fractures if the bones become brittle and porous.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS?
Many risk factors can lead to back pain becoming chronic:
- Age. If you’re over 30, you’re at greater risk of developing chronic back pain.
- Overall fitness level. If you’re in generally poor physical condition or only indulge in occasional, extreme “weekend warrior”-type exercises, you’re at greater risk of chronic back pain.
- Sudden weight gain and obesity
- Genetics or an inherited condition like ankylosing spondylitis
- Poor mental health or a strenuous job
- Children carrying heavy backpacks
WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR
If you don’t know the reason for the pain and it won’t go away or interferes with daily life, your best option may be to see a doctor about reducing the flare-ups and creating a plan for pain management, preferably without surgery. One newly discovered non-surgical option is a medicine like ketamine.
Diagnosing chronic back pain involves a battery of tests and diagnostic procedures, such as: X-rays, which may show arthritis or broken bones; an MRI to reveal herniated disks or other problems; blood tests; bone scans; and nerve studies. Each of these is tasked with discovering the source of the pain.
NON-SURGICAL TREATMENT FOR CHRONIC BACK PAIN
- Physical therapy or exercises customized to your pain symptoms and condition – stretching and aerobic exercises.
- A rehabilitation psychologist could introduce you to meditation, tai chi, yoga, and other relaxation and cognitive strategies to keep your mind distracted from the pain.
- Talking with a nutritionist about healthy meal plans which avoid processed foods and those high in trans fats or refined sugars – all contribute to weight gain and inflammation, two hallmarks of chronic back pain.
- Lifestyle changes, like giving up or limiting habits and activities which may worsen chronic back pain. Give up nicotine and reduce the frequency of yard work.
WHAT ABOUT KETAMINE?
Ketamine has been used for anesthesia since the 1960s, first in humans, then later in veterinary medicine. Since then, researchers have investigated other medical uses, focusing on its efficacy in treating symptoms of mental illness like depression, chronic back pain, and other conditions which haven’t responded to other therapies.
If you suffer from chronic back pain, ask your doctor about the health risks and benefits of ketamine, and whether it’s a good option to treat your condition.
Chronic back pain affects millions, including men, women, and children. If you experience this kind of discomfort, don’t wait until it takes over your everyday life. Reach out to get help today.