Pain from a spine-related issue can present in a number of different ways and progress in varying degrees of discomfort. There are a multitude of conservative, interventional, and surgical treatments available to help alleviate the painful symptoms of spine-related pain. Below are some of the most common treatment options employed today.
Acupuncture is the ancient Chinese art of needling “energy flow pathways” to create “balance” in these pathways. It can be effective for treatment of spine pain but it normally is only temporarily effective.
Chiropractic is generally thought to be high velocity low amplitude manipulation of the spine by a Doctor of Chiropractic. A Chiropractor is generally much more than that, using manipulation along with therapy, education, ergonomics, modalities and nutrition.
Cold and hot therapies can be effective for a short duration in the relief of pain. Cold therapy is effective in inflammation- when the neck or back was initially injured and inflammation is expected. Hot therapy works when there is significant muscle spasm as this will increase circulation.
A spinal decompression is a surgical procedure that opens a pathway for a nerve or group of nerves that are being compressed. Generally all or a portion of the lamina (the roof covering the spinal canal) is removed to relieve pressure.
A Microdiscectomy is a surgical procedure to remove the portion of a herniated disc that is placing pressure on nearby nerves.
A Disc Replacement procedure is a modern surgical technique that replaces a painful/worn out disc with a device that mimics the natural movement of a healthy disc.
An Epidural Injection is a pain management procedure that delivers medication to the epidural space surrounding the spinal cord. The medication includes a long-lasting steroid and a local anesthetic. The steroid reduces the inflammation and irritation and the anesthetic interrupts pain signals.
There are many benefits to Exercise. Exercise is designed to train muscles to take over the job of malfunctioning spinal segments. In addition, appropriate exercises retrain the brain to function in a manner that reduces the stress on the damaged spinal segments (ergonomics).
A spinal fusion procedure is designed to join one vertebral body to the next. It is used for various problems such as instability, degenerative spondylolysthesis, isthmic spondylolysthesis, discogenic pain, multiple recurrent disc herniations and foramenal collapse.
Medications may actually change the physiology of the damaged tissue or simply block or alter transmission of signals to and from the brain. Medications can be used for pain control, to reduce muscle spasms, reduce inflammation, slow or stop nerve signals and increase an important but depleted neurotransmitter substance.
Neuromodulation is a technique that essentially trades one sensation for another. A device is placed within the epidural space to interrupt pain signals traveling to the brain from the spine and peripheral nerves.
Physical therapy is as varied as chiropractic above. Therapists specialize in conditioning, strengthening, endurance, ergonomics and education. Physical therapy is very valuable for treatment of spinal pain and nerve pain. Nerve pain has to be carefully handled as aggravation can occur.
Radiofrequency Ablation is a pain management procedure that utilizes a special device to disrupt nerve conduction. A probe is inserted through a needle and controlled delivery of heat is placed along a painful nerve. Radiofrequency uses heat to disrupt the nerves conductivity.
The scoliosis correction surgery is designed to take a deformed spine, straighten it somewhat and fix it so that the spinal curve will not progress. Essentially, in kids, the deformed but movable spine is traded for a straightened but stiff spine. In adults, the spine is normally stiff and cannot be straightened as much.
A vertebral augmentation is also known as a kyphoplasty. This procedure uses medical cement to create an internal cast that stabilizes a fractured vertebra.