Blog Feed

back pain

TREATMENT FOR HERNIATED DISK

A herniated disk can press on the nerves in your spine and cause pain, weakness and sometimes numbness. Sometimes these symptoms can be severe enough to disrupt your life.

Most of the time the problems from your herniated disk should start to improve on their own within a few weeks. In the meantime, try one or more of these treatments to help you feel better.

Rest

Take it easy for a few days. Rest can relieve swelling and give your back time to heal. While your back hurts, avoid exercise and other activities where you have to bend or lift.

Medications

Take an over-the-counter pain medicine like ibuprofen or naproxen. These medicines can help relieve your pain and bring down swelling. Just don’t use these for more than 10 days without talking to your doctor.

Physical Therapy

Some exercises can help improve the symptoms of a herniated disc. A physical therapist can teach you which exercise strengthen the muscles that support your back.
Physical therapy programs also include:

  • Aerobic exercises – such as walking or riding a stationary bicycle
  • Ice and heat
  • Stretching exercises to keep your muscles flexible
  • Electrical muscle stimulation
  • Ultrasound therapy

Injections

If rest, pain relievers, and physical therapy don’t help with your pain, your doctor can inject steroid medicine into space around your spinal nerve. This is called an epidural injection. The steroid can help bring down the swelling, help you move more easily, and ease pain from a herniated disk.

Surgery

Most people with a herniated disk don’t need surgery. Rest and other treatments should start to improve your symptoms within 4 to 6 weeks. But if your pain doesn’t improve, surgery might be an option.

Talk to your doctor about surgery if:

  • You’re not getting relief from pain relievers, injections, and physical therapy.
  • Your symptoms keep getting worse.
  • You have trouble standing or walking.
  • You can’t control your bowels or bladder. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/slipped-disc/
Arachnoiditis

ARACHNOIDITIS & SCIATICA

Arachnoiditis is a pain disorder caused by the inflammation of the arachnoid, one of the membranes that surround and protects the nerves of the spinal cord. It is characterised by severe stinging, burning pain, and neurological problems.

Symptoms of Arachnoiditis

The most common symptom is pain, but arachnoiditis can also cause:

  • Sensations that may feel like insects crawling on the skin or water trickling down the leg
  • Tingling, numbness, or weakness in the legs
  • Severe shooting pain that can be similar to an electric shock sensation
  • Muscle cramps, spasms and uncontrollable twitching
  • Bladder and bowel problems

Treating Arachnoiditis

Treatment options for arachnoiditis are similar to those for other chronic pain conditions.

Most treatments focus on relieving pain and improving symptoms that impair daily activities.

Often, health care professionals recommend a program of pain management, physiotherapy, exercise, and psychotherapy. Surgery for arachnoiditis is controversial because outcomes can be poor and provide only short-term relief. https://www.evidence.nhs.uk/search?ps=20&q=Arachnoiditis

sciatica

WHY SCIATICA PAIN IS WORSE AT NIGHT & HOW TO SLEEP BETTER AT NIGHT WHEN YOU HAVE SCIATICA?

Below are some of the possible causes of sciatica pain at night:

Attention and Distraction

You may simply be more aware of your pain at night when there is less to distract you from it. This doesn’t mean the pain isn’t real — it is — only that you may be noticing it more at night than you do when you have other things to occupy your mind.

Body Position

When you lay down, the weight of your body may put pressure on your nerves in ways that it doesn’t when you’re upright. This is particularly common with sciatica and other chronic pain caused by pinched or compressed nerves.

Temperature

Cooler temperatures help many people sleep better. However, cold can also make sciatica pain worse.

Medication Timing and Dosage

The medications that control your pain well during the day may be wearing off too soon at night. You may then need a different dose at night.

HOW TO SLEEP BETTER WITH SCIATICA PAIN?

Try Sleeping in Different Positions

If your sciatica pain is caused by pinched or compressed nerves, adjusting your sleep position may relieve some of the pressure. For example, people with sciatica who prefer to sleep on their side often find it helpful to sleep with their affected leg on top. People with hip or knee pain may find relief by sleeping with a pillow between their legs.

Adjust the Temperature

Experiment with different room temperatures when you sleep. It may take some time to find the best temperature for you: cool enough to help you sleep, not cold enough to make your pain worse.

