Treatment for back pain and spinal conditions can vary from conservative treatment methods that might include rest and over the counter anti-inflammatory medications, to bracing, injections, and even surgery. It is important to work with your doctor to find the best course of treatment for you.
Select from the list below to learn about different treatment methods.
Most often, doctors initiate treatment with conservative care, meaning that treatment does not involve surgery. This may include physical therapy, consisting of various exercises designed to improve mobility and strengthen the back, or it may include ultrasound treatments, with special sound waves designed to help foster healing of the back sprain or strain.
Occasionally, doctors will use traction at home or in the hospital by applying weights to the legs or head, stretching the spine to relieve pressure on the discs. Various types of braces may also be used to help prevent unwanted movement of the spine.
Finally, doctors may prescribe various pain relievers and other medications, ranging from muscle relaxants to over-the-counter medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen for pain. The next level of treatment involves injections of medicine into the affected area. Doctors usually use a type of cortisone or a steroid to provide pain relief.
Spinal surgery is done under a general anesthetic and a portion of the back is opened for surgical work. The surgeon may have to remove the portion of the backbone known as the lamina in order to reach the damaged disc and take out the portion that is causing problems. If the back is unstable in that area, the doctor may need to perform a fusion, taking some bone from another area of the patient’s body (usually the hip) and grafting it into place. These bone fragments then fuse or grow together. This improves the stability and helps ease pain, but unfortunately does restrict the movement of that part of the spine. It may be necessary to utilize spine instrumentation to aid in the fusion process.