Back pain affects about 80% of all adults at some point in their lives, with around 25% reporting back pain occurring within the past three months. Fortunately for many, most back pain is acute and generally lasts only a few weeks. But for 20% of those who experience back pain, the problem becomes chronic, lasting 12 weeks or longer, sometimes even after the original cause of the pain is treated.
Since chronic back pain can be so persistent, it’s often a challenge to manage pain and its effects on your life. As with treatment for most medical conditions, conservative methods are usually the first approach to treat back pain, before prescription medication. With heightened awareness of the dangers of opioid drug use, there’s been renewed emphasis on drug-free treatment alternatives.
Choosing a pain management specialist
There are more pain management options available today than ever before, and it’s difficult for general practitioners to stay on top of all pain therapies. When you’re dealing with chronic back pain, choose a pain specialist like Phillip Lim, DO, MPH, at NuVation Pain Group. It’s Dr. Lim’s job to keep up to date with all treatment options, including those on the cutting edge of the pain management field.
The case against opioids
With risks of accidental overdose and drug dependence, opioids are less commonly used for chronic back pain than in the past. There’s even a question of whether opioid drugs are even helpful for those suffering from lower back pain. Opioids are now more commonly used for very short-term treatment or as a last resort in the rare cases that have no other successful options.
Types of back pain
Part of the issue is that back pain isn’t a singular condition with one cause. You could experience nonspecific pain, where you’re not sure what happened to cause it, or you may have radicular pain that originates in your back, but that also radiates sensations like tingling, numbness, and pain into your leg.
The way that nerve compression or irritation presents itself depends on both how and where the issue exists.
Contemporary non-drug pain management
There are many options for advanced treatment of back pain that avoid relying on medication while also stopping short of surgery, which can often produce unpredictable results and which we generally recommend as a last resort.
Some of the drug-free treatments available through NuVation Pain Group include:
- Radiofrequency ablation, a minimally invasive treatment that interrupts pain signals from the nerves causing chronic back pain
- Spinal cord stimulators, implanted devices that use mild electrical signals similar to those in pacemakers to alter the way your brain interprets pain from stimulated nerves
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, injections of concentrated platelets harvested from your own blood to supply additional resources to your body’s own repair systems
- Stem cell therapy, which involves injecting stem cells near the origin of your back pain to assist natural healing
Dr. Lim can also refer you to other practitioners, including physical therapists, massage therapists, chiropractors, or acupuncture practitioners, depending on the needs of your condition.
Contact either location of NuVation Pain Group, by phone or using the online tool to book your consultation with Dr. Lim. Chronic back pain won’t wait, so schedule your appointment today.