Are you one of the millions of Americans who suffer from back pain, struggling to just make it through the work day or your daily activities? We have good news — you can find relief without surgery and get back to a healthier lifestyle! In fact, more than 60% of patients dealing with chronic back pain can avoid surgery through a few lifestyle changes or interventional pain management, according to Carlos Viesca, M.D., interventional pain management specialist at El Paso Specialty Hospital.
“It’s important for patients to know their options when dealing with back pain,” says Dr. Viesca. “It starts with lifestyle changes, including minimizing stressors, managing diet, regular exercise, and physical therapy. But it doesn’t stop there. You have to continue exercising consistently to prevent pain from returning.”
A common cause of back pain is stress. Taking time to identify stressors and ways to eliminate or manage stress is important to relieving back pain. For some individuals, meditation, spiritual practices, and other relaxation methods can help counter stress and take pressure off the back.
Practice Healthy Eating, Daily
A healthy diet is essential to managing pain. In addition to providing overall wellness and contributing to weight loss, certain foods such as cherries, ginger, and salmon help fight pain and inflammation naturally.
Regular, consistent exercise is important to not only find relief and provide strength, but also to prevent pain from returning. It starts with simple steps, such as avoiding sitting too long, going on daily walks, and stretching regularly. Don’t stop once you’re feeling better — keep going or you might find yourself back at square one!
Additional treatment options may be necessary if daily lifestyle changes aren’t enough to reduce back pain. Your doctor can help guide you in identifying options that are right for your situation.
Your doctor may recommend physical therapy to help you strengthen your back and learn proper exercises to prevent pain from returning. Your physical therapist will provide you with an at-home exercise regimen to continue even after you complete physical therapy. It’s essential to stick to this regimen as directed to prevent future pain or injuries.
For some patients, medication is needed to help relieve back pain. At El Paso Specialty Hospital, doctors prefer to prescribe lower-risk medications to avoid the potential risk of overdose, addiction, and death that can occur with opioids. Talk to your doctor about non-habit forming medications for back pain.
Interventional Pain Management
If pain continues, the next step before considering surgery is an interventional pain management procedure such as an epidural, facet injections, kyphoplasty, MILD (minimally invasive lumbar decompression), or cord stimulation. Your doctor will work with you to identify which procedure is best for you.
Additional options for back pain management include alternative therapies frequently used to provide pain relief, such as acupuncture, yoga, or tai chi.
Whatever course you pursue, practice healthy living daily and talk with your doctor about the best options for continued treatment so you can live a happier, pain-free life.