Our spine stretches from the base of the skull to the coccyx, and is of vital importance for supporting the weight of the upper body and the head, enabling movement and flexibility, and protecting the spinal cord within.
Spinal pain is possibly the most common condition that patients seek help for and it can vary significantly from patient to patient. From an intermittent and mildly aching back to acute, stabbing pains, back pain presents in many different ways and can affect all ages. Some conditions or previous surgery can be the cause of back pain, although more common spinal pain is a result of strain to the muscles and ligaments that support the spine. Sometimes, spinal pain can even be an indicator of other conditions such as stomach, kidney or gynaecological problems so it is important to seek help from a medical professional who will be able to help determine the cause for you.
Pain can be felt in the cervical spine (neck), thoracic spine (upper to mid-back), lumbar spine (lower back), sacral spine (around the pelvis and hips) and coccyx (tailbone), and typically makes patients feel stiff, sore and generally very unwell. Pain from the lower back can radiate into the buttocks or legs and pain in the upper spine can radiate into the shoulders and arms. Good posture is critical for everybody to help to prevent spinal pain and it is essential that consideration of the back is taken when lifting heavy items.
Injections (of steroid and local anaesthetic) to the spinal facet joints and radio-frequency procedures are simple and highly effective procedures usually carried out as a day-case procedure under a light sedation if required. They can dramatically reduce pain and many people who undergo these can find that the benefits last for months, if not years.
Radio-frequency heats the nerve that is transmitting the pain and in doing so, disrupts the route so that the nerve signals are no longer transmitted. Once the spine has healed the pain should be reduced and the benefits felt for a good length of time.
Injections work by administering a long-acting local anaesthetic and steroid to the facet joints to anaesthetise the facet joint and block pain, enabling physical therapy and the return to an active lifestyle.
Epidural steroid injections are injections made into the spine in order to treat pain from a slipped disc or compressed nerve with pinpoint accuracy. They can be extremely beneficial in treating the conditions which can lead to sciatic nerve pain. The injections consist of both a steroid and a local anaesthetic and this combination helps to reduce the inflammation of the nerve adjacent to the intervertebral disc. Pain relief can vary from patient to patient but many will see many years relief after such a procedure
When it comes to back and spinal pain, it tends to be very common, and most people will experience it at least once in their lifetime. Your back and spine is a very complex structure which is composed of bones, muscles, nerves and joints and back pain can be caused by a problem of one of these elements.
It’s a musculoskeletal disorder that can show in a range of ways including…
Spinal pain and back pain is the most common in the lumbar (lower back) region, although it can be felt anywhere along your spine, from your neck down to your hips.
The most common spinal pain symptoms include…
The lower area of the back is also called the lumbosacral, it’ the part of the back between the bottom of the ribs and the top of the legs and most of the lower back will be made up of bones called the vertebrae. The most common type of spinal and back pain is usually a case of sudden – onset pain, but it tends to be unclear where the pain stems from and it can be that there’s no specific problem or disease that can be identified as the cause of discomfort. The severity of the pain may vary from mild to severe.
This type of back and spinal pain, can feel like:
While there’s no cause for back and spinal pain, there’ll still be some slight treatments that you can do to slightly improve the pain. Back pain should usually improve within a few weeks or months and there are some things that you can do to reduce your pain in the meantime. There are also specialist treatments available that could be recommended if its thought simple measures won’t work. Treatments that you can try yourself are:
Keep Active: This is one of the most important things that you can do, keep moving and continue with your normal activities as much as possible.
Back Exercises and Stretches: Simple back exercises and stretches can also help to reduce spinal pain and can also be carried out at home as often as you need to.
Painkillers: Ibuprofen can help relieve back pain
Hot and Cold Packs: For heat try a warm bath and hot water bottle and for cold an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas to help relieve the spinal pain.
Relax: Trying to relax will be a crucial part of easing the pain as muscle tension caused by worrying about your condition may make things worse.