Surgery seems to be one of the most feared recommendations for patients, especially patients with low back pain. The thought of getting rods, plates, and screws inserted into your spine is enough to prompt anyone to look for other methods of dealing with lower back pain. There are certainly times were surgery is necessary, however, for the majority of low back pain patients surgery can be avoided. This is where the specialists at Pacific Pain Physicians come in. The goal of a pain management physician is to manage their patients’ pain using minimally invasive interventional procedures as part of a comprehensive pain management plan to keep them from needing to undergo surgery. Luckily, for patients with acute or chronic lower back pain, there are a myriad of treatment options to try before even considering invasive spinal surgery in today’s progressive medical climate.
If your back pain is a recent occurrence, the majority of the time, it will most likely get better with activity modification, over the counter anti-inflammatories, and time. If your back pain still persists after several weeks, a thorough examination and evaluation by a trained Interventional Pain Physician can help determine the source of your back pain and treatments can be performed targeting the pain generator.
Once you are being treated by a pain management physician for lower back pain, a treatment plan is devised starting with the most conservative measures. These conservative measures consist of one of the following or a combination of prescribed medications, physical therapy, acupuncture, and nutritional optimization. A physician might even administer a trigger point injection into the affected area. The patient will usually follow up with their doctor after several weeks of undergoing conservative treatment to assess their pain levels after completion.
In the event that your back pain still persists, your doctor may recommend epidural injections, nerve blocks, stem cell therapy, radiofrequency ablation, or sacroiliac joint injections. All of these procedures are able to be performed without putting a patient under general anesthesia, and the procedures and recovery times are both very short as compared to surgery.
For patients who have been experiencing back pain for years, or the patients who suffered an acute injury and conservative treatment hasn’t helped their back pain, there are even more non-surgical options. Vertiflex Superion is a revolutionary minimally invasive treatment that fills in the gap between conservative care and invasive surgery. During the minimally invasive procedure, your specialist makes a small incision in your back and places the Superion implant in between your vertebrae. Your specialist then opens the arms of the Superion implant to separate the vertebrae, provide stability to your spine, and relieve the pressure on your nerves. Spinal Cord Stimulation is yet another option. A spinal cord stimulator is an implanted device that sends low levels of electricity directly into the spinal cord to relieve pain. Spinal cord stimulators not only work to keep patients away from invasive spine surgery, but they are also the leading recommended treatment for patients who have failed back surgery syndrome. Even though these two options are more invasive than injections or nerve blocks, they still aren’t considered to be spine surgery, and nothing in the spine is removed or altered during these procedures.
Whether your back pain is a brand new occurrence or has been lingering for years, there are plenty of treatment options before you should even consider undergoing spine surgery. Schedule yourself an appointment with one of the specialists at Pacific Pain Physicians to find out how to relieve your back pain and keep yourself off of the operating room table.