The debate over conservative care v/s surgery for treating back pain has been ongoing for several years. However, more and more studies that have been done over the past few years have shown that conservative care is a much better option when it comes to treating back pain. So what exactly does this entail and how effective is it?
What Conservative Care Means
Conservative care refers to different kind of treatment techniques that do not involve cutting the skin or performing any invasive procedures such as surgery. When it comes to back pain, there are several non-invasive techniques that can be used depending on the location of the pain as well as the cause of the injury and the severity of the pain.
These are some of the more common techniques used to treat back pain:
• Ice or heat application: A heating pad or a cold pack can be very effective at alleviating pain when applied directly over the affected area. In some cases, alternating between hot and cold is the most effective.
• Physiotherapy and back exercises: A course of physiotherapy and back exercises will typically include a combination of stretching, strengthening and low impact aerobic exercises. These help keep the muscles around the spine strong and flexible.
• Therapeutic massage: When performed by a qualified and experienced professional, therapeutic massage helps improve blood flow and decrease stiffness in the muscles.
• Over the counter medication: Over the counter pain medications that are usually prescribed to alleviate pain in the back include NSAIDS, acetaminophen, muscle relaxants, oral steroids and anti-depressants.
Each of these has its own unique benefits, risks and limitations. The doctor will assess each patient’s problem and overall health before deciding which type of medication, if any, is required.
A word of caution
Conservative care for back pain is only effective if it is done correctly and under the advice and supervision of a qualified doctor. If you are suffering from back pain, it is advisable to first consult with a doctor to get a proper diagnosis and then follow the treatment prescribed by the doctor. Never try and treat it yourself. Just because a treatment worked for one person, it does not necessarily mean it will work for you and it could actually make your backache worse.
Benefits Of Conservative Treatment
The treatment methods that come under this category are easy to do and gentler on the body. There are no invasive procedures or surgery involved, so the recovery time is shorter and there is no risk that is usually associated with anesthesia. Last but not least, you can continue with the treatment as long as necessary for continued benefits.