When Surgery is not an Option

Back pain is a serious issue.  In fact, the estimate is ninety percent of adults in America will develop lower back pain.  Trying alternative methods to lumbar disc surgery seems like it may be something worth trying. (No information in this article is considered medical advice.)

First let’s examine the basic suggestions that may help those with occasional pain rather than chronic pain.  Treatments for those with occasional pain may include physical therapy and exercise, hot and cold packs to reduce inflammation, ultrasound, massage, aquatic therapy and acupuncture. These are probably all options that would be tried before a physician is considering lumbar disc surgery as an option.  Surgery is typically reserved for those who display chronic pain and specific injuries.

*Spinal Decompression
Spinal decompression is touted for the relief of back pain associated with herniated and bulging discs, degenerative disc disease, relapse from failed surgery and sciatica.  Spinal decompression creates a negative pressure inside the discs.  This vacuum allows the disc to pull into the herniation.  It encourages the flow of blood and nutrients back into the disc to allow the body to begin natural healing processes.

*Intradiscal Electrothermal Coagulation
With this process a needle is inserted into the lumbar region.  It sends heat to the out section of the disc.  The theory is that the heat causes the collagen fibers to thicken.  Real time x-ray is used so the doctor can place the hollow needle in the correct location.  A probe is pushed through the needle and then heat is applied. After the probe is removed antibiotics are delivered through the needle to fight any possible infection.  Patients are monitored for at least an hour before they can be chauffeured home.

*Posterior Dynamic Stabilization
This technology is still very new and there are many different patents pending on the internal braces for the spine.  It is essentially a brace like one would use to stabilized an injured knee, but placed internally and not removed.

*Spinal Traction
The back in gently stretched out on a traction device to help the spine relax and come back into shape.  There are often muscle spasms after this treatment that may be painful for about an hour.

*Artificial Disc Replacement
Lumbar surgery fuses the discs of the back together.  It decrease mobility is a serious manner. With artificial discs the motion of the spine remains after the surgery.  It helps to reduce the risk of other vertebrae wearing down.  There is always a risk of the artificial disc becoming misplaced and requiring further surgery.

For those lucky enough to be reading this before any back problems begin, remember, many injuries are caused by not following the best advice for using the back.  Little things like lifting with the legs and avoid lifting things that are too heavy can make a monument difference in back and spine health in general.