Get Appropriate Exercise During the Day

Exercise during the day can help reduce some kinds of chronic pain, and it may help you rest better too.

Practice Good Sleep Habits

While the day’s stimulations may distract you from your pain, they won’t help you sleep. Develop a sleep routine that helps prepare your body for rest. This might include turning off the TV and other screens 1-2 hours before bedtime, reading a book, or taking a warm bath.

Prepare Your Mind for Rest

The stress of chronic pain can make it even harder to rest. Try meditation or deep breathing exercises to lower your stress and help reduce your perception of pain. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sciatica/

How Doctors diagnose sciatica?, sciatica

FIRST VISIT TO A DOCTOR WHEN YOU SUFFER WITH SCIATICA, WHAT QUESTIONS ARE LIKELY TO BE ASKED BY YOUR DOCTOR IN THIS FIRST VISIT? HOW DOCTORS DIAGNOSE SCIATICA?

The first thing your doctor probably will do during the first visit is asking questions about your back pain. Your doctor will ask questions like:

  • Do you have numbness or weakness in your legs?
  • Do certain positions help your discomfort? 
  • Has the pain kept you from doing any activities?
  • Have any home remedies eased your pain at all?

Your doctor may also want to know about your lifestyle and may ask these questions:

  • Do you do a lot of physical work, like heavy lifting?
  • Do you sit on a chair or hard surface for long periods?
  • How often do you exercise?

Your doctor may want to give you a physical exam to try to figure out which nerve is causing your problem. They may have you do some exercises to see if the exercise make your pain worse, such as rising from a squat, walking on your toes and heels, and raising one leg while lying on your back.

If your pain is ongoing (chronic) or severe, your doctor might also get some imaging tests done. X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs can look for herniated disks or bone spurs that clearly would be causes of sciatica.

If your doctor diagnoses you with sciatica, it is important to remember that in most cases sciatica clears up in a few weeks without surgery. If over-the-counter drugs haven’t made a dent in your pain, your doctor probably will prescribe anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxants. You might also need to do physical therapy or get steroid injections to help relieve your discomfort. Acupuncture and treatment by a chiropractor are alternative treatments that also may be helpful. The conversation about surgery will start only after you’ve first tried non-surgical treatments. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sciatica/

First visit to a doctor for sciatica pain, sciatica

FIRST VISIT TO A DOCTOR FOR YOUR SCIATICA PAIN, WHAT TO ASK A DOCTOR IN THIS FIRST VISIT?

The first visit to your doctor when you have sciatica pain may be very stressful because you don’t know if indeed what you are experiencing is sciatica pain or you have a sprain or you accidentally pulled a muscle. Below are some of the questions to ask your doctor in this first visit:

  • Is my activity level or lack of it attributed to this pain?
  • Is this pain permanent? 
  • What is sciatica and how to differentiate it from a sprain or pulled muscle?
  • How to diagnose sciatica and how to diagnose a sprain on the back?
  • Will I need surgery?
  • If I have sciatica, will it clear up after a few weeks with medication?
  • Will physical therapy or acupuncture help my pain? When do I start physical therapy or acupuncture?
  • Will I be able to do things I could do before the pain started?
  • Is this condition hereditary? https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sciatica/
sciatica

WHY SCIATICA PAIN IS WORSE IN THE MORNING & WHAT TO DO TO LESSEN THIS MORNING PAIN?

Sciatica is often worse for people in the morning because of the way they sleep. Lying down in an incorrect position can further irritate nerve roots. This is because of the way the spine rests when you are lying on your back. In this position, the sciatic nerve exit spaces in the spinal column, called the foramina, become more compressed. This limits the space nerve roots have to travel through and can worsen the underlying cause of the sciatic pain.

WHAT TO DO TO LESSEN SCIATICA PAIN IN THE MORNING?

