If you struggle with chronic back pain, you’re not alone. Roughly 8% of adults deal with long-term back pain.
While some doctors will immediately tell you to get surgery, there are some minimally invasive treatments for acute back pain as well. These can help you get your life back on track without undergoing serious operations.
So, are you ready to learn about what noninvasive treatments a chronic back pain doctor in Maryland can provide? Read this guide to find out!
1. Physical Therapy
One of the keys to treating chronic back pain is to get physical exercise. Physical exercise is important because it helps strengthen your back and keep your muscles strong and healthy.
If you’re experiencing back pain, physical therapy should in fact be the first treatment you try with your chronic pain management doctor!
When you get the right exercise, you can start to strengthen weakened muscles in your back. This will help support your weight and reduce your pain in the long run.
However, it’s important to note that everyone needs different exercises. Your doctor will have to evaluate your specific symptoms to figure out which exercises are going to work for the type of back pain you’re dealing with.
On top of that, once you finish physical therapy, you’ll need to continue exercising. This is what helps you maintain the work you did with your therapist!
A few types of exercise you may perform in physical therapy for back pain include:
- Exercises to improve your posture
- Testing your pain tolerance limits
- Flexibility exercises
- Aerobic exercises
- Core strengthening exercises
- Targeted strength exercises
2. Mindfulness and Meditation
Many people don’t realize that chronic back pain can lead to mental health issues. In fact, some doctors claim that back pain can increase your risk for stress, depression, anxiety, psychosis, and sleep issues.
Well, for one thing, chronic back pain can wear you down. Over time, you can start to feel hopeless that you’ll ever get over it or stressed about the pain.
On top of that, chronic back pain causes your muscles to tense up. When you become stressed, this can worsen the situation and lead to even more back pain.
Because of that, a big part of managing your back pain means managing your mental health. This helps make sure that you don’t worsen your problem or develop concurrent mental health issues.
There are tons of ways that you can practice meditation and mindfulness, including:
- Tai Chi
- Cognitive relaxation strategies
3. Changing Your Diet
You might be surprised to hear that your diet can affect back pain. Some diets are very inflammatory and can lead to chronic, uncomfortable pain (and not just in your back, either).
A few foods that you might want to steer clear of if you’re dealing with back pain include:
- Red meat
- Highly processed foods and foods with added sugars
- White bread, pasta, rice, and other refined carbs
- Whole-fat dairy
- Sugary drinks and snacks
- Fried foods
At the same time as removing these items from your diet, there are some foods that you should be eating. These include:
- Fish: fish are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids
- Beans: grains, seeds, nuts, and pulses are all good additions to your diet
- Poultry and eggs: just remove the skin of the chicken
- Red wine: A glass a day adds healthy antioxidants to your diet
On top of that, eating a healthy diet, in general, can help you maintain your weight. By maintaining a healthy weight, you can reduce excess pressure on your back.
Remember, you should speak with your doctor before altering your diet. He or she will be able to provide a more comprehensive analysis of what could be to blame for your back pain.
4. Make Lifestyle Modifications
If you’re dealing with chronic back pain, you need to be aware of what you can and cannot do. While people without back pain may be able to do certain activities, you might not be able to.
One important part of managing chronic back pain is to listen to your body and know your limitations. Know when you need to take breaks in order to stay healthy.
If you can, you may want to avoid strenuous activities such as mowing the lawns or lugging hefty bags of groceries around. Making these small lifestyle changes can help you reduce your pain.
On top of that, making these adjustments can help your condition from advancing. When you make small changes to the way you go about your day, you can protect your back from further damage.
Finally, if you’re a smoker, it’s a good idea to ditch this habit. Nicotine accentuates pain and can even delay healing, causing your problems to linger and preventing you from getting over your back pain.
5. Injection-Based Treatments
One of the best ways to treat chronic back pain is through injection-based treatments. There are a few different types of injection therapies you can use, including:
- Epidural steroid injections
- Medial branch blocks
- Radiofrequency ablations
- Trigger point injections
- Occipital nerve blocks
- Sacroiliac joint injections
- Facet joint injections
- Stellate ganglion blocks
- Lumbar sympathetic blocks
Injections can be a great way to reduce your pain for a set period of time. However, you may need repeat injections in order to fully get rid of your pain.
Here’s what to know about each of these injections and how they can help with back pain.
Epidural Steroid Injections
These injections are delivered in your back’s epidural region. They’re used with local anesthetics and are great for treating chronic back pain.
Medial Branch Blocks
These injections target the medial branch and can help provide isolated pain relief. They can also provide you with a way to figure out where your pain is coming from.
This procedure is used in conjunction with medial branch blocks. They’re a great follow-up treatment to help you reduce back pain and start feeling your best.
Trigger Point Injections
These injections target trigger points in clusters of muscles. They help relieve spasms in the back that can cause chronic back pain.
Occipital Nerve Blocks
This injection is put in the occipital nerve, which is located at the base of the neck. It can help with back and shoulder pain.
Sacroiliac Joint Injections
This is an anti-inflammatory injection. It helps reduce pain around the sacroiliac joint.
Facet Joint Injections
This helps to relieve both neck and back pain. This injection is inserted into facet joints and can reduce inflammation but won’t provide permanent relief.
Stellate Ganglion Blocks
This injection is best for back pain targeted in the neck and upper back. This injection’s effects can last for several weeks at a time.
Lumbar Sympathetic Blocks
Lumbar sympathetic blocks are ideal for those with lower back pain. They can also help to relieve sciatica.
6. Try Alternative Medicine
If you’re open-minded, you may want to think about trying alternative medicine. There are several alternative practices that may provide you with relief from your back pain.
Acupuncture uses thin needles to target pressure points on the body. It can help with a number of different ailments, and one of those may be back pain.
Massages are also great for relieving back pain. Massages work the muscles and help soothe out knots and points of tension that could be causing pain.
Biofeedback therapy helps you recognize physical pain through auditory or visual cues. It’s often used to help people with stress and anxiety and can be a great way to help limit chronic back pain caused by these issues.
Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Electrical nerve stimulation delivers low voltage electric currents to the back. This can help loosen up muscles and relieve pain.
7. Use Pharmaceuticals
One way that people deal with chronic back pain is to use pharmaceutical medications. There are a number of different drugs that people may use to help with back pain.
One type of drug is non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These drugs include things like ibuprofen and general painkillers. You can use over-the-counter versions of the medicine or can opt for higher strength, prescription medicines.
Some patients may also use muscle relaxants. Muscle relaxants can help your shoulders and back loosen up, relieving chronic back pain.
Just keep in mind that some medications used for back pain can be highly addictive. For instance, opioid medications usually are considered a last resort as they can lead to dependence.
Regardless of what type of medicine you’re considering for back pain, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor first. He or she will be able to tell you what medicine might work for your unique situation.
Treat Chronic Back Pain With Noninvasive Methods
If you’re wanting to avoid invasive treatments for chronic back pain, you can. Any of these methods are ideal for keeping your back pain at bay and staying healthy and comfortable.