Back pain is a rampant problem in the United States. For example, did you know that over 1 million people are in bed today due to back pain? Back pain costs society over $100 billion every year in direct and indirect costs. There are over 400,000 spinal fusions performed each year in the United States. This represents a 15 fold increase over the past decade.
The vast majority of back surgeries in United States are elective. There are only really a few absolute indications for operating on one’s back. The most prominent of these is called Cauda Equina syndrome, which is a condition that is an absolute surgical emergency. It involves pressure on the bottom part of the spinal cord and can affect permanent bowel and bladder function if not addressed right away. Unstable fractures of the back should be addressed in an emergency fashion as necessary. If the patient is having progressive neurologic deficit then that becomes a relative indication for surgery. Essentially what is being relayed here is that there are few relative and absolute indications for surgery, but the vast majority are actually elective.
Patient diagnoses like degenerative disc disease are the most common types of back pain issues patients have. These are not fatal, another example would be spinal stenosis. These are quality of life issues. Non-operative therapies should be tried completely prior to undergoing a fusion of the spine.
Is there a magic treatment to avoid surgery? The answer is truly not. There are no gimmicks, there are no holy grails, and there is no effective snake oil that can help patients avoid surgery. There are 9 treatments that have research behind them which can truly help patients avoid elective back surgery.
1. Activity modification-this refers to the old adage of if it hurts don’t do it. Or simply do something else. For instance, if you are participating in a high stress activities such as jogging, that is probably not the best activity to pursue with significant degenerative disc disease. You’ll probably be better off switching over to cycling or swimming. But benign neglect goes along with this and represents ignoring the pain if it’s not too bad. These elective types of conditions by and large don’t need prophylactic intervention.
2. Physical therapy and aerobic exercise-PT can strengthen the muscles around the spine, called the paraspinal muscles, and take pressure off the painful areas. A number of studies have shown that aerobic exercise maintains excellent results and is probably the single best activity for degenerative disc disease patients. Patients may need interventional treatments prior to undergoing PT to ensure their ability to perform the exercises properly. Especially if they are experiencing acute exacerbation of the pain.
3. Chiropractic therapy-this is now being covered by more insurance companies every year. Over 10% of the US public is now under the care of a phoenix az chiropractic doctor at any one point. The literature has shown that chiropractic adjustments are effective for pain relief for a number of low back pain conditions.
4. Medications-chronic narcotics are a terrible idea for back pain and may lead to side effects such as depression, tolerance, and addiction. A better idea is to only use them on a short-term basis and stick with the tried and true Tylenol and NSAIDS. These are lower risk and very effective especially if taken within the manufacturers dosing recommendations. Muscle relaxers can help on a short-term basis, and as of recently dropped in and Lyrica are being used more fluidly for low back pain treatment phoenix with good success. Non-narcotic medications such as old tram are also being used successfully for back pain. It is a good idea to utilize medications in conjunction with a complex of pain management program. That way not just throwing pills at the problem and you can obtain better results with less medications and side effects.
5. Interventional arizona pain management treatments-continue to improve every year these injection type of procedures and they can truly make the difference between whether or not a patient needs back surgery. These treatments may include epidural injections, medial branch blocks, radiofrequency ablation, facet blocks, or spinal cord stimulators from phoenix pain doctors. Disc injections are becoming much less common because some recent literature shows they may actually cause disc degeneration.
6. Spinal decompression treatment became FDA cleared as of 1996. It is an affordable treatment, minimal risk, and is extremely effective for sciatica, facet arthritis, back pain, spinal stenosis, herniated or bulging discs, or failed back surgery. The treatments actually cost less than 5% that of spinal surgery
7. Tens units-tens units are small battery-powered devices about the size of an iPod. They’re safe and noninvasive and transmit small electrical impulses to electrodes on the skin. They can help steadily with suppressing pain and reduce the amount of pain medication necessary for comfort. Of note is that they do not cure anything, they are simply symptom relieving machines given out an an az pain center.
8. Lumbar bracing for short term can be extremely effective pain relief area the bracing can help protect the low back similar to a wrist splint for relief. They should not be used chronically as they can actually lead to muscle deconditioning around the lumbar spine.
9. Manipulation Under Anesthesia-this therapy has risen in popularity among chiropractors phoenix. It can help patients avoid surgery of the low back and is usually performed on 3 consecutive days with 3 sessions. It can be an excellent last resort the patients who have been unresponsive to other treatments for their low back pain.
These 9 treatments can help people avoid surgery over 90% of the time. Patients should try multiple of these treatments or maybe even all of them to avoid undergoing spinal surgery.
If you are in search of phoenix pain management, Preferred Pain Center provides comprehensive pain management az. Call 602 507-6550 to make your Appt TODAY and get a free massage with your pain management appt.