Back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit their physicians. This condition may be caused by several different issues (including trauma, illness, and age). Fortunately, many non-surgical treatments can help relieve back pain. These include medications, physical therapy, chiropractic care, injections, and spinal cord stimulator treatment. However, today we will be focusing on non-surgical treatments that do not require medication or surgery.
There are a variety of non-surgical treatments for back pain. Some people may need medication to help with the pain, while others may need physical therapy or chiropractic care. There are different types of non-surgical injections as well. Most commonly, injections are given into the space surrounding the spinal cord and nerves, called the epidural space. Non-surgical injections may help relieve pain by decreasing inflammation and nearby numbing nerves.
Different Types of Non-Surgical Treatments
There are a variety of different non-surgical treatments for back pain. For example, some people may need medication to help with the pain, while others may need physical therapy or chiropractic care. There are also several different types of non-surgical injections that can be used to help relieve back pain:
Regenerative Medicine Injections
This injection uses growth factors to help promote healing in the damaged tissues. In addition, these injections stimulate the body to release its natural growth factors. These injections are made up of your cells, taken from your body, and often re-injected in the same area. The regenerative medicine treatment is less invasive than surgery because the immune system will not reject these cells. These types of injections are typically used for long-term relief. This may include stem cells, growth factors, or other biologic agents. Therefore, regenerative medicine injections are also known as biologics. There are several types of regenerative medicine injections available to treat back pain. These include:
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections: PRP injections contain a high concentration of platelets, which are cells that help with the healing process. When PRP is injected into an injured area, it can promote tissue regeneration and reduce inflammation. PRP injections have been used to successfully treat various conditions, including sports injuries, chronic pain, and arthritis.
- Stem Cell Injections: Stem cells are unspecialized cells that can transform into other types of cells. When cells are injected into an injured area, they can promote tissue regeneration and reduce inflammation. This type of injection effectively treats chronic pain, joint pain, and osteoarthritis.
- Amniotic Fluid Injections: Amniotic fluid is the water that surrounds and protects a baby in the womb. This fluid is rich in growth factors, proteins that help stimulate cell growth. Amniotic fluid injections can help reduce inflammation and promote tissue regeneration when given to people with back pain.
These injections are often used to control pain symptoms in the legs, feet, and back. In addition, this type of injection may help numb nerve pathways or reduce inflammation. Inflammation can be very painful and is associated with many different types of bodily injury (including spinal surgery). Some epidural injections contain numbing agents like lidocaine, steroids, or botulinum toxins. Lidocaine may be used for temporary pain relief, while steroidal injections can provide more long-term relief. Corticosteroids are naturally occurring chemicals with powerful anti-inflammatory effects that reduce swelling around the spine. Botulinum toxins block chemical signals between nerve cells, which can help reduce pain.
Spinal Cord Stimulation:
This treatment uses electrodes surgically implanted on top of or inside the spinal cord. A small electrical current is sent out by a device placed under your skin (similar to a pacemaker). This current serves as a nerve block, blocking all incoming messages before they reach higher spinal cord levels. This type of stimulation helps to reduce pain signals that are sent to the brain. This treatment is usually reserved for people who have not found relief with other treatments, including injections.
This minimally invasive procedure uses heat to shrink or destroy nerve tissue. This type of treatment is usually reserved for people who have not found relief with other treatments, including injections and medications. It is often used to treat chronic pain conditions. It can also be used alone or combined with a spinal cord stimulator. Radiofrequency ablation is done by inserting a thin probe into the area where the pain occurs. This probe then emits energy in heat, which destroys the surrounding nerve tissue. This treatment is usually reserved for people who have not found relief with other treatments, including injections.
Peripheral Nerve Stimulation:
This type of therapy uses an implanted device that sends a mild electrical current along targeted peripheral nerves to help block pain messages before they reach the spinal cord and brain. This treatment is similar to spinal cord stimulation. However, it is used to treat pain in the arms and legs. A small electrical current is sent through a device placed under your skin which helps to block pain signals from reaching your brain. People who may benefit from this type of treatment include those who cannot take anti-inflammatory drugs or undergo surgery. This type of stimulation may be used alone or in combination with other treatments.
Multimodal Pain Therapy:
This type of therapy combines different non-surgical treatments for back pain, including injections, medications, physical therapy, and spinal cord stimulation. This approach is often used when other treatments have not successfully provided relief from pain. The goal is to give the most appropriate treatment for each patient with the least side effects or complications. In addition, multimodal therapy treats many chronic pain conditions, not just back pain. Therefore, combining different therapies may help to improve the chances of finding relief from pain.
Whichever non-surgical treatment you choose, it is important to discuss the potential risks, including infection and bleeding. In addition, some forms of treatment may not be suitable for people with certain medical conditions or allergies. It is also important to discuss the pain relief expected after non-surgical treatments to determine if this method will work for you. The most effective treatment is determined by pain severity and the location of the injury/damage to the body.