When your back or neck is hurting, your first thought is probably to pop a pain killer, go for a massage, or take it easy for a day. It’s probably not, “I need surgery.” Much like you, our New Jersey spine center is committed to exhausting all nonsurgical options before resorting to surgery. Depending on the severity of your back or neck condition, there is a good chance you can heal using nonsurgical treatments. However, there are some conditions that may not respond to these treatments or be too far along and require surgery.
Typically, any condition not causing compression on your spinal cord or nerve root can be treated nonsurgically. Conditions that fall under this category include arthritis, disc herniation, and many other degenerative spine conditions that come from normal aging and wear and tear.
Popular nonsurgical treatments include:
- Physical therapy: working on a prescribed routine to strengthen certain muscles can heal your pain and prevent further injury.
- Medication: medication may be suggested for pain relief and to bring down any inflammation or swelling.
- Rotating heat and cold: application of cold or heat packs can help relieve pain and reduce swelling.
- Massage therapy: a therapeutic massage can improve blood flow and reduce muscle stiffness.
- Dieting: foods high in trans fat, refined sugar, and processed food can be highly inflammatory. Your spine center may recommend altering your diet and trying to maintain a healthy weight.
- Epidural steroid injections: these injections are typically successful in reducing or eliminating pain for patients. They are mainly used when the source of the pain is known and can help rule out certain causes if the treatment does not work.
If your condition is not responding to nonsurgical treatments or you are experiencing significant pain, surgery may be recommended. Another reason for surgery may be that a portion of your spinal cord is being compressed and causing pain, symptoms such as these are known as myelopathy. When these symptoms are present, surgery is needed to relieve pressure on the spinal cord.
Since every patient is different, no two treatments are the same. Your treatment depends on the area that is affected, these treatments may include:
- Spinal fusion
While surgery is not always a spine specialist’s first choice, surgery may be the best option for some patients to relieve pain, prevent further damage to the spinal cord, and improve the quality of life.
By visiting a spine center in New Jersey when you are having back or neck issues, you can be sure surgery will not be your first and only option, unless it is absolutely necessary. For the best care, book an appointment at Coastal Spine – South Jersey’s top spine center. Schedule an appointment today.