Back pain resulting from a back injury or another cause can be characterized by sharp pains or a constant ache. An injury may result in immediate back pain or slowly build up over time. Back pain is extremely common, occurring to most adults as they grow older. About 80 percent of Americans experience serious back pain in their lives. If you are one of those many people who suffer from back problems, read the following sections, and learn more about…
- Treating a back injury
- Preventing back injuries
- Encountering challenges when looking for insurance
- Obtaining medical coverage if you have back problems
Back Injury Treatments
Depending upon whether the back pain is acute or chronic, your treatment options will vary. Acute pain usually subsides without treatment, requiring only an over-the-counter pain reliever and easy movements to ease stiffness.
Chronic back pain, however, will require a visit to the doctor and the very least and possibly even surgery if the problem is caused by an infection, tumor or cauda equina syndrome or nerve root problem. Non-surgical treatments may include any combination of the following:
- Hot or cold packs
- Moderate physical activity
- Flexion back exercises
- Extension back exercise
- Low-impact aerobic exercises
- Pain medication like analgesics including over-the counter pain relievers, prescription narcotics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and muscle relaxants
- Corsets and braces
- Injected medications including nerve root blocks, facet joint injections, trigger point injections, and prolotherapy injections
- Behavior modification to develop healthy back lifestyle changes
Some complementary treatments include acupuncture, acupressure, manipulation of the back through massage or chiropractic treatments, rolfing and Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS).
Operative treatments are only done in the event that all other treatments fail or in light of certain diagnoses. These include herniated discs, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, vertebral fractures, and Degenerative Disc Disease. Common operative procedures include a laminectomy/discectomy, microdiscectomy, and laser surgery.
Are There Any Preventative Measures for Back Pain and Injuries?
Preventative measures for back injuries that are not genetic or disease-related include good posture, lifting heavy objects correctly (with your legs, not your back), and exercising and stretching regularly. However, if numbness or tingling occurs or the acute pain continues despite rest, then it’s time to go to the doctor.
How Might a Back Injury Affect My Ability to Get Health Insurance?
Treatment for chronic back pain may affect a new health insurance policy through the implementation of a waiting period for up to 12 months for any back-pain related claims. Acute back pain shouldn’t affect your health insurance policy at all.
What are my Health Insurance Options?
If your back injury occurred at work, worker’s compensation will take care of your medical bills. Should your back pain be severe enough to classify you as disabled there are a number of options available to you including Social Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance and high-risk pools made available in 30 states that provide coverage for anyone despite their health problems.