When a person develops significant or acute back pain, it also quite often is accompanied by fear of painful, invasive surgical procedures that may or may not even work. One of the most common questions we hear is “does my back pain require surgery?”
The short answer (and the good news) is: Not necessarily. In fact, while up to 80 percent of Americans experience back pain at some point in their lives, the percentage of those cases requiring surgery is minuscule. The vast majority of back pain issues can be treated effectively without surgery, which is one of the reasons why we recommend surgery as a last resort when other non-invasive treatment options haven’t produced the results we’re looking for.
What are some alternatives to surgery?
Here’s a partial list of non-surgical treatment options that may bring you relief from your back pain:
- Physical therapy: Manual manipulation and strengthening of muscles that can relieve pressure on the back.
- Aquatic therapy: Low impact exercises in the pool can strengthen your core, and the warm water relieves pain.
- Massage therapy: Various forms of massage can improve blood flow and relieve painful inflammation.
- Acupuncture: This ancient treatment can increase circulation, relieve muscular tightness and stimulate the body’s own healing processes.
- Regenerative injection therapy: Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) and Stem Cell Therapy have proven effective in helping the body renew damaged tissues at the injury site.
- Medications: Over the counter and prescription medications (used only as directed) can supplement other treatments to provide temporary pain relief during the recovery process.
When is surgery the best option?
Surgery for back pain is required only in a handful of cases. We typically recommend surgery only in the following instances:
- When non-surgical options have been exhausted without yielding the desired results.
- In cases of severe acute injury or impact (for example, injuries from a severe car crash or fall) where it is apparent non-surgical treatments won’t be effective.
- In emergency instances where further damage to the body is imminent.
Back pain can be understandably scary, especially if you’ve not experienced it before — but as you can see, the number of instances requiring surgery is actually rare. If you experience back pain, don’t assume you need surgery, and don’t be afraid to see a back and spine specialist for fear they will recommend surgery. You likely have many other options to try before that conversation becomes necessary.
To discuss your options for back pain treatment, call Polaris Spine and Neurosurgery Center today at 404-256-2633. We’d love to talk to you.