What Can I do About My Aching Back?

Friday, 22 Feb 2013 12:53 PM

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Question: I have had lower back pain for nearly 30 years. I have been treated by steroid injections, pain medicine, and spinal realignment. The pain goes away for a short time, but always comes back. What else can I try?

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:

Low-back pain for 30 years has to be difficult for anyone to deal with. Pain can negatively affect your quality of life and general health. Whether the pain is due to degenerative disc disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, or scoliosis, there is usually at least one treatment that can help.

When low-back pain extends over years, such as yours, surgical options have usually been considered and rejected as either too risky for you or inappropriately aggressive. I am not sure if your pain is caused by structural problem with your back, so getting an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) may help define what treatment would be best for you.

MRI imaging is the industry standard for visualizing the lower spine, which can help a specialist come up with a treatment strategy that will make you more comfortable. In any event, it’s time for you to consult an orthopedic surgeon about your complaints, and have a physical evaluation to determine your options.

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