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What Are the Different Types of Spine Pain Management?

By Madeleine A.
Updated May 17, 2024
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Different types of spine pain management include exercise, lifestyle changes and medications. Spinal disorders can be caused by congenital conditions, disease, or injury and regular exercise is the mainstay of spine pain management. Exercise can help strengthen the back as well as stretch the spine to prevent a condition known as deconditioning. Bed rest and immobility can cause pain and stiffness, which can slow recovery and increase pain. In addition, exercising is especially beneficial in spine pain treatment because it improves blood flow and circulation. Exercising is also psychologically beneficial for the patient who will feel positive when taking measures to help himself.

Medications are also an important component in spine pain management. Anti-inflammatory medications not only relieve pain, they are effective in reducing inflammation. These medications should be taken on a routine schedule, as opposed to sporadically, to obtain a therapeutic blood level in the system. A constant blood level of the medication will enhance the anti-inflammatory benefits and provide better spine pain management. Some people are unable to tolerate the side effects of anti-inflammatory medications, such as stomach upset and nausea. These people should talk to their health care providers for alternative treatment options.

Other medications that are effective in the management of spine pain relief include prescription codeine pain relievers. These medications dramatically relieve pain, however, they are ineffective in reducing inflammation. Codeine based pain relievers should only be taken when absolutely necessary, and only under the strict supervision of the health care provider. These medications can cause side effects such as drowsiness, confusion, constipation, nausea, and delayed reactions. Also, driving and operating heavy machinery should be avoided when taking prescription pain relievers.

Epidural spinal injections are also effective in providing spine pain relief. An epidural is a type of anesthesia that is used in many outpatient surgical procedures and in obstetrics. They provide exceptional pain relief to those suffering from spine, back, and leg pain and one injection can last for three months, however, the health care provider needs to discuss the risks and benefits of epidural anesthesia with the patient. Also, no more than four epidural injections can be given in a year's time, and they should be accompanied by other complementary therapies such as exercise and weight management.

Certain lifestyle changes that may help with spine pain management include managing weight and quitting smoking. People who smoke have poorer circulation than people who do not, so if the individual ever needs spinal surgery, smoking can increase the risk of complications. Extra weight can strain the muscles, nerves, and tendons in the back area, worsening pain and decreasing mobility.

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