Even though back pain is such a common issue for people of all ages, Dr. Jose Mena, an Interventional Spine Specialist with Miami Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute, says that back pain is largely preventable. In an interview with the Health Channel, he shares what he suggests his patients do to prevent and treat back pain.
Dr. Mena encourages that daily exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and living a healthy lifestyle are the three most important steps for preventing back pain. He also recommends that you pay attention to your posture when you are sitting or lifting things up because poor posture can cause back injuries, especially when lifting.
There are also several medication options to treat back pain as well. Dr. Mena says that anti-inflammatory medication is usually the first step for dealing with back pain because usually inflammation is what causes the pain. Medicines like Aleve and Advil are anti-inflammatories. Muscle relaxants can also be used but Dr. Mena says that there is no evidence to show that muscle relaxants are helpful in the long term. Dr. Mena says that normally, muscle relaxants are only recommended for the first two weeks of pain but after that there is no evidence that they help.
While Dr. Mena says he usually tries not to prescribe narcotics for pain, they can help alleviate pain from more serious injuries such as a fracture or a surgical procedure. Narcotics stop the brain from recognizing pain, but they do not affect the source of the pain in any way. Tricyclic antidepressants are antidepressants that in low doses can also help soothe back pain because the chemicals that they use that help with depression can also help suppress pain. Seizure medications such as Gabapentin or Lyrica can also be used to calm the nerves causing the pain. Dr. Mena says that some people can also have sciatica symptoms like numbness or tingling in their arms and legs, which seizure medications can ease.
Watch the full segment of Dr. Jose Mena describing prevention and medication options for back pain, here: https://youtu.be/5_0_oUyvMzA