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Non-Surgical Options for Back Pain

If you have a persistent spine problem, it is recommended that you follow-up with a medical provider who can evaluate your condition and come up with a plan. However, most spine conditions are well managed non-surgically. Catherine Robinson, PA-C, shares some great options for non-surgical management for your back pain.

Options may include:

  • Activity modification and preventative care:
    • Try to identify and avoid certain positions and activities that consistently aggravate your pain.
    • Practice good lifting technique and maintain good posture.
    • Ensure your work station set up ergonomically.
  • Medications: There are multiple classes of over-the-counter and prescription non-narcotic medications that can be helpful.
    • Start by trying over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and/or anti-inflammatory medication. Always check with your primary care provider first to make sure this is an appropriate option for you.
    • Your provider may recommend prescription medication such as oral steroids, muscle relaxants, nerve pain medications or prescription anti-inflammatory medication.
    • Often ice or heat can work as well, or better than medications.
  • Physical therapy:
    • Physical therapy is an important mainstay in most spine conditions. It will likely include stretching exercises as well as trunk and core strengthening to improve flexibility and stability. Physical therapy can also include several pain relieving modalities such as ultrasound, massage, traction, TENs, and myofascial release.
  • Injections:
    • Injections can be helpful in both establishing a diagnosis (diagnostic injection) and/or alleviating pain (therapeutic injection).There are several different types of injections that may be beneficial for your particular situation.
  • Bracing:
    • Custom or pre-fabricated bracing may be recommended in certain situations, especially fracture care and spine deformity.
    • The use of a brace is not the right option in every situation. It may be recommended for periodic use, during times of increased physical activity or heavy lifting.
  • Alternative medicine:
    • Chiropractic Care, acupuncture and massage may alleviate both acute and chronic symptoms.