Conservative Treatment Options
Chronic back pain and chronic neck pain can cause disability, limit mobility, and severely interfere with normal functioning. Eight out of 10 people in the United States suffer from back pain, according to the National Institutes of Health.
At UT Southwestern Medical Center, our specialists treat patients with spinal injuries and conditions that cannot or have not been completely eliminated through other medical options. A team approach gives you access to physicians, surgeons, neurologists, rheumatologists, rehabilitation therapists, psychologists, and social workers to fully meet your pain management needs.
Some conditions can be improved with simple treatments and lifestyle changes, but more complex spinal disorders require medical intervention from specialists such as those at UT Southwestern.
Medical histories and physical examinations help physicians gain a thorough understanding of each patient’s symptoms, and technologies such as X-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used to diagnose conditions. Once a diagnosis is complete, appropriate treatments may range from pain medications and rehabilitative therapies to nerve blocks and epidural steroid injections.
Some of the conservative, nonsurgical treatments we offer include:
- Epidural steroid injections
- Steroids are injected into the space outside the covering of the spinal cord, providing pain relief
- Implantation of a medication pump
- Medication pumps are surgically implanted, allowing medicine to be delivered directly to the spine as needed for pain relief
- Nerve root blocks
- Nerve root blocks, in addition to offering dramatic pain relief, can also provide important diagnostic information
- Pain medication
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can effectively reduce inflammation and relieve pain associated with a variety of spine conditions
- Rehabilitative therapy
- The goal of rehabilitative therapy is to strengthen muscles and increase flexibility to alleviate pain and improve quality of life without resorting to surgery or long-term medication.
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Low-level electrical signals are transmitted through a small, surgically placed wire to the spinal cord in order to prevent pain signals from reaching the brain. This treatment is an option if you have not benefited from other conservative treatments and are not a surgical candidate.
Patients with chronic back pain can also be treated by our pain management service.