How to Relieve Back Pain Without Surgery

March 30, 2021

Relieve back pain without surgery

If you suffer from back pain, you are definitely not alone. An estimated 80% of all Americans will endure a back pain episode at some point in their lives and approximately 8% suffer from chronic, unresolved spine pain.

Spine surgery can be a very effective treatment for many spinal conditions, in part because surgical techniques today are more advanced than ever. Minimally invasive and endoscopic surgery are now the standard of care for surgical spine patients at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush (MOR). However, most back pain patients don’t require surgery. Non-operative spine physicians provide numerous conservative treatments that can help spine patients avoid or delay surgery.

Goal setting

With proper imaging and other diagnostic tools, the MOR non-operative spine physician team works to identify a patient’s specific spinal condition/s and creates an individualized care plan.

“We approach each patient and his or her case in a very individualized manner,” explains Divya Agrawal, MD. “I have never seen two patients with exactly the same condition, goals and prescribed treatment plan.”

Dr. Agrawal also points out that patients have varying, unique goals for treatment. Some want to get back to high-level, athletic activities and some are seeking to just work a full day pain-free. However, the primary goals for most patients typically include:

  • Provide enough pain relief to be able to actively participate with physical therapy
  • Prevent further injury or stress to the spine through improved ergonomics and posture
  • Maintain an ability to function at home and at work

Best treatment plan for you

Conservative treatment for back pain varies greatly depending on the cause and severity of a patient’s pain. Most non-operative treatment plans include a combination of medication and pain modalities (and often plus physical therapy), including the following:

  • Medications
  • Analgesics
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Combination drugs
  • Narcotics
  • Anti-depressants
  • Pain modalities
  • Acupuncture (medical)
  • Chiropractic care
  • TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation)
  • Therapeutic massage
  • Ultrasound
  • Trigger point injections
  • Back/neck bracing

“There are dozens of additional nonsurgical, conservative spine treatment options, including yoga, Pilates, chiropractic care, and acupuncture,” says Madhu Singh, MD. “I became certified in acupuncture and have seen great results by incorporating it into many of my patients’ care plan.”

The MOR non-operative spine team also includes specialized chiropractic treatment. Thomas Lotus, DC, is a McKenzie Therapy-trained chiropractic physician who works alongside the other spine care physicians to provide a non-surgical alternative.

MOR physicians like to remind patients that while rest can be a helpful approach to spine care, too much rest can be detrimental. “One or two days of rest can relieve acute pain, but bedrest longer than that could result in muscle atrophy, risk of blood clots or even bone loss,” explains Craig Best, DO.

Specialized treatment

In some patients’ cases, these ‘phase one’ treatments aren’t enough to alleviate pain. “The MOR team is unique because we have had advanced training in the most state-of-the art interventional therapies,” says Dr. Best. “Our clinics are equipped with the necessary technology.”

Interventional procedures include:

  • Cervical, thoracic, and lumbar epidural steroid injections
  • Cervical, thoracic, and lumbar selective nerve root blocks
  • Cervical, thoracic, and lumbar facet joint injections
  • Sacroiliac joint injections
  • Cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral medial branch/lateral branch blocks
  • Cervical, thoracic, lumbar, and sacral radiofrequency ablation
  • Lumbar provocative discography
  • Spinal cord stimulator trials
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections
  • Peripheral joint injections (shoulder/hip/knee)
  • Genicular nerve radiofrequency ablation
  • Greater occipital nerve blocks
  • Trigger point injections
  • Piriformis injections
  • Iliopsoas bursa injections
  • Lumbar sympathetic blocks
  • Stellate ganglion blocks
  • Provocative discography

See a qualified specialist

If you suffer from back pain, there are so many conservative treatment options available to you. Prior to starting any type of treatment, it is important to see an appropriately trained spine physician to develop a treatment program for your specific condition and medical history.

To schedule an appointment with a MOR non-operative spine physician to discuss your back pain, call 877-MD-BONES or book an appointment online here.