If you’re among the millions of Americans suffering with it, you’ve probably seen the term “pain management” in your research of the condition. But what does pain management do for back pain?
What does Pain Management Do for Back Pain?
Those who live with back pain not only have decreased mobility, they also demonstrate a significantly higher rate of sleep problems and even a higher propensity for mental health issues and depression. It is critical that they find a pain management treatment plan that works for them and their back pain, which can have a variety of causes and is usually classified as acute pain and injury, chronic pain, pain due to nerve injury or palliative pain.
When you ask a provider, “What does pain management do for back pain?” they should be able to give you a clear understanding of the realistic goals for your pain management treatment plan. When undertaken correctly by knowledgeable, licensed practitioners, a multi-disciplinary approach that includes a comprehensive pain management treatment plan is among the most effective ways to treat back pain.
To answer the question, what does pain management do for back pain, we must address the several treatments that are very frequently used in pain management for back pain.
Elements of Pain Management Treatment Plans
In addition to over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), a licensed practitioner can also prescribe other drug therapies as appropriate to treat back pain. Oftentimes, stronger NSAIDs are the medication prescribed. However, certain side effects or severity of pain often requires other treatments either instead of or in coordination with prescription treatments for back pain.
Chiropractors primarily specialize in a nonsurgical treatment of the nervous system and musculoskeletal structures through direct manipulation of the spine and the components found within. In addition to back pain relief, this alignment of the musculoskeletal structure can help prevent future injuries and can allow damaged tissues the opportunity to adequately heal. The number of and types of chiropractic treatments needed will depend on the type and severity of the issue, as well as the success of other treatments for the corresponding injuries.
Physical therapy is effective in treating and preventing future back pain by the practice of exercises to strengthen and stretch affected areas. While it sounds really simple, proper physical therapy often plays a fundamental role in a comprehensive pain management treatment plan and in ensuring that the execution of that plan results in optimal quality of life in the patient’s years to come.
Ambulatory Surgical Procedures
While technically still a surgical procedure, ambulatory surgical procedures (ASP) are unique in that they are outpatient treatments that are more affordable and carry far less risk of infection when compared to traditional surgeries in hospital settings. Some of the ASP offered at Arrowhead Health Centers, for example, includes:
- Epidural Steroid Injections: The use of anesthetic and steroid medications injected into the epidural space of the spine to reduce swelling, relieve pain, and/or diagnose a specific condition.
- Facet Injections: Injections used to provide pain relief and to determine if the facet joints are the source of pain.
- Medial Branch Blocks and Nerve Blocks: Injections performed to reduce inflammation and pain and to determine if a specific spinal nerve root is the source of pain.
- Radiofrequency Neuroablation: This procedure “turns off” pain signals by applying heated electrodes to specific nerves that carry pain signals to the brain.
- Sympathetic Block: A local anesthetic injection that blocks the nerve signals at various levels in the body to relieve pain.
- Spinal Cord Stimulation: The use of electrical impulses that are used to block pain from being perceived in the brain.
- Manipulation Under Anesthesia (MUA): A non-invasive procedure that treats acute and chronic conditions, including, neck pain, back pain, joint pain, fibrous adhesions, and long term pain syndromes.
At-Home Treatments for Back Pain
In addition to the medical treatments and therapy provided by your practitioners, you should expect counseling as to things you can do yourself at home to complement and reinforce your formal treatment for back pain. Depending on your situation, these steps might include changes to your diet, yoga & stretching, massage or the application of certain ointments.
So what does pain management do for back pain? Unlike many approaches to treating back pain, true pain management does not follow any one-size-fits-all treatment. Instead, it is often a combination of complementary treatments coordinated to reach optimal results. Ideally, those who are suffering with back pain will have a team of primary care providers, pain & injury providers, physical therapists and chiropractors working together to create individualized pain management treatment plans. By working collaboratively, those practitioners can tackle a multitude of back pains.
To learn more about Arrowhead Health Center’s work, including their pain management services, contact the team today. We will be happy to discuss your situation and whether or not you are a good candidate for this treatment approach.