Over 80% of Canadians suffer from back pain at least once in their lives. Called lumbago when it’s felt in the lower back, or dorsalgia when it’s felt in the upper back (between the shoulder blades), it’s one of the most frequent reasons for consulting a family doctor.
When this pain persists over an extended period, it can develop into what’s known as chronic back pain, which can have a significant impact on quality of life and mental health.
In this article, we explore the aspects of chronic back pain, its causes and the solutions that exist.
When do we talk about chronic pain?
Chronic back pain is defined as persistent pain lasting more than three months. It requires specific treatment.
Unlike acute back pain, which may be the result of a temporary injury or strain, chronic pain can have complex origins. It’s important to differentiate between the two types of pain, for appropriate management.
Symptoms of chronic low-back pain include persistent pain in the lumbar region, which may radiate to the buttocks and legs. Dorsalgia (upper back pain) can radiate to the arms and neck.
What causes back pain?
The causes of chronic back pain are varied and difficult to identify precisely, unlike acute back pain. However, some more common factors may contribute to the development of chronic pain:
- A sedentary lifestyle: most low-back pain is due to a lack of exercise and poor physical fitness.
- Bad posture with insufficient abdominal support.
- A history of back injury or trauma, which may have affected the lumbar spine.
- A herniated disc
- Certain diseases such as osteoarthritis.
Many parts of the back may be involved in the origin of pain, including intervertebral discs, muscles, nerves and facet joints.
What treatments are available for chronic back pain?
Treatment for chronic back pain can vary depending on the underlying cause of the pain. However, here are some approaches used to treat chronic back pain:
- Analgesic drugs for moderate pain, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
- Physiotherapy and osteopathy, which can include strengthening exercises, stretching and manipulative techniques to improve mobility and reduce pain.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help modify pain-related thoughts and behaviors, thereby improving quality of life.
- Surgery, which may be recommended in certain cases to treat structural problems of the back, such as herniated discs or stenosis.
- Medication injections and lumbar epidurals for patients for whom oral medication is not sufficient, or for whom surgery is not an option.
- Injections of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) from a blood sample promote rapid tissue repair and pain reduction.
Chronic pain has a multidimensional aspect and therefore requires the use of several treatments in combination. It’s important to consult a healthcare professional to obtain an accurate diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Pain clinic in Montreal
Each case of chronic back pain is unique, and the optimal treatment may vary from one person to another. The key lies in tailoring the treatment plan to the patient’s precise diagnosis and individual needs.
Neurothérapie Montréal offers interdisciplinary services to support patients suffering from chronic pain. A tailor-made program is established, which may include injection medication, physiotherapy, neuropsychology or psychological support.
Contact Neurothérapie Montréal for a free 15-minute telephone consultation.
At Neurothérapie Montréal (ELNA Medical Group), we understand that chronic back pain can be a source of frustration and limitation. Our team is here to help you return to a pain-free life, for your physical and mental well-being.