Experts estimate that at any given time in the United States, more than 30 million adults are living with the kind of chronic back pain that interferes with day-to-day activities.
Given that your back health is central to your overall strength, mobility, flexibility, and range of motion, it makes sense that even a relatively minor degree of chronic back pain can turn into a major disruption. If you’re one of the millions of Americans who’s had to call in sick or file a disability claim because of chronic back pain, you may be wondering if surgery is your best option.
Here at Advanced Spine Care and Pain Management of New York, we know just how difficult it can be to live with unrelenting back pain. But even if you’ve already been advised to consider surgery, nonsurgical pain relief may still be within your realm of possibility.
Let’s explore four valuable therapies that have helped countless people overcome back pain, avoid surgery, and rediscover what it’s like to live an active life.
Stem cell therapy
Stem cells have had the medical research community abuzz with excitement for the past several years, and for good reason. These basic cells, which can be found in many of the organs and tissues of your body, possess unparalleled healing power.
Normally, stem cells simply help maintain the tissues they’re in. When you’re injured, however, stem cells essentially wake up and head straight to the damaged area, where they transform themselves into the same type of cell that’s been damaged. By stimulating the formation of new, healthy tissue, stem cells help speed up the healing process.
Because stem cells can change themselves into virtually any type of tissue, including muscle, bone, tendon, ligament, and cartilage tissue, they can help heal or alleviate virtually any underlying back condition.
After we inject stem cells into an injured, damaged, or painful area, you can expect your back pain to progressively improve as the tissue renewal process unfolds.
Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
Your blood contains a variety of small, solid components, including platelets. Your body uses platelets to help facilitate the clotting process when you’re bleeding, but the platelets also contain hundreds of growth factors and other bioactive proteins that encourage cellular repair and tissue regeneration.
To capitalize on the healing power of growth factors, we draw a small amount of your blood, spin it in a centrifuge machine to isolate and concentrate the platelets, and then mix them with a bit of leftover plasma to make an injectable serum known as PRP.
When carefully injected into an injured or damaged muscle, tendon, ligament, or joint, the serum’s growth factors and bioactive proteins actively stimulate tissue renewal and rapid healing.
Like stem cell therapy, PRP provides progressive healing and long-term pain relief that unfolds over time.
If your chronic back pain is the result of a degenerative or arthritic condition or a physical injury, an anti-inflammatory steroidal injection may be able to provide both instant and long-term pain relief. The two main types of injections that are commonly used to relieve back pain, reduce inflammation, and promote mobility are:
Facet joint injections
This injection, which is administered directly to the facet joints of your spine, uses a steroid like cortisone as well as a local anesthetic to block the specific nerve signals that are causing pain.
Epidural steroid injections
Receiving an epidural steroid injection can help reduce localized inflammation, relieve pain, and improve movement.Once inflammation is reduced and your pain has subsided, physical therapy can help you build your strength, improve your range of motion, and keep pain at bay.
Medical marijuana, or cannabis, is now widely recognized as a potent pain reliever and a powerful form of therapy for patients with a range of painful and debilitating conditions, including chronic back pain.
As with any other physician-prescribed medication, medical marijuana is overseen by a licensed physician and reserved for specific medical problems. At Advanced Spine Care and Pain Management of New York, we use medicinal-grade cannabis plants and their pure extracts to help alleviate chronic pain.
Traditional plant breeding techniques have given us cannabis plants that possess higher levels of the cannabinoids that provide symptom relief. There are five main therapeutic cannabinoids; each has unique effects, and those effects help reinforce the effects of the others.
If you’re most interested in relieving chronic back pain, for example, you may be best off using a strain that’s as high in THC, which is anti-inflammatory and acts a muscle relaxant, and also high in CBD, which reduces the psychological effects of THC.
If you’d like to find out how our pain management medicine specialists can help you, call your nearest office in Staten Island or Hartsdale, New York, today, or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment any time.