If you’re experiencing sciatic nerve pain in the morning, try and do the following:

  • Fix your posture: Try to elevate your legs while lying down. This position helps alleviate the pressure of your spine’s natural curve, which may be able to reduce your pain. Place a pillow beneath your knees, or between the knees if you’re sleeping on your side. Additionally, if you sleep on your side, avoid laying on the side affected by sciatica.
  • Stretch: When you wake up, incorporate some simple stretches to your morning routine. Yoga poses like child’s pose, as well as soft stretches of the lower back like pulling one knee to your chest while laying on your back, may help elongate the spine and alleviate some pressure placed on the sciatic nerve overnight. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sciatica/
Charley horse, Leg cramps

CHARLEY HORSE TYPE OF PAIN AND SCIATICA

Charley horse is another name for muscle spasm. It can occur in any muscle, but they’re most common in the legs. These spasms are marked by uncomfortable muscle contractions.

Charley horses are generally treatable at home, especially if they’re infrequent. However, frequent muscle spasms are often linked to underlying health conditions that need medical treatment.

Causes of a Charley horse

The most common causes include:

  • nerve compression in the spine
  • taking diuretics, which can lead to low potassium levels
  • stress, most often in the neck muscles
  • muscle injuries
  • inadequate blood flow to the muscle
  • exercising in excessive heat or cold
  • overuse of a specific muscle during exercise
  • mineral depletion, or having too little calcium, potassium, and sodium in the blood
  • dehydration
  • not stretching before exercise

Treatment for a Charley horse

The treatment for Charley horses depends on the underlying cause. If a Charley horse is exercise-induced, simple stretches and massages can help relax the muscle and stop it from contracting.

Heating pads can accelerate the relaxation process, while an ice pack can help numb the pain. If your muscle is still sore after a muscle spasm, your doctor may recommend a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen.

Recurrent Charley horses require more aggressive treatment. Your doctor may prescribe alternative pain medications if ibuprofen doesn’t help.

In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe antispasmodic medication. Also, physical therapy can help you cope with muscle spasms and prevent further complications.

If your Charley horse is in your leg, you can try to relieve the pain by doing the following stretches:

  • standing up
  • stepping the leg that isn’t experiencing muscle cramping forward into a lunge
  • straightening the back of the leg that is experiencing the cramp and lunging forward on the front leg https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/leg-cramps/
sciatica

2 MAIN SCIATICA SYMPTOMS THAT REQUIRES IMMEDIATE TREATMENT

(1) Worsening neurological symptoms

Severe damage to your sciatic nerve roots can cause progressive neurological symptoms and requires immediate treatment.

The symptoms may affect one or both legs and typically include the following:

  • Numbness
  • Weakness
  • Tingling
  • Abnormal sensations, such as crawling
  • An abnormally increased sensitivity to pain (hyperalgesia)

It is also possible for the symptoms to occur only below the knee without involving the entire limb. While these symptoms may not warrant surgery, some form of immediate medical treatment is usually needed.

(2) Changes in bowel and/or bladder control

Consult your doctor immediately if you have any sudden, unexplained changes in your bowel and/or bladder control. These changes may include:

  • An inability to control your bowel and/or bladder movements.
  • Difficulty in passing urine, a reduced urinary sensation, a loss of desire to pass urine, or a poor stream.

These 2 symptoms above indicate a rare, but serious medical condition called cauda equina syndrome. Cauda equina syndrome can occur suddenly or gradually and typically requires immediate surgery to control the symptoms. If patients with cauda equina syndrome do not receive prompt treatment, it can result in difficulty in walking and/or other neurological problems, including lower-body paralysis. Doctors advise treating this condition within 24 to 48 hours of symptom occurrence to preserve lower limb function. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sciatica/

Steroid injection for back pain

HOW LONG AFTER A STEROID INJECTION SHOULD YOU WAIT TO RESUME REGULAR ACTIVITY?

Contact the physician or physical therapist before you begin to exercise. Usually, the advice is to wait at least 24 hours before beginning any exercise after a cortisone injection. The injection itself may cause pain. If there is pain beyond the 24 hour period, wait until the pain from the injection has completely subsided before beginning exercise.

Start with gentle exercise and gradually increase in intensity based on your tolerance. Gentle range of movements and stretching exercise followed by light resistance activities for the first one or two sessions after the injection is usually recommended then you can gradually progress back to the levels you were able to tolerate before the injection.

Remember, the cortisone is used to break the pain cycle to allow strength and stability training. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/steroid-injections/