Chronic back pain or neck pain can make life unbearable. Everything you do or attempt to do — turning in bed, getting up from the bed, sitting, or walking — feels terribly painful. In fact, it can be a living hell. What about bending? Don’t even dare!
Back pain is extremely common these days with over 31 million Americans suffering from it at any given moment and 8 out of 10 persons complained about suffering from some sort of back pain in his or her lifetime. What’s even more concerning is that most people don’t get the right treatment since their first point of contact with medical care is the primary care providers who are not trained to manage chronic pain.
However, our pain management specialists in Memphis are specially trained to alleviate and even eradicate pain. If the pain is preventing you from living the life you desire, our Memphis clinics can help you.
Common causes of chronic back and neck pain
A lot of conditions could be causing your chronic back or neck pain. Here are some of the most common causes.
- Arthritis of the spine: The joints in the backbone are used for bending, twisting and stretching. As a result of wear and tear from prolonged use, these joints can harden and develop arthritis leading to pain.
- Degenerative disc disease: There is a sort of shock absorber in the backbone called the disc. With aging, the disc often degenerates, creating a smaller hole through which the nerve root exits the spine before going down the leg. This narrowing of the nerve root aperture can cause severe pain from the exiting nerve to become inflammed or pinched.
- Sacroiliitis: The joints between the backbone and the hip bones may get inflamed and cause serious pain. The pain is usually worse while standing and walking.
- Radiculopathy: One or more of the nerves coming from the spinal cord can get compressed in the backbone leading to severe pain. It occurs more in the lower back and the neck regions.
- Whiplash: Abrupt forward-jerking/backward-jerking movement of the head and neck can overstretch the tendons and ligaments leading to stiffness and pain. This is common in automobile accidents.
Some people are more prone to developing complications from lower back pain. Here are some of the factors that can predispose someone to chronic back and neck pain.
- Advanced age: As we age, so does our body. The accumulated wear and tear and the loss of muscle tones lead to a higher risk of chronic back pain.
- Genetic conditions: Your genetic makeup has some effects. Ankylosing spondylitis, for example, has some genetic origin.
- Physical Fitness and Body Weight: Your level of physical fitness plays a role. Being overweight can put extra pressure on the spine.
- Occupational risk: A job that requires lifting heavy weights, pushing, pulling, or twisting, can put you at a higher risk of developing chronic pain later in life.
- Habits: If you’re always hunched over your computer, you may be predisposing yourself to neck pain.
- Chronic stress: Being always stressed out can predispose you to chronic pain.
The common and potentially dangerous treatments
- Medications: Most Americans rightly visit their primary care providers when they’re experiencing pain and are offered the popular analgesics. These include opioids such as oxycodone and non-opioid analgesics such as the NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, anti-depressants, and anticonvulsants.
- Chiropractic care: This involves spinal manipulation by a chiropractor. A good number of Americans engage the chiropractors for their pain treatment.
- Acupuncture: This practice has been as old as humanity but its effectiveness in pain treatment is still controversial.
- Massage: Depending on the severity of the pain, some people resort to massage to relieve their back pain.
When the above doesn’t work we often see patients using opioids that can have dangerous and adverse effects including addiction, physical dependence, and hyperalgesia — an increase in pain sensitivity as a result of the long-term use of opioid medications. Despite these adverse effects, physicians have continued to prescribe opioids for people with chronic pain. This has led to a sort of public health crisis with new addictions, accidental overdose and, in some cases, death. In fact, overdosing on prescription opioids is now responsible for more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined. Not too long ago President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency.
The Ultimate Solution
To get the right solution to your chronic back or neck pain, you will need to see the right pain management specialists who can fashion a customized treatment plan for you. Here are the basic elements of the right treatment approach.
- Accurate diagnosis: To adequately treat your pain, the source of the pain has to be identified first. A thorough and careful examination and proper investigations are needed to identify the source of the pain.
- Interventional treatment of the source of the pain: An individualized interventional treatment plan which aims to stop the pain right from the source is necessary.
- Necessary medications: The right medications are prescribed. There is no room for opioid dependency and abuse.
- Adequate support: Empathy and compassionate support are provided by the pain management team. If need be, a psychologist may be involved.
Your Next Steps
With help readily available in Memphis, you can’t allow back or neck pain to prevent you from living a fulfilling life. Seek medical care from board-certified interventional pain management physicians who are specifically trained to provide the ultimate solution to your chronic back or neck pain.
MidSouth Pain Treatment Center is highly recognized as a professional leader for interventional treatments in pain management. The highly trained and compassionate staff utilizes state-of-the-art equipment and innovative techniques in the treatment of all types of chronic pain as well as acute shingles pain and migraine headache pain.