Chronic back pain treatment

Chronic back pain is typically described as back pain that lasts more than three months. If this describes your condition, taking early action may improve your quality of life and relieve your pain. The goal of chronic back pain management is to reduce symptoms enough to comfortably engage in everyday activities. This process begins with education and a proper diagnosis, followed by a personalized treatment plan.

Diagnosing your condition

If your pain is ongoing, make a journal detailing the pain and symptoms. Next, consult a physician. Your doctor will ask you to describe the nature of your back pain. Use the journal you have created to accurately describe your condition. Some questions to keep in mind include: Is your pain in the lower, middle or upper spinal region? Does the pain feel sharp and radiating? Do you experience loss of feeling or loss of motor functions? Which daily activities are hardest for you to perform?

After reviewing your symptoms and medical history, your doctor should perform a thorough examination. You may be sent for imaging tests, like an X-ray, a CT scan or an MRI, which will help reveal the exact location of the spinal condition causing the pain. A correct diagnosis is crucial to prescribing an effective treatment.

Chronic pain management

Once your doctor has provided a diagnosis, he or she can begin discussing treatment options for your chronic back pain management. Primary care doctors may refer chronic pain patients to a physician specializing in chronic pain management. Pain management is an area of medicine that offers specialized ways to reduce discomfort and ongoing pain.

Chronic back pain management may begin with the following treatments:

  • Physical therapy and exercise. This can include mild stretching and muscle-building exercises aimed at increasing mobility and endurance. This often reduces stress in painful spinal regions.
  • Spinal adjustments and massage therapy. This approach typically involves manipulating painful areas of the spine to help adjust spinal components to improve mobility, separate the vertebrae, increase blood flow and reduce pressure on nerves.
  • Lifestyle changes. Your doctor can teach you proper posture, lifting techniques and body mechanics that can reduce pain. You may also benefit from learning relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises.
  • Pain and anti-inflammatory medications. This includes over-the-counter or prescription medications, like muscle relaxants, narcotic pain medications, oral steroids or acetaminophen.
  • Steroid injections. These are commonly known as an “epidural” because the injection is delivered in the epidural space; a steroid injection can help to temporarily relieve inflammation in the spine.

Minimally invasive spine surgery

If these chronic pain management treatments have not relieved your back pain, your doctor may suggest surgery. Traditional open spine surgery is usually seen as a last-resort option because it is highly invasive and carries a high degree of risk, but there are alternative approaches. Minimally invasive spine surgery, such as the procedures performed at Laser Spine Institute, holds many advantages over open neck or back procedures.

As the leader in minimally invasive spine surgery, Laser Spine Institute has helped more than 75,000 patients find pain relief from their degenerative spine conditions. Our highly skilled surgeons perform minimally invasive decompression and stabilization procedures in an outpatient setting with no lengthy recovery.^

For more information about how we may be able to help you recover your spinal health, contact us for your free MRI review* to find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.