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Research Round-Up: Back pain intensity may predict future pain and disability

Back pain is one of the most common health complaints: it’s believed that 70 percent of people will experience it in their lifetime. New research found that many of these patients will in turn suffer long-term chronic pain in the low back area. While this may seem obvious, having proven scientific findings at the ready will enable doctors to take immediate action for patients experiencing pain to prevent more problems down the road.

In a recent study published by the American Pain Society’s Journal of Pain, it’s become clear that high pain intensity at onset,  as well as a belief that back pain will last for a long time, can forecast future pain or disability within a five-year span. This study is the first to demonstrate this association over a long period of time and “confirms that pain relief is an important target, not only in the initial management of the symptoms, but for the potential contribution to long-term improvement.”

It’s important for doctors to address both pain management and the patient’s beliefs early in the treatment process. The American Academy of Pain Management is candid in saying that there is no single medication or procedure to cure everything and that it’s imperative to work out a plan of action with your physician that works for you – in mind, body, spirit, and environment.

To best handle episodes of back or neck pain, it is  important to seek medical attention at the early  stages.  The most common symptoms include:

  • Acute stabbing pain
  • Dull stiffness
  • Tension
  • Neck pain
  • Low back pain
  • Frozen shoulder

Treatment of back pain can range depending on the condition causing your pain.  I work with my patients to prescribe a regimen that maximizes early recovery; it is vital to  take precautions to prevent back pain and larger issues down the road. In addition to surgery, common forms of treatment include:

  • Medication to reduce pain and swelling
  • Physical therapy
  • Short term bracing
  • Chiropractic care
  • Bioelectric therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Injections

This study confirms that pain relief in the preliminary stages of low-back pain can help to improve the condition as well as prevent long-term problems. If you are experiencing serious pain, I urge you to seek medical advice in a timely fashion to prevent larger issues from arising in the future. When your body gives you signs, please don’t ignore them!

– Research Round-Up: Back pain intensity may predict future pain and disability