It is estimated that approximately 80 percent of the adult population in America will suffer from lower back pain at some point in their lives, yet remarkably, many of those enduring the worst pain are suffering in silence instead of seeking medical treatment.
They are fearful of being told that they need spine surgery. Though it is completely understandable to worry about going “under the knife”, the truth is that in many cases, conservative, non-invasive treatments are able to provide patients with the relief they so desperately need.
At our spine specialty practice, it is our philosophy to thoroughly assess each patient’s individual needs and craft the best possible treatment plan for that individual’s needs, and in most cases that plan will begin with conservative treatments. Here are just a few of the options that we use:
- Medications – There are numerous medications that can provide relief to those suffering from back pain. These include:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs – Also none as NSAIDs, or Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, these include familiar over-the-counter medications as well as medications that are only available via a physician’s prescription. By reducing the inflammation that puts pressure on sensitive nerves, patients are frequently provided with pain relief.
- Narcotics – Opioid and narcotic pain medications are able to provide relief from acute pain, but they are also addictive, and open to abuse. These medications are generally prescribed sparingly and only for short periods of time.
- Muscle Relaxers – Much of the acute pain experienced by those with lower back conditions is caused by spasms of the muscles in the back. Muscle relaxers can provide relief of these symptoms, but can also be addictive. Their use is generally limited.
- Antidepressants – Soe studies have shown that specific types of antidepressants can relieve lower back pain by elevating mood and dulling pain signals.
- Heat Therapy – Physicians and physical therapists have found that pain caused by spasms in the back muscles can be relieved through the application of moist heat. This can be achieved through the use of hot baths, heated moist towels, heating pads, and hot water bottles.
- Physical Therapy – Physical therapists use a variety of modalities, exercises, and instructions to ease pain and increase flexibility and strength. This is achieved through ultrasound, manipulation, TENS units which provide electrical stimulation, and targeted exercise.
- Epidural Steroid Injections – One of the most common and effective conservative treatments for back pain is the administration of injections of steroids into the area around the compromised nerves. The medication in the injections alleviates inflammation, and is particularly effective when nerves are being compressed.
- Spinal Cord Stimulation – This therapy involves implanting a small device similar to a pace maker into the body to send a mild electric current to your spinal cord. This helps manage chronic pain by masking pain signals before they reach the brain.
If you are suffering with back pain because you’re afraid of surgery, you are cheating yourself of the opportunity for relief. Contact our spine specialty practice today to make an appointment and learn about the many non-surgical options that are available to you.