Pain Treatment for a Lower Back Injury

By Steve Silverman

Getting sidelined with a back injury is a major disappointment for any golfer. Lower-back pain can prevent even the most dedicated golfer from playing or practicing. Lower-back pain has to be treated successfully before the golfer can even think of getting out on the course again.
 

Rest

The first step to treat a lower-back injury is rest. You may have injured your back in an auto accident, doing a household chore, or while playing golf. You will have a sharp pain in your lower back with certain movements. Rest for about two or three days, doing as little as possible. Take over-the-counter pain medications and use a heating pad. Even if your back begins to feel better, allow an extra day or two for full recovery and always stretch before physical activity.

Physical Therapy/Massage

If the pain does not subside with rest, you will need to see your physician to determine if you have a serious injury. If you are ambulatory and have sharp pains from time to time, your doctor will likely send you for physical therapy and massage. The physical therapist will put together several exercises that should help your back feel better and then close the session by massaging the area. The exercises and massage should bring some relief.

MRI

If the physical therapy and massage don't help much, your doctor will send you for an MRI to get a detailed look at what is going on in your lower back. A bulging or herniated disc may be the source of your pain and that will show up on the MRI. If that is the case and your pain does not subside, you can be a sent to a doctor who specializes in pain treatment, called a physiatrist, for an epidural injection. The injection will work in 80 percent of all herniated-disc cases and your pain will most likely subside.

Surgery

In some cases the epidural injections will offer little more than temporary relief. Your herniated disc or pinched nerve is not getting better and you may need surgery. Advancements in lower-back surgery have turned this into an outpatient procedure. The surgeon will make a small cut near your spine and will go in and clean up the herniated disc. By getting ride of debris around your spine, you will be able to return to normal activities, including your golf game.

Post-Surgery Physical Therapy

The surgery may have cleared up your problem, but you will have to do flexibility and strengthening exercises under the care of a physical therapist to return to full health. This will make sure the impact of the surgery will not be lessened. If you follow the physical therapist's exercises, you should return to full health.

About The Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.

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