About 8 out of 10 people have or will struggle with back pain at some point in their lives. Whether it’s lower back spasms, a sore neck, or pain shooting up and down your limbs, back pain can take you away from daily work and activities that you would otherwise be able to accomplish.
With back pain being the leading cause of disability worldwide, many patients receive unnecessary and often excessive treatment that includes a great deal of downtime, surgery, and opioid prescriptions. Fortunately, there are other options for back pain that do not include surgery.
Here are the top 5 back surgery alternatives:
1. Diet, Exercise, and Lifestyle
The saying “you are what you eat” is not completely wrong. Chronic pain has been linked to poor diet and lifestyle habits. With regards to diet, if you are eating foods that contribute to inflammation specifically, this can lead to not only chronic pain in muscles, tissues, and joints, but also to diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s.
To avoid this, try balancing a good diet along with steady exercise and stretching, and a healthy lifestyle. These are the basic fundamentals when taking care of your self and eventually hopefully avoiding chronic pain and surgery.
2. Massage Therapy
Massage therapy is a great way to not only find pain relief, but it can also provide benefits such as relaxing muscles, tendons, and joints, relieving stress and anxiety, and stimulating the nerve fibers that send pain messages to the brain. There is also a release of serotonin during massages as well as providing the patient with the high probability of a deeper sleep, therefore, leading to less pain.
Founded in China more than 2,500 years ago, acupuncture has remained a staple in pain relief. Acupuncture involves inserting small needles into different and strategic points on the body. This stimulates the “Qi”- flow of energy, therefore, relieving pain and improving health.
4. Pain Management
While pain management is a broad topic with regards to neck and back pain, epidural injections are a good place to start when seeking pain relief. An epidural steroid Injection helps to reduce the inflammation and pain that come comes along with nerve compression. These compressed nerves can lead to pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness along the nerve.
In the words of Dr. Thomas Heil from Physician Partners of America’s Fort Worth, TX location:
There are a number of ways that epidural steroid injections help with pain relief.
The steroid (or cortisone) is a powerful pain-reliever all by itself, but in addition to simple analgesia, it actually helps to get to the root of what is causing the pain. In medical lingo we refer to this as “targeting the Pain Generator”. For disk herniations, the steroid washes out some of the pain-generating chemicals that are contained in the disk material and simply rinses the materials out from the spinal canal where they are causing pain.
In addition Steroids are strong anti-inflammatory agents that help shrink swelling of irritated tissues and nerves within the spinal canal that are the source of many of the painful symptoms.
5. Regenerative Medicine
Stem cell therapy is a great alternative to surgery when it comes to back or neck pain. Stem cells are naturally grown in the body and widely used in medicine as a natural healing solution. Some of the benefits include improved pain-relief and decreased inflammation, increased functionality and range of motion in affected area, shorter recovery time compared to traditional treatment options, and a more natural, longer-term treatment solution.
When it comes to treating back pain, surgery should be reserved for patients with severe conditions or when one or more natural treatments do not work. For the majority of patients, lifestyle changes and alternative therapies can help keep back and neck pain at a minimum over the long term. Please contact us at Physician Partners of America today to fine out what is the best treatment option for you.