Back pain is a very common problem that most people experience at some point in their life. As well as severe pain, it can also lead to reduced movement. Back pain can refer down the leg into the buttock and sometimes as far as the knee. Most back pain is not sinister and gets better with time. It is rare for back pain to require spinal surgery. There are, however a number of things you can do to help manage a flare up of symptoms in your back. Your GP can prescribe anti-inflammatories, if your medical history allows. If these alone do not work, or are unsuitable there are other pain killers that they may recommend. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) does not recommend use of opioid medication for low back pain (LBP). If the nerves in your low back are affected they can give severe Leg Pain or Sciatica. There are other treatment options for leg pain.
Evidence shows that early manual therapy, such as Physiotherapy, combined with exercise can help reduce pain and shorten the episode of LBP. Physiotherapists can also give advice regarding ergonomics and exercises to help in the longer term. At New Hall Hospital we offer a fast access, comprehensive Physiotherapy service.
If low back pain symptoms persist, despite time, medication and Physiotherapy then, following assessment by one of the Spinal Team, a diagnostic Injection, called a Lumbar Medial Branch Block can sometimes help to confirm which structures are causing symptoms. Sometimes, a further procedure, called Lumbar Rhizolysis can then give relief of symptoms for long enough for you to engage in an exercise programme to give longer term management of symptoms.
Unfortunately, there is not always a ‘cure’ for long term low back pain. Pain management teams can help people with long term back symptoms live well, despite their ongoing symptoms. A combination of physical exercise, pacing activities and ergonomic advice, along with emotional support and understanding why pain symptoms persist can often help. Below there is a brief video called “Tame The Beast” which explains clearly why some people develop persistent pain. There are also links to pain management services in Dorset, Wiltshire and both Southern Health and Solent services in Hampshire.