Nonsurgical Treatment for Spine Pain
Surgery is rarely the first treatment option explored for patients with persistent neck or back pain.
At NeurosurgeryOne, we offer patients a full continuum of care, including nonsurgical treatments to relieve pain. Dr. Erasmus Morfe, DO, and Dr. Jason Peragine, MD, formerly with Interwest Rehabilitation, are now part of the NeurosurgeryOne team. Both physicians are fellowship-trained physiatrists who specialize in t
he use of non-surgical treatments aimed at restoring function, reducing pain, and improving quality of life for patients.
We provide information on the benefits and risks of each option and help you determine the right treatment for your condition, your lifestyle, and your goals. We welcome your questions, and will do our best to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about your treatment. Before exploring spine surgery as an option, your physician may recommend:
Medications for Back Pain or Neck Pain
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help relieve pain and reduce the inflammation that is common with osteoarthritis. NSAIDs are available over the counter, as well as in prescription strength.
- Muscle relaxants, such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), can calm muscle spasms that occasionally occur.
- Antidepressants can ease chronic pain and help with sleep.
- Anti-seizure drugs are sometimes used to reduce pain caused by damaged nerves.
Physical Therapy for Back Pain and Neck Pain
Many people who experience chronic back and neck pain benefit from exercises designed to reduce pain, including pain that radiates along the arms or down the legs. In addition to exercises, a physical therapist might use heat, ice, or ultrasound to help reduce muscle spasms where appropriate. If you are in too much pain to perform physical therapy, our physiatrists often can provide temporary pain relief that will give you an opportunity to address the underlying causes of your problem through physical therapy, weight loss, or other factors.
Steroid Injections for Back Pain and Neck Pain
Your nerve roots may become irritated and swollen at the spots where they are being pinched. Injecting a corticosteroid can help reduce the inflammation and relieve some of the pressure. However, steroid injections don't work for everyone. And repeated steroid injections can weaken nearby bones and connective tissue, so only a few injections a year are suggested. In addition to steroid injections for back pain and neck pain, our fellowship-trained physiatrists offer facet injections, which uses steroids to reduce pain in these inflamed and degenerative joints.
Radiofrequency ablation, also called rhizotomy or radiofrequency neurotomy, is a minimally invasive procedure that uses heat to ablate the nerve that is transmitting pain signals to the brain. It is most effective for facet joint pain and facet mediated pain. It also is effective in treating SI joint pain. Read more about this procedure in this blog post by Dr. Morfe.
For some patients with persistent neck pain, a cervical collar or brace may provide some rest for the cervical spine, and some pain relief.
Acupuncture for Back Pain and Neck Pain
Acupuncture is a safe treatment for back and neck pain, and when properly performed by a trained acupuncturist, many patients find it does provide some pain relief.