03 Oct Top 5 Ways to Avoid Back Surgery and Get Relief
Over 90% of individuals suffer from back pain at some point in life. While the vast majority of back pain resolves on its own, an unfortunate few will end up with chronic, debilitating pain.
If you or a loved one is dealing with chronic back pain, eventually there may come a time when surgery is considered. Unfortunately, surgery for back pain has a very high failure rate of 40% within two years. In addition, the need for revision surgery within 5 years is exceptionally high as well.
Therefore, it is best to avoid an operation if at all possible. Here are the Top 5 Ways to Avoid Back Surgery and Obtain Relief:
1. Medication Management
Chronic narcotics are not the answer when dealing with back pain. They may be helpful acutely for short term exacerbations though.
There are quite a few medications that may be extremely helpful for back pain. This includes NSAIDS, Tylenol and possibly neurogenic medications such as Lyrica if one is also having nerve related pain. Pain patches are great as well since they provide local relief without reaching the bloodstream.
2. Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Treatment
Whether the back pain is a result of degenerative disc disease, spinal arthritis or degenerative scoliosis, nonoperative treatment with PT and/or chiropractic treatment may help considerably. The treatment can help strengthen the core muscles, increase flexibility and relieve spasms.
These treatments may include modalities such as electrical stimulation, TENS units, spinal decompression therapy or iontophoresis.
3. Epidural Injections
These injections are not really meant simply for back pain. However, a lot of times back pain also has a component of buttock and leg pain due to associated spinal stenosis, or nerve root irritation. Therefore, epidural steroid injections may help considerably to relieve pain as they are excellent for nerve related pain.
Epidural injections may be given as a series of three one to two weeks apart and can be repeated every few months. During this time, the nerve root irritation may resolve on its own.
4. Facet and Medial Branch Blocks
These procedures are low risk, outpatient and very effective for back pain. They involve placing steroid and/or numbing medicine either into the painful joint or around it. Back pain relief is often obtained for months at a time, and the procedures can easily be repeated as necessary. If desired, the next step for relief may be a radiofrequency ablation.
5. Radiofrequency Ablation
One of the most revolutionary innovations of the 21st Century for pain relief, radiofrequency ablation offers a long term solution for back pain. The procedure “deadens” the medial branches, which are tiny sensory nerve endings located at each level of the spine.
The research on radiofrequency procedures shows that back pain relief averages 15 months, and can then be repeated with the expectation for the same outcome. The procedure is outpatient and covered by all major insurance plans including Medicare.
6. The Bonus Option – Regenerative Medicine
Over the last five years, stem cell and PRP therapy has emerged as an excellent option for treatment of degenerative disc disease and also spinal arthritis. New research is proving its effectiveness, while showing the treatments to be low risk as well.
These five options help over 90% of those suffering from chronic pain avoid the need for back surgery.