What is discogenic back pain and what's the best back pain reflief for this lumbar disc pain? What are the most common treatments and what surgical options are there?
CHRONIC BACK PAIN: EVEN DOCTORS GET THE TREATMENT FOR RELIEVING BACK PAIN WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.
Back pain is the second most common health problem treated by doctors. It may cause great pain, distress and leave people unable to work. Billions of dollars are year are lost to chronic back disorders and still, the science and treatment of back pain is much debated, sometimes inconsistent and can even make the pain worse. For example, it's not commonly thought that for many sufferers of lower back pain ; they are better off taking pain killers and/or inflammatories BUT still going to work. Staying in bed, becoming inactive can actually do more harm than keeping active and moving about. However, research has shown that many doctors still order bed rest and a few painkillers for bad pain sufferers. Only in 5% of serious cases of back pain such as sciatica which is pain along the nerve usually in the legs or buttocks.
DISCOGENIC BACK PAIN : WHAT IS IT?
Discogenic back pain is thought to be caused by a degeneration of the lumbar intervertebral discs. There are 24 vertebrae or back bones in the spain. The lower back officially begins with the lumbar region which are vertebrae's #1 to #5. Lower back or lumbar back pain is the most common form of back ailment because they carry the most weight and therefore can suffer the greatest stresses and forces. The intervertebral discs are flat, round structures found between each vertebra. They are known as the shock absorbers for the spine. It's a little known fact that intervertebral discs are the largest organ in the body that does not have its own blood supply. The discs expand while at rest and compress when weight is put on them - just like a car shock absorber. The lumbar intervertebral discs can degenerate, which means that might get thinner and/or their ability to soak up nutrients may be interrupted. The degeneration of the interverebral discs is known as DISCOGENIC BACK PAIN.
WHAT CAUSES DISCOGENIC BACK PAIN?
Unless you've had an accident and have hurt your back in the process, it's often difficult to pinpoint the exact causes of your discogenic spine problems. It could be from poor posture, repetitive movement, injury, trauma, infection or even a tumor. Most cases are thought to be caused by an annular tear (a tear in the gel-like center of a spinal disc) or called by degenerative disease of the disc. It's often a chronic disorder.
HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU HAVE LUMBAR DISC PAIN OR DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE?
X-Ray or MRI SCAN
Lumbar disc pain can be so hard to diagnose. Your doctor is likely to review your history, ask about any recent accidents or trauma, your lifestyle and habits (such as sitting at a computer all day long or working in factory repeating the same physical action, or frequently carrying heavy weights in an incorrect manner) and may make a physical examination. That would normally be followed by an X Ray and an MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging: a scan using magnetic and radio waves, thereby avoiding exposure to X Rays and other forms of radiation. It allows the doctors to take pictures of almost every tissue in the body including parts of the body surrounded by bone tissue which makes it particularly useful for the spinal cord).
X-Rays or MRI scans can show areas of degeneration but they cannot show pain. A spinal injection test can locate pain sources. A discography is a type of spinal injection test to see if a disc is causing pain. It's not a routine procedure and can be uncomfortable - after all, the idea of the test is to locate your pain! This test produces a discogram which shows the pain generators in your discs. Once your degenerative disc disorder has been diagnosed, it does not necessarily mean that the course of treatment suddenly becomes clear.
BACK PAIN RELIEF PRODUCTS
Common treatments include painkillers which obviously helps with the pain but does not help with the underlying condition, anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, alternative therapies, bracing and lifestyle modifications such as a change in your posture, your seating arrangement at work or losing weight and exercising more.
WHAT ABOUT SURGICAL TREATMENT FOR LUMBAR PAIN?
Several minimally invasive back surgery options available. It should be noted, however, that in most cases, surgery is the last resort.
Spinal injections involve inserting a needle into the spin from the back, using an X Ray for guidance. Local anaesthetics and a long-acting corticosteroid are then injected into the surface of the problem back disc. Corticosteriods are a type of medication containing steriods. Steriods are hormones which can help to reduce inflammation among other effects. Corticosteriods are not the same as anabolic steriods which are used by bodybuilders to build muscle strength.
Radiofrequency Intra-discal Therapy or Biaculoplasty is similar to spinal injections except that two probes are positioned on either side of the disc under the guidance of a fluoroscope (a X ray device which allows live images to be viewed on a monitor). A radiofrequency is passed through the probes into the disc's outer ring or the posterior annulus. It generates a heat of between 45 and 60 Centigrade and can relieve back pain symptoms for up to a few weeks.
Nucleoplasty (Plasma Coblation or Hydroknife)
A fine tube known as a cannular is inserted into the disc, again under the guidance of fluoroscopy. Plasma coblation uses a plasma beam of high-energy protons to remove part of the bone marrow jelly that is found inside a vertebra disc. The hydro-knife is similar but uses a jet of water instead of the plasma beam. Both procedures relieve the pressure between the discs.
RELIEF FROM DISCOGENIC DISEASE
Back pain can be so debilitating. It's important to try and keep your spirits up, and no matter what, and do not give up. Some treatments work better than others: it can be a very personal and individualized program with a combination of solutions that ultimately works for you. Back pain can also be a big battle of the mind as well. Pain paths can develop in the brain so that even if your back problems are solved, your mind still thinks you have back pain. So, be sure to consider your mind and how to tackle the back problem mentally as well as physically.