Back, neck or leg pain can severely limit your ability to enjoy everyday activities. Chronic pain can become especially debilitating, impacting every area of your life, including your ability to eat, work and sleep normally. This, in turn, can lead to significant forms of anxiety and depression over time.
When dealing with the conditions causing issues with your back, pain management becomes an important part of your treatment plan. Your doctor’s goal with medication is to ease discomfort so your body can rest and allow the source of your pain to heal.
Alleviating pain also allows you to maintain activities important to your overall health and recovery, like getting a good night’s sleep, exercising and eating properly.
The Dangerous Reputation of Opioid Drugs
Opioid medications — which include hydrocodone, morphine, codeine and fentanyl, among others — are considered some of the most effective drugs for relaxing the body and relieving pain. Because of their proven capacity to control pain, opioids have been the first drugs recommended by doctors in cases of injury and surgical recovery.
Opioids are also a class of drugs that can create dependency in some people. The sharp increase in opioid abuse and overdose in recent years has led to a national crisis, followed by sweeping changes in opioid regulation. Healthcare providers, in turn, are responding by using greater care and oversight when prescribing opioid drugs.
The doctors at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) always take a conservative approach in treating your back issues. Opioid medications may still play a role in your pain management when and where appropriate. However, your doctor’s approach may also include a host of pain relief alternatives as well.
Pain Relief Alternatives to Opioid Medications
Fortunately, there are many viable alternatives to opioid medications for managing your back, neck and leg pain. Used alone or in combination with each other, these tools offer help without the dependent side effects of opioids.
Your spine physician at SSI may prescribe one or more of the following pain relief alternatives:
- A regimen of rest, ice and heat
- Physical therapy
- A home exercise program under the supervision of your doctor or physical therapist
- Lifestyle adjustments that change daily habits contributing to back pain
- Stress management techniques
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroids
- Muscle relaxants
- Certain antidepressants
- Certain anti-epileptic medications
SSI also offers a host of non-surgical or minimally invasive spinal procedures that may significantly alleviate your back pain in certain cases. These include:
- Nerve blocks
- Steroid injections
- Electrical stimulation
- Endoscopic procedures
- SSI’s minimally invasive lumbar decompression or MILD procedure
In situations where these less invasive options don’t work or when nothing can be done to correct the source of your pain, SSI’s spinal medicine doctors may choose to use pain relief alternatives that are more involved, such as an intrathecal pump implant.
Explore Your Options
When you need to relieve your back pain, know that you’re in the knowledgeable hands of medical professionals skilled in pain management. They’ll find the pain relief alternatives that work best for your long-term well-being.
Be sure to talk to your doctor to learn all the options available and discuss which tools are most appropriate for your situation. You have pain relief alternatives. And at SSI, you also have access to a host of various disciplines so you can get most of your treatment under one roof!