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LOW Back/ Sciatica Treatments

If you are suffering from back pain, you are not alone. Back pain can be due to traumatic injuries or slowly develop over a long period of time. Anyone that has experienced significant back pain knows that it can have a sudden impact on your quality of life or make it difficult to just get through the day. There are some amazing statistics associated with this common ailment:

  • In the ambulatory care setting, the medical complaint of back pain is the fifth most common reason for a visit to a physician’s office, with 15 million annual visits in the United States.
  • Experts estimate that as many as 50% of the population will experience back pain within any given year and 80% of the population will experience a back problem at some time in their lives.
  • Low back pain primarily affects adults 30 to 60 years old and has a tremendous impact on the economy and workforce productivity. Approximately 14% of all Americans take at least 1 day off of work secondary to back pain.
  • For people younger than age 45 years, persistent chronic back pain ranks as the leading cause of disability among chronic ailments. For people age 45 to 64, it ranks third behind coronary disease and arthritis.
  • For people age 45 to 64, it ranks third behind coronary disease and arthritis.
  • Patients with back pain generate an estimated $24 billion in annual medical expenses and $50 billion to $100 billion in total direct and indirect costs in the United States.

What Causes Back Pain?

The back is a complicated and fragile system comprised of bones, joints, ligaments, disks and muscles. Pain can result from injuries to any or all of these structures. Frequently, sports injuries or accidents are the obvious cause of the pain. Other times, the simplest movements—for example, picking up a small child— can have painful results. Also, arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress can be the cause or a contributing factor of back pain. Back pain can also be caused by serious illness requiring more immediate treatment including kidney stones and kidney infection, ulcers, pancreatic disease, bone cancer, or blood clots.

Traditional Non-surgical Treatment Options

People with back pain will try just about anything to get some relief and get back to their normal lives. Non-surgical treatments for back pain may include any or all of the following:

  • Ice, Rest
  • Physical Therapy, Massage
  • Stretching exercises, Yoga, Pilates, Core Exercises
  • Spinal Manipulation from Chiropractors and Osteopathic Doctors
  • Epidural Steriod Injections, Trigger point therapy, Acupuncture
  • Medication – NSAID’s (Motrin, Naprosyn), Muscle Relaxers (Flexeril, Soma), Cox2 inhibitors (Celebrex), Opiates (Percocet, Lortab)

The Option of Surgery

backAnd then, of course, there is Surgery… a very poor option and one that should only be considered as a “last resort” for very good reasons. A
recent study showed only 20% of all back surgeries are considered to be successful after 2 years, and 10-40% of patients suffer from long term complications from “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome”, which is a prominent possibility.