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    Suggest treatment for chronic lower back pain

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Posted on Fri, 3 Feb 2017 in Brain and Spine
Question: I am a 50 year old XXXXXXX XXXXXXX female. My lower back hurts for more than a year now in the area of both sides of the spine, from about the 4th to 6th vertebrae up. 3 years ago I slept for a year on an air mattress, until my back gave out (with spasms and excruciating pain) which sent me to the emergency room in XXXXXXX 2015. They prescribed Percocet but I couldn't take that due to a history of drug abuse. I self medicated using heating pads, pillow wedges and massage to control the pain, but I am not sure if I am doing the right thing. I am unemployed and I have no health plan. Help?
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Answered by Dr. Olsi Taka 19 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Read below

Detailed Answer:
I read your question carefully and I understand your concern.

Judging from your description the pain seems to be due to chronic degenerative changes of the spine which are common over the years as one ages, judging by the length of time you've had them worrying issues such as tumors, infections etc are unlikely. In terms of management it consists in pain killers during pain exacerbations and physical therapy. Heating pads which you have been using may be of help as well.

While pain killers and heating pads may alleviate the pain, in terms of addressing the real issue physical therapy is more important as it is the only means of providing better support for the spine by strengthening back muscles, so the best way for lasting benefits beyond the immediate relief. It is advisable to have a physical therapist teach you at least at first, but if there is no way you can get therapy sessions due to your economic issues then may try performing them at home. XXXXXXX exercises are the most recommended set of exercises (can google for illustrations).

Regarding choice of pain killers rather than opioids like Percocet over the counter painkillers like Ibuprofen or Naproxen are preferred.

I remain at your disposal for other questions.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Olsi Taka

Neurologist

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 3655 Questions

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