The best treatment when you are looking for chronic back pain relief will depend on what is causing your chronic back pain. Disc problems and facet joint arthritis are common causes of chronic back pain.
Both of these problems are more common in people over 50 years old. They develop gradually from an active lifestyle or a lifetime of bending and lifting.
A bulging or herniated disc can cause chronic back pain most commonly in your low back. If the injured disc is pressing on a nerve you may have pain in your buttock or the back of your thigh.
Rehabilitate Your Disc
Hyper extension exercises for sciatica can rehabilitate an injured disc and relieve your lower extremity pain if the damage is not severe. You can try these Exercises for Sciatica to see if they make a difference.
Improve Your Posture
Improving your posture and avoiding activities that require bending and lifting can also help to manage your back pain.
If your pain is tolerable and controlled with over the counter medications you are probably safe giving this some time to improve. But, if your pain is severe and prevents normal activities you will need to be seen by your doctor.
Osteoarthritis in the facet joints of your spine is the most common cause of chronic back pain in people over 40 years of age.
Most often this is the wear and tear kind of arthritis that develops gradually over a lifetime of activity.
Connect one Vertebra to the next
These facet joints are in pairs connecting one vertebra to the next vertebra along the length of your entire spine.
Altogether there are 25 pairs of facet joints in your cervical, thoracic, and lumbar spines. And, you can develop arthritis in any or all of them.
Most Common in Your Low Back
Facet joint pain is more common in your low back but can occur in your upper back and neck as well. It may cause a constant aching pain along with occasional sharp and stabbing pain that occurs with motion.
Arthritis pain is usually worse in the morning when you first get out of bed and improves after you have been up for a few hours.
Stay Active is the Answer
Limited activity seems to provide the best relief. You need to stay active but avoid anything that is overly strenuous or long lasting.
Complete bed rest will make your pain worse and for some people even trying to sleep in for a few hours on Saturday morning will cause increased pain.
This x-ray image shows
severe arthritis along with
kyphosis of the thoracic spine.
Image thanks to Jnewton2005, via Wikimedia Commons
When your pain is severe and located in one area your doctor may refer you to a specialist for facet joint steroid injections. Putting a steroid medication directly into the joint can help relieve pain by relieving swelling and inflammation.
Chronic Back Pain Relief when there is No Cure for Arthritis
These injections can help relieve pain and make you feel better but unfortunately they do not cure the arthritis. So sooner or later the inflammation tends to reappear and your pain may return.
These injections may need to be repeated. Most doctors will allow steroid injections 3 times in a 6 month period.
Find out more about injections at Will Back Pain Injections Help Me?