At Home with Chris Jessen 2018 - 172
▲ J O I N T H E A LT H
UP TO 80% OF PEOPLE WILL
EXPERIENCE BACK PAIN AT SOME
STAGE IN THEIR LIFE AND DURING ANY
ONE YEAR, UP TO HALF OF THE ADULT
POPULATION WILL HAVE BACK PAIN,
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
lthough you may not
feel like it, exercise is
particularly good at
reducing back pain as it
develops strong back and
stomach muscles to
support the spine and
maintain ﬂexibility. Swimming is a good
low-impact choice; pilates and yoga can
also be very beneﬁcial.
Hot and cold packs: Applying a hot water
bottle or heat pack directly to the aﬀected
area, followed by an ice pack can provide
Drugs and creams: Aspirin, paracetamol
or anti-inﬂammatory medicines, which are
available as a tablet or gel, will help to ease
discomfort. If your pain is persistent, your
GP may prescribe stronger medicines such
as diazepam (a muscle relaxant), morphine
or tramadol (pain relievers). However, these
may not be suitable for everyone as they can
cause side eﬀects.
Another non-surgical way to reduce pain
is with an steroid injection into the area
172 | FEBRUARY 2018
between the nerves of the spinal cord and the
lining surrounding them. This helps reduce
inﬂammation. You may have the injection
with or without a local anaesthetic, and it is
usually injected by an anaesthetist or other
important to see your GP ﬁrst. See a physio
only if he/she is registered with the Chartered
Society of Physiotherapy, an osteopath must
be registered with the General Osteopathic
Council or a chiropractor must be registered
with the General Chiropractic Council.
Physiotherapists aim to identify the cause of
back pain and help to increase your mobility
and manage your pain. A physio can also
prevent the problem from recurring by
providing an exercise programme based on
your health, ability and ﬁtness levels.
Osteopaths diagnose and treat problems
with muscles, ligaments, nerves and joints.
The will gently manipulate joints and
muscles to reduce pain and improve mobility.
Chiropractors treat problems with joints,
bones and muscles, focusing particularly
on the spine. They sometimes make
minor adjustments to the spine to restore
movement and improves its function.
These treatments aren't suitable for
everyone and aren't always eﬀective, so it's
There are four main types of procedure:
Decompressing the nerves to successfully
relieve pressure on them and stop irritation
or damage from surrounding structures.
Fusing segments of bone or entire vertebrae
together using metalwork to prevent
movement and reduce pain.
Correcting spinal deformities such as
severe scoliosis (curvature of the spine) or
deformities caused by traumatic fractures.
Balloon kyphoplasty is a treatment for
painful vertebral body fractures and tumours;
two tiny balloons are inserted, then inﬂated
to raise the collapsed vertebrae and, once
they are in position, they are deﬂated and
removed. The space is then ﬁlled with
bone cement for stability.