You may think you’ve tried it all. You’ve taken ibuprofen, tried ice and heat, tried to rest or walk it off, yet nothing seems to work. The nagging back pain persists. Should you consult a doctor? What options will the doctor offer?
First, know that the doctor will need to examine you and may run imaging tests to find the source of the pain. There are two approaches most doctors use depending on the nature of your pain: non-interventional pain management and interventional pain management.
Non-interventional Pain Management
Non-interventional pain management includes all the ways to manage pain without injections or surgery. Our spine specialists prefer to exhaust all non-interventional methods before resorting to more invasive ones.
Taking oral pain relievers, both over the counter and prescription, may be the first step to help relieve muscular pain caused by swelling, muscle strain, or sprain. Of these types of medication, NSAIDs, like ibuprofen, manage pain by reducing swelling. Other pain medicines, like prescription pain meds and muscle relaxants, act differently. Your doctor may prescribe these when needed.
However, there are additional non-invasive treatments your doctor may recommend first for your pain, including physical therapy. Physical Therapists can teach you exercises and proper body mechanics. Our Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation doctors work together with our Physical Therapists to prescribe exercises that strengthen the back and reduce reoccurrence of pain.
In some cases, interventional pain management may be needed if your back or neck pain does not respond to the above therapies.
Interventional Pain Management
These slightly invasive methods may include injections, nerve blocks, or minimally-invasive spine surgery. While these procedures may pose some risks, it can be very effective at reducing or removing chronic pain.
Facet joint injections and nerve blocks interrupt the pain-filled signals from nerve endings to the brain using local anesthetics, with or without analgesics. Sometimes these injections are part of a treatment plan that includes physical therapy. The injections can act as a bridge to help you ease your pain so that you can get to the point where you can exercise and use body mechanics to improve your overall condition.
Herniated discs may be initially treated without surgery. However, surgical repair or removal of an intervertebral disc may be required when herniated discs cause significant pain, weakness, or other serious nerve issues.
You can be confident in the fact that we will only recommend surgery when other conservative methods have failed to bring you significant improvement. If necessary, non-invasive surgical methods can be employed to alleviate your pain. Your doctor will discuss these options with you, including the risks and benefits, and will recommend the best course of action.
Rest assured, be it interventional or non-interventional, our doctors have your back.
We Can Help
Learn more about Acute and Chronic Spine Management and our other Treatments & Approaches. If you are currently experiencing pain, request an appointment with us. We’ll help you determine the individual treatment plan for you.