Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
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How Can I Alleviate My Back Pain?

Monday, 07 Jun 2010 03:35 PM


Question: I am a 79 year old very active man with type 2 diabetes and an arthritic lumbar spine. My kidney doctor prohibits NSAIDS, and tramadol makes me nauseous as well as codeine and morphine. Any suggestions for alleviating back pain? Would decompression machines help?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:
If is difficult to answer your question without knowing about your underlying health. The decompression machines are reported to relieve pain by those that market them, but I have not seen evidence of long-lasting relief when treating arthritic osteoporotic and degenerative disc disease in older patients.
There are legions of options left for relief of pain, from topical patches and local blocks to other oral medications. Ask your doctor to refer you to a pain management specialist and request an orthopedic surgery and physiotherapy consultation to see if other modalities are worth investing your time (and money). I recommend you consult a good family medicine or general internal medicine physician to help you recoup your quality of life. They will also guide your specialty consultations, often getting you in much sooner than you can on self-referral.



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