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Guide to Low Back Pain - Non-Surgical Treatment Options

Non-surgical Treatment Options

In the vast majority of cases, low back pain can be addressed through a wide range of non-surgical treatments.  As is true with many medical problems, the same treatment option does not work consistently for the same problems.  For example, for any two people with the identical herniated disc problem, one may find sufficient pain relief from an epidural steroid injection but no pain relief from chiropractic, and the second may find the opposite is true.

  • Chiropractic.  This specialty focuses on the alignment of the spine and holds that dysfunction of the spine or vertebrae can affect other body systems, resulting in pain. Treatment often involves manual manipulation or adjustment of the spinal column. Chiropractors do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery.  Certain other healthcare professionals also specialize in manual manipulation, such as some Doctors of Osteopathy or Physical Therapists.
  • Physical therapy. Physical therapists begin by testing and measuring strength, range of motion, balance and coordination, posture, muscle performance, respiration and motor function. Treatment typically consists of a customized exercise instruction designed to reduce pain and improve function. The patient’s progress is tracked throughout treatment with periodic examinations, and treatment is modified if the therapist deems necessary.
  • Injections.  There are a wide ranges of injections designed to treat (and sometimes help diagnose) specific low back conditions.  One common type of injection is an epidural steroid injection, which delivers steroids to decrease inflammation and the associated pain. Often an epidural steroid injection is used to provide immediate pain relief so that the patient may make progress with rehabilitation and physical therapy.

Pain medications are typically an integral part of many low back treatment programs.

There are a wide range of other possible pain treatment options, including therapeutic massage, water therapy, and acupuncture. Combinations of any of the aforementioned treatments may be used to give the patient as much relief as possible.


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The information provided herein should not be used as a substitute for medical advice in any way.  A licensed medical professional should be consulted for any and all medical conditions and symptoms.

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