Most people are accustomed to dealing with the occasional aches and pains that spring up in our lower backs from time to time. These minor pains can be caused from a wide variety of things: overdoing it at the gym, not picking up a box properly, sleeping in an odd position, even sitting for an extended length of time. Most of the time, these minor aches and pains can be treated with a heat wrap, some aspirin, and a little TLC. Sometimes, the problem isn’t as easily solved.
Sometimes, you can have severe lower back pain.
Severe lower back pain can be extremely depressing and debilitating. It’s been proven that people that deal with chronic pain are more likely to be suicidal or on antidepressants. People get depressed and upset when they can’t do the things they once enjoyed doing. It can easily color your entirely outlook on life in general.
There are many different causes of severe lower back pain. A slipped disc, pinched nerve, seriously sprained or torn muscle, even muscle spasms can cause pain so bad that all a person wants to do is take a handful of pain medication and curl up in bed. Even though severe back pain can be devastating there is good news. Once what’s causing the pain is identified, a treatment plan can then be put into effect.
Part of determining what’s causing the severe lower back pain is discovering whether it’s a nerve problem or muscle problem. The doctor will ask you to describe your pain. Nerve pain is often described as sharp, stabbing, or shooting. Muscle pain is an ache, throbbing, or tearing pain. While the differences may seem trivial to some, it will make all the difference in any tests the doctor decides to run and in the treatment plan prescribed.
Once it’s established whether it’s a nerve or muscle causing the severe lower back pain, the doctor might order a series of tests. MRIs are often used to identify if a muscle is torn. An EMG can also be performed to determine just how damaged various muscles might be. Nerve conduction studies or nerve biopsies can be done to determine if there is any nerve damage or to help locate where a pinched nerve might be.
As soon as the extent of the injury causing the severe lower back pain is figured out, the doctor can then work with you on a treatment plan. Often, a treatment plan will consist of physical therapy, medication to relieve pain and swelling, possible surgery, and follow-up appointments down the road to see how things are progressing. If, at any time, the treatment plan doesn’t appear to be working as well as it should, you and your doctor can sit down and discuss changes to your overall plan of care.
The truth about severe lower back pain is there’s hope. Hope for a treatment. Hope for a cure. Hope that one day, the pain will be gone.