If you’re experiencing spinal pain to the point that you’re seeking out medical help, chances are your quality of life is being affected. After all, spinal pain is distracting, it can restrict mobility, it can affect your performance at work — the list goes on. You want relief. For patients who want immediate relief, it seems like the default solutions in modern medicine are pain-relieving drugs (narcotics) or surgery. However, these aren’t always the best solutions overall, and a growing number of people today are looking for alternatives — a way to manage spinal pain without surgery or narcotics.
Fortunately, there are plenty of non-surgical, non-drug options available for back pain sufferers — and we believe a good spinal treatment center should offer a whole array of these options for their patients.
Why Surgery and Narcotics Aren’t Always Best
We live in a “microwave” society where we naturally expect quick fixes to our problems. In their own ways, pain medications and surgery fit the category of a “quick fix.” Narcotics can effectively provide relief and help patients manage chronic pain. And surgery, when successful, may even provide a permanent solution to the problem. If these tools are available and effective, modern logic says, why not use them first?
The answer: Quick fixes aren’t always the best fixes.
Drugs are powerful, but they can be addictive and even result in unwanted side effects. As for surgery, while it can provide lasting relief, it is invasive and presents inherent risks of complications — and even when successful, surgery often creates a permanent change in the body that may affect overall mobility or create other complications down the road.
While surgery and drugs may alleviate short-term and long-term symptoms, their consequences won’t necessarily improve your quality of life. In fact, your quality of life might go down as a result. We believe the goal of medicine shouldn’t just be to fix problems, but rather to heal — to improve our patients’ quality of life. This is why we approach spinal pain management in a more holistic manner. Sometimes drugs and/or surgery are necessary, but they should be the last resort, not the first solution.
Effective Non-Surgical, Non-Drug Pain Management Solutions
So if we put drugs and surgery at the end of the list rather than at the beginning, what are our alternatives? Let’s explore a few treatments for spinal pain management that we have found quite viable. (Many of these are used in conjunction with one another as part of a holistic treatment approach.)
- Physical Therapy. Mobility and flexibility help increase blood flow and reduce pain. A good physical therapist will employ multiple techniques that will help rehabilitate your muscles in a way that doesn’t aggravate any injuries. He/she may also prescribe at-home exercises to complement the work you do together.
- Aquatic Therapy. Our on-site HydroWorx Therapy Pool helps soothe muscle tension while affording the opportunity for muscle-strengthening exercise without painful impacts on the joints.
- Massage Therapy. Strategic massage techniques help relieve muscle tension, release toxins and increase blood flow. This tried-and-true ancient therapy can stimulate muscles, relieve tension, promote circulation and relieve pain.
Steroid Injections. Localized injections of steroids can reduce inflammation and relieve pain, giving the body a chance to heal without the use of addictive medications.
- Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy. With PRP therapy, we draw some of the patient’s blood, separate out the platelet-rich plasma, then re-inject it at the injury site to allow the high concentration of platelet cells to accelerate healing.
- Stem Cell Injection Therapy. This regenerative therapy extracts stem cells from the patient’s own body and reinjects them at the site of injury. These stem cells begin differentiating to replace dead or damaged cells, accelerating the body’s own self-healing process without the use of drugs.
Of course, not every patient will respond to these non-surgical pain management therapies. For these patients, surgery and pain-relief medications may still be their best option. However, we have found that by taking a holistic approach, we have been able to help many people experience genuine pain relief and recovery while avoiding unnecessary surgery and narcotic dependence. To learn more about how we can help you achieve spinal pain management without surgery or narcotics, call Polaris Spine & Neurosurgery Center today at 404-256-2633.