Thursday, 19 June 2014

What are my options for neck and low back pain?

Eighty percent of North American's will experience back pain (or neck pain) at one time or another.  That's a lot of back pain.  But where is the best place to start for treatment?

The choices are divided into two major categories, invasive and non-invasive.  Non-invasive therapies encompass the conservative therapies which include, but are not limited to, chiropractic care, physiotherapy and massage whereas invasive therapies include injection, surgery and even acupuncture.  Acupuncture is a conservative therapy but, as the needles break the skin barrier, is considered invasive.  Although injection and acupuncture are deemed minimally invasive, injections will introduce chemicals into the body that one may not want and have potential side effects.  Of course, medication is also an alternative but typically medication will not address the cause of the problem and may also have unwanted side effects.

When I discuss the order to which I believe patients should have therapy, the conservative ones are at the top of the list.  I think a trial of conservative therapies are beneficial but if you are finding little to no results after a while, you should consider your next step.

When it comes to neck and back pain, if not already done, consideration should be made for imaging, whether that is x-rays, CT or MRI.  Consideration should also be made for a more advanced therapy such as spinal decompression therapy

If all else fails, injection therapy or surgery should be discussed.