Rehabilitation and pain management
At Novant Health Total Spine Specialists, we understand that each case of back or neck pain is unique, and each patient deserves a unique approach to treatment. While in some cases, minimally invasive or traditional surgery is the best option for repairing a problem or alleviating pain, in other cases nonsurgical interventions can effectively offer relief.
When you visit our office, you will see a physiatrist, a board-certified doctor who specializes in diseases and disorders that affect the way you move. These include spine injuries, herniated discs, nerve disorders and other conditions that might be causing your back pain, neck pain or sciatic nerve pain. The physiatrist will complete any needed diagnostic tests to determine the source of the pain, and then together you will determine the course of treatment right for you.
Some common nonsurgical pain management interventions are:
Epidural steroid injections
When a condition such as a herniated disc, spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease is causing inflammation or pain, an epidural steroid injection can deliver relief. Anti-inflammatory and pain relief medications are injected directly into the affected area. Sedatives are rarely necessary as the procedure involves minimal pain. This therapy is often most effective when combined with a therapeutic exercise program. Risks are minimal, but might include bleeding or infection. If the first injection delivers pain relief, subsequent injections might be recommended to provide further relief.
Facet joint block
Facets are joints between vertebrae in the spine. If irritation or inflammation occurs in one of these joints, a facet joint block can deliver anti-inflammation and pain medication directly to the site. This offers temporary pain relief if the correct joint is targeted. It can be very useful in pinpointing the source of pain.
Sacroiliac joint injections
Sacroiliac (SI) joint injections target the joints located between the pelvic bones, the sacrum and the ilium. Problems with these joints can lead to lower back pain, leg pain and pain in the buttocks. Often, SI joint pain is only on one side of the body. An injection into this joint could include anesthetic as well as steroid medications to numb any pain and provide longer-term, but still temporary, relief.
Therapeutic back pain exercises
Joint injections often provide the most relief when combine with a therapeutic exercise program. This often includes stretching to maintain spinal mobility, as well as strengthening exercises to increase spinal stability.