Back pain is an extremely common problem that will affect most Americans at some point during their lifetime. In fact, it is one of the most frequent causes behind visits to a doctor or emergency room. In many cases, a patient will experience recurrent or ongoing periods of chronic back pain that can prevent them from working or participating in an active, healthy lifestyle.
The main problem with unspecified back pain is that it is difficult to treat. Initially anti-inflammatory medications, oral steroids and muscle relaxants may help to reduce the discomfort felt and enable better range of movement. However, for many patients suffering from persistent back pain, further therapies and treatments are necessary for them to experience any relief.
Nevertheless, experts in the field of spine and back health continue to search for effective treatments. B12 injections are a fairly new solution that show promise in treating lower back pain.
WHAT IS B12 AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOUR SPINAL HEALTH?
Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, assists the production of healthy red blood cells in our body. These cells are responsible for carrying oxygen around the body.
However, research has also shown that B12 is an extremely important vitamin for spine health. Not only do B vitamins help to reduce inflammation – a key cause of chronic back pain – but they also help our bodies to replace damaged spinal nerve cells with new, healthy ones.
WHAT CAUSES A B12 DEFICIENCY?
A B12 deficiency can be caused by a number of different factors. The most common cause is pernicious anemia, an auto-immune disorder that affects around one in every 10,000 people. However, there are other groups of people who are more at risk of a lack of B12 in their body. This includes:
- People over the age of 60
- Patients with autoimmune conditions such as vitiligo
- Patients with stomach ulcers, atrophic gastritis or thinning of the lining of the stomach
- Digestive conditions such as Crohn’s disease or coeliac disease
- People who are vegetarian or vegan
HOW DO B12 INJECTIONS HELP?
Recently, studies have shown a correlation between the use of vitamin B12 injections and a decrease in the amount of pain experienced by a patient in the lower back. While you can get additional B12 through your diet (see below), it is difficult to monitor the increased levels to see if they are closer to satisfactory. However, a B12 shot is a simple, straightforward way of boosting a patient’s vitamin levels with perfect accuracy.
CAN I GET ADDITIONAL B12 THROUGH MY DIET?
You can increase the amount of B12 you have in your body by changing your diet to one that is high in foods that are rich in B12. These include things such as lean beef, fatty fish, eggs, dairy, clams and fortified cereal. Unfortunately, vitamin B12 is not stored in the body, and excess is excreted through your urine. For this reason, it is important that you ensure a regular, steady flow of either supplements or B12-boosting foods in your diet.
HOW OFTEN WILL I NEED TO HAVE B12 INJECTIONS?
The exact number of B12 injections that you will need to have, and their frequency, will be determined by the extent of the impact that your deficiency has on your health. Usually, vitamin B12 shots are only available by prescription and are administered monthly, unless otherwise recommended by the doctor.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS TO B12 INJECTIONS?
As with all medications, there are some small risks to consider when choosing B12 injections. These include:
- Problems with absorption.
- The B12 may interfere or interact with other medications that you are taking.
- However, our spinal doctor will carefully monitor your response to the injections to ensure that you do not experience any unwanted side effects.
If you have been suffering from chronic lower back pain, and conventional medications and therapies aren’t helping, you may be a good candidate for B12 injections. Contact Valley Spinal Care today to schedule a consultation at (602) 362 - 7900.