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Surgery is Not the Only Option for Treating Lower Back Pain
This entry was posted on September 17, 2014.
Back pain is a common complaint, and 50% of working Americans claim to experience back pain symptoms each year. In fact, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) estimates that 31 million Americans are experiencing lower back pain at any given time.
Dr. Mark Stouffer, spine surgeon with Intermountain Southern Utah Neurosciences Institute, explains in an interview with The Spectrum that, "The more stress you put on your back, the more at risk you are for developing degenerative disk problems."
People who do manual labor are at particular risk for disc problems, but even working a simple desk job can lead to lower back pain.
The human body is designed for standing and walking. When we spend extended period of time (like, say, eight hours) sitting behind a desk in a cheap office chair, it puts excess strain on the lower back. It may seem a stretch to blame desk chairs for back pain, but extended sitting, and especially sitting with bad posture, can cause a great deal of discomfort over time.
Many people assume that surgery is the only option for treating lower back pain, and will therefore avoid consulting a doctor about treatment until the pain becomes unbearable. However, doctors always try to treat the pain with non-surgical options first. Unless there is severe spinal trauma, or serious symptoms of a larger problem, your doctor will not consider surgery a necessary treatment.
The majority of back pain is treated without surgery, and in fact, Stouffer says 85 to 90% of patients improve without surgical intervention. Nonsurgical treatments for lower back pain include:
"Modify your activities until you get back the acute pain," suggests Dr. Stouffer. However, it's best to continue to engage in some sort of aerobic activity, like walking. Once the acute pain has faded, maintaining a regular exercise routine can build stronger back and abdominal muscles, which will help support and take pressure off the spine.
- Over-the-Counter Anti-Inflammatories.
"Ibuprofen or Aleve can help reduce swelling and treat the pain," says Dr. Stouffer. A lot of times, lower back muscles have stretched and tightened due to injury or strain, and that is what is causing the discomfort. An OTC anti-inflammatory can help relax the tightened muscles, and reduce any swelling that may be causing discomfort in the spine.
- Steroid Injection.
Steroid injections are a more serious option to consider if other options have failed. "If pain doesn't subside, steroid injections can help," adds Stouffer.
But the best treatment for lower back pain is naturally to stop it before it starts. Finding the best desk chairs for back pain will help. The best office chairs for lower back pain are ergonomic computer chairs. these chairs are designed for people who spend long hours sitting, and they have the proper support and adjustments to ensure that your body is in a healthy, comfortable position, and much of the strain on your lower back is alleviated.
If you're starting to experience lower back pain in the office, you might consider looking into some new desk chairs for back pain relief.