Millions of people in the US live with debilitating back pain. In fact, back pain is the leading cause of disability in people under the age of 45. If your back pain is getting in the way of your daily activities, the following seven Shrewsbury back pain treatments may help alleviate your symptoms.
1. Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is the back foundation of back pain treatment and is often the first intervention. It should always be performed with the guidance of a spine physical therapist and physician. Since the same sets of exercises will not work for everyone, these experts will help tailor your regimen to your symptoms. The routines may be geared toward:
- Strengthening your core
- Stretching and increasing flexibility
- Checking your pain tolerance
- Retraining your posture and gait
2. Lifestyle Modifications
One of the best ways to alleviate back pain is by adapting to the limitations it causes. This involves avoiding strenuous activities, giving up smoking – nicotine is known to delay healing and amplify pain – and exercising regularly.
Your doctor may prescribe certain medications to help alleviate your back pain. These include muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs, and analgesics, among others. However, because most of these drugs come with side effects, they are not designed for prolonged use. They also do not address the underlying cause of back pain and are only prescribed to offer relief.
Chronic back pain can also be treated through injection-based interventions like nerve ablations, epidural steroid injections, and nerve blocks. This form of treatment is common where the cause of the pain is known, and other treatments are understood not to work. However, injections only alleviate back pain for a given period of time and are never used in isolation or as long-term solutions.
5. Alternative Treatments
Alternative treatments like electrical nerve stimulation, laser therapy, biofeedback therapy, massage, and acupuncture can significantly improve back pain. They are often recommended before surgical interventions because they are noninvasive and often effective.
6. Dietary Changes and Weight Loss
Inflammatory diets, such as those containing high levels of processed foods, refined sugars, and trans fats, can worsen back pain. You can work with your doctor to change your diet and maintain a healthy weight to reduce the pressure exerted on your spine.
7. Meditation and Mindfulness
Because chronic back pain can also be emotionally straining, doctors can recommend mindfulness and meditation to deal with these psychological effects. This can help you manage the irritability, frustration, or depression caused by constant pain. In this treatment, you will likely work with a rehabilitation psychologist who will take you through relaxation strategies like yoga and tai chi.
When Is Surgery Necessary for Back Pain?
Sometimes, noninvasive treatment options may be insufficient to treat back pain. When this happens, your doctor may recommend surgery. Back pain could warrant surgery if, in addition to not responding to other treatments, it causes the following symptoms:
- Weakness in the limbs
- Increased (brisk) reflexes
- Balance or gait problems
- Bowel or bladder issues
Back pain is often debilitating, whether it is chronic or acute. If your back pain is making it difficult for you to live a quality life, you and your doctor can explore these and more treatments. The team at the Center for the Functional Restoration of the Spine is dedicated to helping you find relief and live your best life through minimally invasive spine surgery and robotic surgery where necessary. Contact one of their New Jersey offices or book an appointment online today to learn more.