When a patient comes to us with back pain, they may worry that surgery will be the only answer to their problem. However, we prefer to delay surgery as long as possible. This is because there are many less invasive treatments that are available that may prove to be a better option.
Fortunately, medicine has found many conservative treatments that can keep a patient from taking the risks of back surgery. These methods are minimally invasive, effective with commitment, and have research that supports their usage. Many spinal surgeons require that you pursue these methods for at least six months before considering a surgical approach. It is to the patient’s benefit to pursue them for a long as possible, because surgery may not be the answer.
Medications are usually the first line of treatment for back pain, and they can be some of the most effective interventions in the physician’s arsenal. Many patients think that medications are limited solely to narcotics, but this is thankfully not so. Medications for back pain can start as simply as over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil. In addition, certain antidepressants, such as the tricyclic drugs, are very effective against the nerve pain caused by herniated discs.
Physical therapy is much more than simply exercise. In fact, it is probably the single most important conservative treatment for back pain. A trained therapist will be guided through exercises that improve the strength and flexibility of your back. These exercises are targeted and professionally observed for proper form, and they can usually help the back adjust to the problem.
Many patients shy away from physical therapy. This is a mistake. Usually, they just don’t understand the benefits of strengthening supportive muscles. Exercise, when performed with a professional, is safe and effective for back pain.
Physicians in the past regard chiropractic work as of little value. Now, many spine specialists have discovered the benefit of chiropractic work in conjunction with medical treatments. Chiropractors today help relieve pain due to back and musculoskeletal issues. To decrease pressure on nerve roots, relieve tension and treat back pain, simple vertebrae manipulations are done.