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Chronic Back Pain: Overview and Management

Man with back pain

Chronic back pain is one of the most prevalent and costly health problems in the United States. Chronic back pain is described as pain for 12 weeks or more after the initial damage has received treatment, and the injury has healed. According to the most recent statistics compiled from reliable sources and listed on the website, 7% of all Americans who sustain a low back injury will develop chronic pain.

Chronic pain often falls into three categories:

  • Pain caused by a specific injury. Herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis can produce unresolved pain that may continue until the issue is successfully addressed. In these situations, a surgical procedure may be a necessary option.
  • Pain from an unidentified source. The symptoms may not have a clear source, as it is less likely that they are closely connected to the initial injury because the soft tissue has completely healed.
  • Neuropathic pain. This type of pain occurs when particular nerves continue to relay pain impulses to the brain even though the original problem no longer exists.

In addition to physical symptoms, chronic back pain also has a psychological component. Individuals often experience a cascade of thoughts and emotions that include anxiety, depression, and fear. Suffering can be a part of this scenario, and people may develop behaviors like frequently discussing the pain and trying to reduce or eliminate it by changing their normal posture, walking pattern, and speed of movement.

Successful treatment of chronic back pain often involves healthcare providers from a variety of specialties such as:

  • A physiatrist who will concentrate on rehabilitation of muscle, bone, and nerve tissue
  • An anesthesiologist who will perform pain management techniques such as spinal cord stimulation and image guided injections
  • A clinical psychologist who will address emotional and environmental matters

Developing the right action plan will involve and open and honest discussion between the healthcare providers and the patient to pinpoint the exact nature of the pain and review previous ineffective treatments to make the best possible clinical judgment.

If you suffer from unresolved back pain and are interested in learning about treatments that we provide, please call our offices in New Braunfels or Seguin.

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