Back pain, which frequently leads to missed work and job-related disability, represents the second most common neurological ailment in the United States (following only headache). Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on low back pain, but the cause of a patient’s chronic back pain can be difficult to diagnose, and treatment may not be effective in relieving the patient’s pain.
A new report from Harvard Medical School (Back Pain: Finding solutions for your aching back) highlights new treatments for back pain. The report provides information on pioneering advances that have led to changes in back pain treatment that help men and women feel better faster and help prevent the return of their back pain. It points out, however, that choosing the appropriate therapy for a specific problem has become increasingly important, because using the wrong treatment option for back pain can impede recovery.
Treatment options discussed in the Harvard report include pain medication, complementary therapy, lifestyle changes, and surgery. The report explains various surgical procedures, including spinal fusion surgery, microsurgery techniques, and artificial discs. It also offers information on the questions that patients should ask themselves and their doctors before making a decision to undergo back surgery.
Mistakes in treating chronic back pain, as well as failure to get informed consent to treatment, can lead to lawsuits.
By the experts and editors at Medical Law Perspectives.
For more information on back pain, see the Medical Law Perspectives, October 2014 Report: Backaches and Court Battles: When Chronic Back Pain Leads to Litigation.