There are effective non-surgical treatments that are usually successful in treating back and neck pain. Some of the non-surgical treatment options are chiropractic, and alternative medicine such as acupuncture and herbal medicine
Patients are taught exercises designed to reduce pain and improve function. Yoga and Pilates—techniques patients can continue long after working with a physical therapist. Physical therapy combined with therapeutic exercise is the number one non-surgical treatment for back pain. Most insurance companies are becoming much more accepting of physical therapy options as it is much cheaper than surgery.
Heat/cold therapy, ultrasounds, spinal traction, electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), massage and aquatic therapy of just some of the options a back pain sufferer can choose from when considering physical therapy treatment.
Regular stretching, moving around and limiting heavy lifting is also very helpful in preventing back pain from getting worse.
There are several types of injections to treat (and sometimes diagnose) specific low back conditions. They typically offer immediate pain relief. Epidural steroid injections deliver numbing drugs mixed with steroid medication delivered around the nerves right to the spot of pain.
Other injections include selective nerve root block (SNRB), facet joint block, facet rhizotomy and sacroiliac joint block.
Chiropractic is a branch of medicine based on the understanding that good health depends, in part, on a healthy spine. Chiropractors also believe one of the main causes of pain and disease is the misalignment of the vertebrae in the spinal column.
To address this problem, chiropractors use some of the following techniques to relieve pressure on the spinal nerves, restore joint mobility, and help return the body to health such as: manual detection, carefully applied pressure, massage, and manual manipulation of the vertebrae and joints, manipulation under anesthesia, lifestyle and nutrition counseling, exercise programs
Alternative medicine encompasses a wide variety of treatment options, many of which originated centuries ago. A few of the most common alternative medicine treatments used for lower back pain include:
- Acupuncture: Thin, pre-sterilized, disposable needles are placed in selected parts of the body to increase blood flow and Qi (the life force that runs through the body). Some patients report that acupuncture has provided relief from back pain and helps to promote healing.
- Herbal medicine: Certain herbs have healing properties. Individual herbs may be mixed to create a formula with a specific purpose (such as pain relief). Herbal remedies for back pain are safe, effective and have minimal side effects, if any. Prolonged and uncontrollable back pain can be effectively reduced using herbal remedies. However, before starting any herbal treatment for back pain, it is essential to consult an herb specialist. They may also guide you in choosing the right herb to cure your back pain
- Biofeedback techniques: The practitioner teaches the patient mental and physical exercises that are monitored by sensors applied to specific points on the body. Each sensor is connected to a machine designed to monitor physiological responses.
Fortunately, there are options for pain sufferers besides going under the knife. Non-surgical treatment for low-back pain can work as well as surgery in many cases, sparing patients invasive procedures and potential surgery-related complications.