Many people suffering from lower back pain delay seeking medical treatment. They grit their teeth and hope that their discomfort will go away, and when they finally seek help and explain why they waited so long, most say it’s because they didn’t want to have surgery.
Though surgery is certainly one of the solutions that we offer at our lumbar spine specialty practice in New Jersey, it is by no means the only one. Our approach almost always begins with offering conservative treatment options to alleviate lumbar spine pain. Here are some of the treatments that we’ve found most successful for our patients:
- Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs – Though you may already have tried over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, there are also versions available by prescription only that may provide relief. In many cases we find that over-the-counter medications can be effective when they are used correctly: in many cases, patients take them sporadically instead of continuously, which can limit their effectiveness.
- Heat – In many cases, the discomfort that lower back pain patients feel is a result of muscles that are in spasm. Heating pads, hot baths and other sources of warmth can provide relief.
- Movement – It is completely natural for people to remain still when they’re in pain, but research has shown that appropriate movement and exercise under the direction of a physician or physical therapist can help to strengthen the muscles of the back, increase flexibility, and improve distribution of weight on the spine. Aquatherapy can be particularly helpful.
- Physical Therapy – Physical therapists are trained to use movement, stretching and other modalities including ultrasound, manual therapy and electrical stimulation to provide pain relief and increased flexibility and strength.
- Epidural Steroid Injections – By injecting steroid medication into the area surrounding the spinal nerves, inflammation and pain caused by nerve root compression can be reduced.
- Narcotic Medication and Muscle Relaxers – These drugs are prescribed extremely sparingly, as they can be both addictive and dangerous for prolonged periods, and do little to improve the underlying condition that is causing pain.
In most cases, it is only once these conservative approaches fail to provide the relief that patients seek that our lumbar spine specialty practice turns to discussion of other treatment options.
Though patients have a natural fear of surgery, it is important to understand that there are many minimally invasive options available that allow patients to undergo the same types of procedures that have traditionally been performed as open surgery, but done using much smaller incisions that cause less damage to the muscles and tissue surrounding this spine. This allows for less pain and faster recovery and return to normal activities.
There is no reason for you to continue to suffer with lower back pain. If you’ve already given yourself a period of rest following a back injury or have been suffering from chronic lower back pain, contact our lumbar spine specialty practice in New Jersey to learn more about the many options for conservative lower back pain treatment that we have to offer.