Back pain therapy
What is back pain therapy?
Almost every German suffers from back pain at least once in their life. Most species, however, are harmless and will go away on their own. With some diseases, such as herniated discs or arthritis, the pain can become chronic. To prevent this from happening, early pain therapy is useful.
There are various methods of doing this to relieve those affected and improve their quality of life. Effective pain therapy can prevent many risky operations on the back.
What does pain therapy do for the back?
First of all, the doctor tries to find the cause of the pain through questions and examinations, since in many cases this can or must be remedied directly. If there is no remediable cause, the planning phase of the individual pain therapy begins. The first steps in pain therapy are often a mixture of warmth and exercise, as many back pain is lifestyle-related.
In some cases such muscle building through exercise and physical therapy can already put an end to pain. Another area of pain therapy is the classic drug treatment of pain. Initially, this is attempted with over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and can then be increased if necessary.
The highest level of drug therapy are narcotics, which are subject to a special law. There is also the option of injecting painkillers directly into the affected area, some of which are CT-controlled. In addition to pain relieving medication, muscle relaxants are also used, as back pain is often caused by tense muscles. Which pain therapy is the right one is different for each person affected.
Would you like to learn more about therapeutic measures for back pain? You can find detailed information about this in the next article: Therapy of back pain
CT-guided pain therapy
CT-based pain therapy is used when conventional methods such as physiotherapy are no longer sufficient. In CT-based pain therapy, a local anesthetic and cortisone are injected exactly into the affected area. First, the person affected is pushed into a computer tomograph, which takes detailed x-rays of the back.
The exact puncture site is calculated based on these images and the data is transmitted to the CT. With the help of a laser marking, the puncture site can be hit exactly and the drug can be introduced with millimeter precision. In most cases an improvement is immediately noticeable, but it is necessary to repeat the measure three to four times.
The anesthetic directly alleviates the pain and the cortisone has an anti-inflammatory and decongestant function. Complications are very rare and can be prevented with careful planning. In the case of existing sensory or motor disorders, however, this method has its limits and cannot prevent an operation. Pregnancy is a reason for exclusion from this treatment, as the radiation exposure can damage the unborn child.
Read more about this under: CT-guided pain therapy
Infusions as part of pain therapy
Painkillers can not only be injected directly into the affected area, but can also be given through the bloodstream. Pain management infusions often contain a mixture of drugs. There is a strong pain reliever in the infusion, to which an anti-inflammatory drug is usually added.
Muscle relaxants and vitamins can also be added to the infusions. For the infusion, an indwelling venous cannula is placed in the area of the hand or arm and the infusion bag is connected to it. Drugs enter the bloodstream in droplets and are distributed throughout the body. Local side effects at the injection site are rare, but this therapy has effects on the entire body and can lead to complications.
Allergic reactions and effects on the central nervous system are possible, which is why no motor vehicle may be moved immediately after the treatment. Most of those affected have to repeat the measure several times.
Epidural anesthesia as part of pain therapy
The spinal cord and the brain are surrounded by several membranes. The outermost is the dura. With epidural anesthesia, an anesthetic is injected directly around this skin. For this, the person concerned sits with a bent back and the doctor pierces the skin and tissue between two vertebrae with a needle.
A small tube is pushed over this needle, which remains in this epidural space. The application is usually painless because the skin is numbed beforehand. The doctor or, with the help of a syringe pump, the person affected can now pump painkillers into the spinal canal through the tube. Side effects and complications are rare but dangerous.
An infection of the spinal cord membranes with involvement of the meninges is possible, as the tube represents an entry point for bacteria. Furthermore, intolerance to the drugs are known. If the pain reliever gets into a blood vessel, it can also lead to cardiac arrhythmias. Therapy is usually inpatient so that complications can be identified early.
You can find detailed information on this topic at: Epidural Anesthesia - Procedure and Complications
Differences between outpatient and inpatient
Whether inpatient treatment is necessary is decided by the pain symptoms and the intended treatment. Affected people who are unable to cope with their everyday lives due to their pain can be admitted to the hospital. There are also some treatment strategies that make hospitalization necessary.
Epidural anesthesia is usually carried out in an inpatient setting so that closer monitoring is possible. Many other therapies, such as CT-guided pain therapy and infusions, can be carried out on an outpatient basis if the person concerned can visit a practice. In principle, there is the advantage of inpatient admission that problems can be clarified directly and close monitoring takes place.
However, outpatient therapies are often more comfortable for those affected because they can stay in their familiar surroundings. In some cases a mixture is also possible. Inpatient therapy takes place first and the treatment is continued on an outpatient basis.
Duration of pain therapy
The duration of pain therapy varies greatly from person to person. Some sufferers can live pain-free after a few therapy sessions with infusions or injections. Others suffer from recurring back pain for life and require repeated treatment.
The cause of the back pain is also crucial here, as the cause itself cannot sometimes be eliminated and the pain reappears.