n Non Surgical Procedures - AOA Orthopedic Specialists

Non Surgical Procedures

SpineIcon[message type=”custom” width=”75%” start_color=”#dbe4ed” end_color=”#dbe4ed” border=”#dbe4ed” color=”#00547d”]Non Surgical Procedures[/message]

Treatments for back pain are multiple and varied. At times counseling and education about the problem to ease a person’s anxiety is enough to make it tolerable until the episode resolves. A few days of rest can often calm the pain down as well. Prolonged bed rest (more than 2 days to 3 days) is no longer generally recommended. Medications such as non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) or acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be helpful. Occasionally stronger medications such as muscle relaxants and narcotics are used for a short period.

Although there is minimal scientific evidence of their effectiveness in treating low back pain, back braces are commonly used. Most common is a corset type brace that can be wrapped around the back and abdomen. People who use them sometimes report feeling better supported and more comfortable. Although there is little definite proof that they help, there is also little risk to using them.

A number of treatments called passive modalities are also used frequently. These are treatments in which the patient isn’t required to actively do anything. Passive modalities include heat, cold, massage, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, traction and acupuncture. All of these measures can help some people with back pain. How long the benefit will be or what the chances are of receiving benefit from any of these treatments isn’t completely known.

Another form of passive treatment is spinal manipulation. There are many different practitioners of spinal manipulation, each with their own style of manipulation. This has also at times improved symptoms of back pain.

Injections are sometimes used as well. The most commonly used medications are local anesthetic and/or steroids. They are usually given either in the area that is felt to possibly be the source of the pain, such as in to a muscle or facet joint, or around the nerves of the spine (an epidural or nerve root injection). Injections are occasionally placed into the disc, but this is done far less frequently.

What is generally felt to be most appropriate and effective for most people with back pain is a good course of exercise and stretching. Restoring motion and strength to a painful lumbar spine can be very helpful at improving pain. Although there is controversy as to what are the best spine exercises, it is generally agreed that exercise should be both aerobic (aimed at improving heart and lung function) as well as specific to the spine. Aerobic exercises include walking, jogging, swimming, bicycling etc.

Instruction in lifting techniques can be helpful as well. Improperly bending over to lift can cause a large increase in strain on the low back. Proper lifting keeps the back straight while you bend with the knees.

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