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Conservative Pain Management: How it Works

Common sense dictates that effective pain management strategies always involve the least invasive and most conservative options possible. That is, if physical therapy and chiropractic care are effective in resolving a patient’s back pain, there is no need for steroid injections or any other more invasive procedure.

Our office considers surgery to be a method of last resort and recognizes the overwhelming body of evidence that supports the fact that most people undergoing back surgeries today (including spinal fusion) not only do not require surgery, but will also not benefit from such intervention.

For example, some patients with disc injuries in the neck or lower back will recover using physical therapy. Physical therapy practices for disc injuries include spinal decompression, which works to gently separate the bones of the spine in order to relieve pressure on spinal nerves. This action also pulls herniated disc material away from spinal nerves and back into its protective shell. For some patients, this therapy begins the healing process and resolves the many symptoms associated with disc injuries.

Other physical therapy techniques used in our office include customized programs of therapeutic exercise, low level laser therapy, ultrasound, and electrotherapy.

Physical therapy is often used in conjunction with chiropractic care in order to resolve disc injuries. The chiropractic treatment most often used in our office is based on biomechanics and physics (Chiropractic Biophysics) and is concerned with the total health and proper positioning of the entire spine.

Some patients suffering from the symptoms of disc injuries benefit from the pain-reduction associated with acupuncture treatment. Acupuncture produces a very real and proven biomechanical response in the brain in order to take advantage of the body’s natural abilities to fight pain.

As mentioned above, some patients simply do not respond to physical therapy or chiropractic or they are suffering from pain or other symptoms that prohibit the ability to do so. Our Medical Director may then use interventional pain management in the form of an Epidural Steroid Injection. This is a minimally invasive procedure that reduces inflammation and associated pain in the spinal nerves.

For patients that do not find desired results through chiropractic, physical therapy, acupuncture, or interventional procedures, our medical office is affiliated with several nearby facilities in order to provide radiofrequency ablation—the process of using heat to destroy the nerves responsible for sending pain signals to the brain. For patients suffering from unrelenting pain associated with lower back pain or herniated or bulged discs, this can provide welcome relief. In the end, if relief is still not forthcoming, our office may also perform a Discogram—a more involved diagnostic procedure for disc injuries.