Living with chronic pain is a harsh reality for many individuals and its effects often disrupt many areas of their lives. Countless work hours are lost due to uncontrolled pain each year, and the cost for treating the condition is staggering and continues to rise. Many conservative and alternative treatments are available, and most board-certified spine physicians will run the gamut of therapies in an effort to find effective remedies before resorting to a more aggressive approach.
Taking responsibility and control of one’s own health is one of the most important steps in managing chronic pain. Obesity has become a national epidemic over the last two to three decades, and a host of medical problems, including unmanageable discomfort, are associated with excessive weight gain. When discomfort is caused by musculoskeletal problems, losing extra pounds may be enough to permanently alleviate pain.
Some people find relief with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen. Some doctors and patients find that combining common remedies with muscle relaxants, oral steroids, and antiepileptic drugs work well to alleviate discomfort. Narcotic pain pills may be prescribed for particularly painful flare-ups, but they should not be relied on for maintaining comfort for long periods.
When chronic pain is caused by musculoskeletal problems, physical therapy can often be a long-term and possibly permanent solution to unresolved discomfort. A skilled professional may be able to offer strengthening exercises that fortify weakened areas in the body and provide enough stability to relieve pain.
The Last Step
After a patient has exhausted a reasonable number of treatments and is still living with debilitating pain, spine surgery is often the final option for finding relief. No procedure comes with a guarantee, but an operation can often make a significant difference in the quality of a person’s life, and it can allow some patients to end their dependence on costly medications that often come with untoward side effects. Every operation comes with some amount of uncertainty, and it is up to the patient to be informed of the possible outcomes and weigh the benefits against the risks.
If you’ve exhausted all other treatment options, it might be time to consider more advanced procedures like spinal decompression surgery or mobi-c surgery. To learn more about your options, call (310) 828-7757 and schedule an in-person consultation at The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration.