Chronic back pain can significantly impact your quality of life, making even simple daily activities a challenge. If you’re seeking effective solutions to manage your chronic back pain, you’ve come to the right place. Orthopedic spine surgeon Dr. Stephen Pehler has a variety of treatment recommendations ranging from lifestyle adjustments and home remedies to surgical solutions that can help reduce your pain and improve your day-to-day life.
Understanding Chronic Back Pain
Before diving into the solutions, it’s important to understand the nature of chronic back pain. “Chronic” refers to persistent discomfort that lasts for more than three months. Common causes of chronic back pain include:
- Trauma or injury
- Overstressing the back
- Age-related wear and tear (including the gradual degeneration of bone and spinal discs)
- Herniated disc
- Slipped disc
- Thickened ligaments or bone spurs along the spine
- Arthritis and/or inflammation
- Spinal stenosis (compression of the spinal cord)
Even if you don’t know the cause of your chronic back pain, if you have already been suffering for several months or longer it is time to seek help. The first thing all individuals in this situation should do is a get a proper diagnosis, because the diagnosis will determine which treatments will be most effective.
Tip 1: Get a Diagnosis for Your Chronic Back Pain
Dr. Stephen Pehler specializes in diagnosing and treating chronic back pain, and he offers personalized solutions to help patients alleviate their symptoms. As an expert in this area, Dr. Pehler knows what to look for and how to reach a conclusive diagnosis for your chronic back pain. A combination of a detailed medical history, physical examination, MRI, CT scan, X-rays, reflex testing, and other evaluation methods may be used to diagnose your condition and ensure that you get the treatment you need.
Tip 2: Adopt a Few Lifestyle Adjustments and Home Remedies
In many cases, lifestyle adjustments and home remedies can provide significant relief without requiring surgery. Dr. Pehler may recommend the following:
- Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can work with you to develop a tailored exercise program that works for you and will help alleviate your back pain.
- Adjust Your Exercise Routine: Sometimes, chronic back pain is caused by either lack of exercise or overstressing your back with the wrong type of exercise. If you are experiencing chronic back pain with your current routine, shift to regular low-impact exercises such as swimming or walking to strengthen your back muscles and improve flexibility.
- Posture Management and Stretching: Maintaining good posture throughout the day is crucial for reducing back pain. Dr. Pehler advises using ergonomic chairs, adjusting workstations to promote proper alignment, and taking breaks to stretch and move around.
- Weight Management: Excess weight can strain your back, exacerbating chronic pain. By adopting a healthy diet and engaging in regular exercise, you can manage your weight and alleviate stress on your spine.
- Back Brace: In some cases, a back brace may be worn as needed to relieve the strain and pressure on the spine. This can help reduce chronic back pain.
- Heat and Cold Therapy: Applying heat or cold packs to the affected area can provide temporary relief from back pain. Cold packs can help reduce inflammation while a heating pad or warm bath can help relax the muscles.
- Anti-Inflammatory Medications: Anti-inflammatory medications can help to reduce inflammation and minimize back pain. Be mindful that such medications should only be taken as needed; taking them long-term can lead to other health complications.
- Spinal Injections: Spinal injections can be administered to treat back pain as needed.
All of these conservative treatments could help you manage pain flareups, build endurance, reduce swelling and inflammation, and increase flexibility. Many patients benefit from combining multiple of these strategies to achieve effective pain relief.
Tip 3: Consider Surgery When the Time is Right
One of the reasons a proper diagnosis is so important is because in some cases, conservative efforts will not be able to provide relief. Some causes of chronic back pain can only be corrected with the help of an orthopedic spine surgeon. If conservative efforts to manage pain are unsuccessful, if your symptoms are severe or debilitating, or if the spinal nerves are being compressed, you may need to undergo surgery. The most commonly performed surgeries for chronic back pain include:
- Disc Replacement Surgery: This surgical procedure involves replacing a herniated or degenerative disc with a fully functional artificial disc. Disc replacement is incredibly effective and highly recommended for most patients with damaged spinal discs. Dr. Pehler has successfully performed many disc replacement procedures to alleviate back pain and improve patients’ quality of life while maintaining the natural movement of the spine. Learn more about cervical disc replacement or lumbar disc replacement.
- Spinal Fusion: This surgical procedure involves joining two or more vertebrae to stabilize the spine and reduce pain caused by conditions like degenerative disc disease or spondylolisthesis. Dr. Pehler utilizes the latest advancements in spinal fusion techniques to minimize recovery times and ensure optimal outcomes for his patients. Learn more about minimally invasive spinal fusion.
- Stenosis Surgery: This surgery can help individuals whose pain is caused by arthritic debris, a bone spur, or other piece compressing the nerves of the spine. Dr. Pehler carefully removes the excess hard tissue to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and alleviate your symptoms. Learn more about cervical stenosis surgery or lumbar stenosis surgery.
Managing chronic back pain requires a comprehensive approach that combines lifestyle adjustments, home remedies, a proper diagnosis, and sometimes surgical intervention. Dr. Stephen Pehler, a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon in Denver, offers a range of solutions that can all be tailored to meet your needs. By implementing these tips and exploring the treatment options available, you can take control of your chronic back pain and improve your overall well-being.
To learn more about Dr. Pehler’s expertise and schedule a consultation, call (303) 695-6060 or contact us online today.