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spinal pain

Treatment

Neck and back pain

Most of us in our lives will suffer from an episode of spinal pain at some time. Short-lived episodes of lower back or neck pain can result from strains or other injuries to muscles and ligaments. At any one time about a third of the population can be experiencing some, usually low-grade, pain.

In these situations it is useful to take regular exercise, for instance a daily walk or swim.

 

Intrusive pain

In certain situations however the pain becomes so severe that one cannot sleep or get on with normal activities. It may radiate out into the arms (brachialgia) or the legs (sciatica).

If you experience any of the following you should go immediately to your doctor to be examined:
significant weakness or severe pain in the arms or legs
unremitting progressive pain or other progressive symptoms
loss of bladder or bowel control

Your doctor will check whether any further investigations are necessary and then refer appropriately to a Neurosurgeon, Rheumatologist or a Pain Specialist. Often they will request MRI scans and blood tests.

It is important to realise that most episodes of spinal pain get better over time, particularly those that are experienced only in the neck and back and do not extend into the arms or legs. If the pain is persistent and increasing in intensity it is wise to get your doctor’s opinion.

Persistent neck and back pain

People frequently link the start of their back or neck pain to an accident; falling, twisting or whiplash from a collision or sudden breaking in a car.

In such situations recovery occurs in about 90% of individuals over a period of three months to a year. During this time your doctor may give you painkillers, refer you for physiotherapy, chiropractic treatment, osteopathy or acupuncture. All of these techniques may help to accelerate recovery.

Unfortunately, despite all these efforts, about 10% of people after a significant injury go on to have persistent pain. For those who experience the neck pain associated whiplash injuries 20 per cent continue to be troubled for two years or more.

In some cases an accident may have acted as a trigger that causes an existing problem affecting a part of the spine to become symptomatic.

You can read a case study of one of Dr Munglani's recent patients here: Case Study PDF