Low Back Pain
What are the treatments for the condition?
Low back pain caused by strains or sprains will get better on its own within four weeks, with or without treatment. People with more serious conditions, such as a ruptured disk, may benefit from treatment. A ruptured disk is generally treated conservatively at first. Following are some initial treatments that may be used:
anti-inflammatory pain medication, such as ibuprofen, ketoprofen, flurbiprofen, or naproxen
application of heat
muscle relaxants, such as carisoprodol
a specialized exercise program
If conservative treatment is not successful, the healthcare provider may recommend surgery. The following operations may be helpful for people who have a ruptured disk:
diskectomy or laminectomy, which allows the surgeon to remove the ruptured disk and relieve nerve pressure
injection of chymopapain, an enzyme, into the disk to dissolve it
nucleoplasty, which involves inserting a needle into the disk and applying heat with a special instrument
spinal fusion, which involves the joining of two or more vertebrae
What are the side effects of the treatments?
Side effects of medicines include allergic reactions and stomach upset. Surgery is associated with a risk of infection, bleeding, and allergic reaction to anesthesia.
What happens after treatment for the condition?
After conservative treatment of a ruptured disk, a person can usually resume activity as tolerated. Symptoms may recur every now and then, requiring repeated treatment. Ninety percent of the time, surgery relieves symptoms and the person can slowly resume normal activities. Physical therapy can be helpful to teach appropriate body mechanics and lifting techniques.
How is the condition monitored?
Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare provider.