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Back pain, and how travellers can manage it ... in Bali

Back pain is one of the most common reasons someone seeks medical attention. In fact, about 80 per cent of adults experience lower back pain at some point in their lifetime.


Men and women are equally affected by lower back pain, which can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp sensation that leaves the person incapacitated.


Pain can begin abruptly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time due to age-related changes of the spine. When the pain persists for more than 12 weeks, it is termed chronic back pain.


About 20 per cent of people affected by acute lower back pain develop chronic lower back pain. In some cases, treatment successfully relieves chronic back pain, but in other cases pain persists despite medical and surgical treatment.



In the past some patients were taught to 'learn to live' with the pain. However, advances in pain management treatments (called procedural or interventional treatmentsbecause they usually use needles or electronic devices) can provide complete or partial relief.


The primary goal in the management of chronic lower back pain is often temporary alleviation of pain to enable the patient to become fully engaged in physical therapy and rehabilitation programs. The aim is to improve strength and body mobility that minimises physical stress to provide more long-term relief.


Patients who may benefit from minimally invasive injection treatments are those who are inappropriate surgical candidates due to age, have the simultaneous presence of two chronic diseases or conditions, or cannot tolerate oral pain medications in dosages necessary to control their symptoms.


Here are some interventional treatments available at BIMC Nusa Dua ...


Neurotomy Injection

This procedure uses a needle with a probe inserted just outside the joint. The probe is then heated with radio waves and applied to the sensory nerve of the joint in order to disable it.


Theoretically, by deadening the sensory nerve the joint will effectively prevent pain signals from reaching the brain's pain center.


The success rate of each procedure varies. An epidural steroid injection is generally successful in relieving lower back pain for approximately 50 per cent of patients.


While the effects of the injection tend to be temporary (one week to one year), an epidural can be very beneficial in providing relief for patients during an episode of severe back pain and allows patients to progress in their rehabilitation.


Typically, about 30 per cent to 50 per cent of patients undergoing the neurotomy will experience significant pain relief for up to two years. Of the remaining lower back pain patients, about 50 per cent will receive some pain relief for a shorter period.


With any interventional treatment, it is important to discuss the risks and benefits associated, as well as long-term effects. These treatments are not the first line of attack, but are available as more aggressive approaches to treat what can often be life-limiting back pain.


The newly-opened BIMC Pain Clinic

BIMC Hospital Nusa Dua now provides a healthcare facility focused on the comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis and multi-disciplinary treatment for various types of pain as well as chronic pain. The BIMC Pain Clinic is open from Monday to Friday from 9am to 7pm.


Written by: Traveltalk Magazine
Published: 3 July 2018

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