If you’ve suffered a moderate to severe back injury, you already know that the pain can be at times overwhelming and unbearable. Many people assume the default solution for this type of injury is major invasive surgery, which they assume is costly, disruptive and sometimes risky. The good news is you have more options than you think. Thanks in part to modern medical advances, there are now a variety of effective pain management treatments for severe back injuries, and surgery is only one of those options. Your doctor will be able to evaluate your injury and determine which alternatives are viable for you.
Before resigning yourself to surgery, let’s explore a few examples of these treatments that have shown to be highly effective in managing pain in back injury patients.
When you feel immobilized by back pain, you might feel like movement is the last thing you need right now. But believe it or not, the right types of movements can go a long way toward helping you manage the pain, as well as preventing further aggravation of the injury. In addition, physical therapy is about more than just manual movement or exercise; it can also include pain relief techniques like cupping, kineseotaping and other solutions that can help alleviate the inflammation around the injury itself.
Pain can be aggravated by physical tension in the body as well as inflammation of the soft tissue surrounding the injury. Sometimes this devolves into a vicious cycle that continues to amplify the pain. Strategic massage therapy can help break that cycle and mitigate the factors that are intensifying the pain, potentially providing significant relief as you recover from your back injury.
It turns out there’s something to this ancient technique. For some patients, acupuncture provides a holistic alternative to surgery by relieving tension and improving circulation in key parts of the body — and despite the stigma some have about it, acupuncture is almost completely painless in itself.
Platelet-rich Plasma (PRP) treatments have revolutionized the field of regenerative medicine and pain management in recent years — and the great thing is that it utilizes your body’s own natural cells to promote healing. Platelets are the cells in your blood that cause clotting and accelerate healing. PRP treatment involves drawing blood from the patient, spinning it in a centrifuge to extract the platelet-rich plasma, concentrating the plasma and re-injecting it at the point of injury. This reinjected plasma contains up to 10 times more platelets than are normally found in your blood, effectively jump-starting the healing process and accelerating your body’s own ability to heal itself.
Due to their potential to cause addiction, doctors today tend to be more sparing with pain meds, and certainly we don’t advise relying on them exclusively to manage severe back pain. However, under proper doctor supervision and/or at times of acute pain, medication may play at least a secondary role in your pain management plan.
When other non-invasive alternatives either don’t work or aren’t doing enough to manage the pain — or for injuries that can’t necessarily heal themselves — surgery may still be a viable option. That said, medical advances and modern techniques have been able to greatly reduce the invasiveness of many of these procedures in recent years. For the patient, this means lower costs, reduced risk of complications, reduced post-operative pain and quicker recovery times. Some back and spine procedures can now even be performed on an outpatient basis, enabling the patient to recover at home.
Today, when you suffer a significant back injury, surgery is no longer the default treatment; you have many options available to you that can help you manage the pain while you recover. However, even if surgery is your best solution, you aren’t necessarily looking at risky procedures and extended recovery times. In the vast majority of cases, spine surgery is safer now than it has ever been. Depending on your situation, you’ll be able to get on with your life quicker than you think — without the pain included.
Polaris Spine and Neurosurgery Center is committed to exploring all pain management treatment options for our patients with severe back injuries, choosing surgery only as a last resort. To learn more about treatments that might help you, call us today at 404-256-2633.