British researchers recently reported that back pain—which affects about 80% of modern-day people—has been around for over four million years.* Just why this should come as a surprise is sort of a mystery to me. The claim here is that these findings prove that sedentary lifestyles aren’t a major cause of back pain. And while sports injuries and trauma also lead to pain, we know for a fact that inactive lifestyles, carrying excessive weight, etc., do often result in back pain.
I think a more relevant study would be an examination of why there has been such a spike in surgeries for back pain when we know that back surgery is often ineffective and (in many cases) completely unnecessary. If we look at the statistics for back pain surgeries, the numbers are pretty disturbing. According to the World Orthopaedic Organisation, there is a 53% rate of failure for low back pain surgery. Even worse, the National Institutes of Health report that the total cost of unnecessary back surgeries in the United States is about $986 million dollars. That’s a lot of waste when we already know that the vast majority of back pain does not require surgery.**
I guess the next question is: what can patients do to alleviate back pain while avoiding surgery?
Our office provides a number of healthy, drug-free options for the rehabilitation and management of back pain. These include chiropractic treatment, acupuncture, and physical therapy. However, whether your back pain is caused by sciatica, an auto accident injury, disc problems, or arthritis, some pain is too severe to be mitigated with these options. For example, some patients find it impossible to use physical therapy because their pain is too serious.
In such cases, some doctors might suggest back surgery. The medical staff at Monmouth Pain and Rehab, however, doesn’t view surgery as the next logical step. Instead, our office may use minimally invasive pain management procedures—such as Epidural Steroid Injections—to help patients get out of pain long enough to rehabilitate and heal.
Epidural Steroid Injections are used to calm the inflammation related to lower back pain. When pain and restricted movement are caused by inflamed spinal nerves, often this interventional procedure can relieve symptoms and allow patients to move once again and begin to heal.
This process involves the injection of an anesthetic and/or long-lasting steroid into the area around the spinal sac (the epidural space). Epidural Steroid Injections are performed safely in our office (often with the aid of Fluoroscopy) in order to help patients avoid the consequences of back surgery. All too often the terrible cycle of inflammation, pain, and immobility leads to the operating table—but it doesn’t have to end that way.
Pain Management for Back Pain at Monmouth Pain and Rehabilitation
Contact our Red Bank medical office today to learn more about conservative rehabilitation and minimally invasive, interventional pain management strategies. We are committed to helping patients avoid surgery and excessive/prolonged use of painkillers whenever possible.
**As reported by the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.