Wednesday, June 22, 2016

4 Options to Consider Before Spine Surgery

For those who are dealing with chronic neck or back pain that is interfering with quality of life, spine surgery may not be your only option. Physical therapy, injection therapy and additional minimally invasive treatments are options that can be explored before spine surgery.

1. Physical Therapy

Physical therapy focuses on strengthening the core muscles of the back and can go a long way toward alleviating back pain. In fact, a review published in the Journal of American Medical Association showed that Physical Therapy reduced the risk of repeated lower back pain. 

The core muscles are the muscles that surround the spine and help provide stability for the spine.  The core functions as the center for all movements. 

Depending upon the area of injury, a skilled Physical Therapist will develop a treatment plan focused on strengthening that area, which will result in decreased pain.  When done over a period of time, they will result in your developing muscular endurance, enhanced strength, and better neuromuscular control.

2. Epidural Steroid Injections

Depending upon the area of the injury in conjunction with the element of the spine that is causing pain, injection therapy can provide extensive relief from pain.  Several different conditions, including herniated discs or spinal stenosis, can cause inflammation that narrows the spinal canal, which results in what is commonly referred to as ‘sciatica’. These injections utilize medications (a combination of local anesthetic and steroid) to target the area of the spine where inflammation or injury has occurred.  The resulting reduction in swelling relieves pressure on the nerves and substantially reduces pain.  Injections may be repeated, though not more than three times in a six month time period.  This avoids any adverse side effects the corticosteroid may have on whole body health.

3. Radiofrequency Ablation 

The nerve branches of the spine are responsible for transmitting pain signals to the brain.  Targeting these nerve branches and utilizing Radiofrequency Ablation (also known as dorsal rhizotomy) can essentially turn off these signals.  These procedures utilize a small needle, which inserted into the space surrounding the spine where these offending nerve branches are located.  During a Radiofrequency Ablation procedure, radiofrequency signals are passed through this needle and into the spinal nerves to interrupt the pain signals pathways into the brain.  Radiofrequency ablation procedures have been shown to be both safe and effective in relieving pain as a result of spinal conditions.

4. Stimulation Therapy

Do you know someone who has had spinal surgery and still has ongoing lower back or leg pain?  Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS) therapy can be especially helpful in situations where repeat spinal surgery is not recommended or too risky.  SCS therapy changes the processing of pain signals sent to the brain and allows for return of function and less reliance on medication.  The therapy also starts with a trial process, so there is no permanent changes to the spine if there is no pain relief.  More information can be provided if you are interested in this exciting, revolutionary, and evolving technology.

The multi-disciplinaryspine team at AdvancedBone & Joint can treat a wide variety of spinal conditions.  Our team utilizes the expertise of Board Certified Interventional Pain Management specialist, Dr. Brian Meek. In most cases, spine surgery can be avoided using a comprehensive approach that includes InterventionalPain Management and Physical Therapy.  If surgery is required, Orthopedic Spine Surgeon, Dr.David Minges, is up-to-date with the most advanced surgical techniques, including minimally invasive surgery.   This approach can be utilized to treat certain spinal conditions and substantially minimize the postoperative recovery period.

If you, or someone you love, are suffering from an acute or chronic spinal condition – please contactus today to set up a consultation with our spine team.  Advanced Bone & Joint offers on-site diagnostic imaging and has officesin both St. Peter’s and O’Fallon, MO.

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