Are you living with chronic back pain? Approximately 100 million Americans have some form of chronic pain, which can make performing day-to-day tasks challenging and burdensome. Fortunately, advancements in modern science have led to the development of sophisticated treatment options to provide relief from chronic pain. If exercise, physical therapy, stress management and a healthy diet are not enough to alleviate your back pain, then consider these other treatment options. Talk to a spinal neurosurgeon like Dr. James K. Kaufman MD for more information about treatment for chronic back pain.
- Medication. There are several different types of medication used to treat back pain. Though primarily used to treat seizures, anticonvulsants are also effective for treating chronic pain. Another option is low doses of antidepressants; these drugs regulate the levels of chemicals in the brain, such as norepinephrine and serotonin, which is believed to help control pain. Pain relief creams and sprays might also be useful, as they can help minimize the sensation of pain and reduce inflammation. For severe cases of chronic back pain, narcotics may be prescribed.
- Nerve Block Therapy. Nerve block therapy involves injecting a local anesthetic into a specific nerve or group of nerves to ease pain. Nerve blocks aim to block a targeted pain signal and/or decrease inflammation.
- Electrotherapy. Electrotherapy, such as Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), uses low-voltage electric stimulation to relieve pain. A small, battery-powered device is placed on the skin, and its electrodes are connected to the skin on the pain area to create electrical impulses that inhibit pain signals coming from the peripheral nerves. It’s believed that the electrical stimulation helps stimulate endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain relievers.
- Surgery. When all else fails, you may want to consider surgery. Today there are many minimally invasive surgical procedures geared toward treating spinal injuries and back pain. Minimally invasive surgery differs from open spine surgery in that it is performed through the skin or a small incision. There are typically fewer complications associated with minimally invasive procedures, such as spinal fusion and decompression, as well as a shorter hospital stay and recovery period.
Each case of chronic back pain is unique. To determine which treatment option will be most effective for treating your pain, schedule a consultation with a spinal neurosurgeon.