Chronic pain is a general term that doctors and patients use to describe the pain that does not seem to have a cause and lingers for months if not longer. If left untreated it can lead to other physical symptoms and even mental health issues with serious consequences. One of the most serious kinds of chronic pain occurs in the back. Some patients with chronic back pain have seen relief after going through ketamine infusion therapy.
Symptoms Of Chronic Back Pain?
When you suffer from chronic back pain, the experience is all-encompassing. Your brain tells you to be cautious, to not make the pain worse.
- Muscle ache
- Stabbing or shooting pain
- Pain which runs down your leg
- Pain that worsens with lifting, bending, standing, or walking
- Pain that subsides with reclining
- What Causes Chronic Back Pain?
Like other types of chronic pain, back pain can develop without reason. Thinking about the situation, you try to recall the last thing you did before the pain began but are stumped. Here are some possible causes:
- Ligament or muscle strain. Frequent heavy lifting or an abrupt clumsy movement can stress spinal ligaments and back muscles. Poor physical condition may result in continual strain on your back and painful muscle spasms.
- Ruptured or bulging disks. Disks serve as cushions between the bones in your spine. The soft material within a disk can rupture or bulge and push on a nerve. But you may have a ruptured or bulging disk without back pain. Disk disease can be discovered when you get spine X-rays for another condition.
- Osteoarthritis can change the lower back. Arthritis in the spine has been known in some cases to lead to a reduction of the space surrounding the spinal cord, an ailment called spinal stenosis.
- Skeletal irregularities are a condition where your spine curves sideways also resulting in back pain, but usually not until a patient reaches middle age.
- Osteoporosis is a condition where your spine’s vertebrae develop compression fractures if the bones become brittle and porous.
Ketamine For Chronic Pain
Ketamine was originally developed as a surgical anesthetic for U.S. combat troops in Vietnam. It has been utilized in veterinary medicine. Today, the drug is administered in an intravenous format used to help relieve chronic pain. Dr. Charles F. von Gunten has said, “Its use in pain medicine is because of a very specific action in the spinal cord on a very specific set of receptors. Not all patients in pain have these receptors activated.”
Diagnosing Chronic Back Pain
During a medical exam, your doctor looks at your back to determine your ability to stand, sit, walk, and perform leg lifts. You also may be presented with a pain scale of one to 10 and asked to rate your back pain within that range. Your doctor also will ask about how well you function with the pain. A doctor will use these tests or procedures:
- X-ray. These images demonstrate the orientation of your bones and if you have broken bones or arthritis. But they will not discover problems with your muscles, spinal cord, nerves, or disks.
- CT or MRI scans. These scans create images that can show herniated disks or trouble with bones, tissue, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels.
- Blood tests. These can help show if you have an illness or other condition which may be causing your pain.
Bone scan. These are used in rare circumstances to search for compression fractures or bone tumors resulting from osteoporosis.
- Nerve studies like an Electromyography (EMG). An EMG measures the electrical impulses created by the nerves and responses from your muscles. This test can uncover nerve compression created by herniated disks or spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal canal.
- Treatment For Chronic Pain
Treating pain without knowing the cause or searching for triggers is problematic. Most cases begin with a doctor performing a physical exam to eliminate an illness or condition which could result in chronic pain. Consider these treatment options:
- Electrical stimulation
- Physical therapy including tai chi
- Eating healthy
Drugs are another option. Your doctor may recommend opioids or non-opioids, muscle relaxants, ointments or topical creams, and even antidepressants. A newer option worth considering for chronic pain treatment is the clinical use of ketamine, administered via IV infusion.
About 200,000 people in America suffer from chronic pain every year, and if you are someone who experiences chronic back pain, do not allow the condition to go on without seeking treatment. The pain can be serious but is treatable with a combination of therapy and medicine like ketamine.
If you or a loved one are experiencing the symptoms of a chronic pain condition we can help. Contact us today to learn more about our new and innovative chronic pain treatment options that we offer.