Back Pain Relief
Imagine you have injured your neck in a fender-bender or taken a hard tackle and your back or neck is killing you. You’ve tried all of the simple things like ice, heat and over-the-counter pain relievers and yet, you are still in pain. Where do you turn to next? Do you go to the chiropractor for an adjustment? Do you go to your primary care?
My suggestion is to see more than one type of clinician. In most cases start with both a chiropractor and an interventional pain management physician. An injured back or an injured neck is nothing to take lightly. Just riding out the pain is going to mean weeks or months where you are sidelined and unable to participate in even the most basic activities of living. By seeing a chiropractor he or she will help correct the minor dislocations of the joints. While the pain management physician can work to reduce the inflammation from the injury in a safe and non-invasive way. Seeing both allows you to get the best of both worlds.
An interventional pain doctor performs a procedure called an epidural steroid injection. Performed under x-ray imaging, a small amount of an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid medication is placed right where it needs to go. This can be near the nerves or disc or joints of the spine that are causing the pain.
The benefit of epidural steroid injections are that they act locally to relieve inflammation. Corticosteroids given by injections won’t upset your stomach like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications that you take orally. Steroids do not have the risks associated with opioids including addiction. Epidural spinal injections take just a few minutes to perform and the corticosteroids stay locally for many days to reduce the inflammation that is likely contributing to the pain.
But even with the inflammation starting to go away, the dislocation of the joints, called subluxations, ,are probably still there. This can cause reoccurring pain and interfere with full mobility of the spine. If the subluxations are not corrected, the inflammation will likely return.
The job of the chiropractor is gentle spinal manipulation to put the spine into proper alignment. The process is painless and you will immediately notice a better range of motion of the neck, spine, and shoulders and will be able to move about with greater ease. When the spine is in proper alignment, the anti-inflammatory effect will work all that much better and you stand a better chance of a fast recovery without side effects.
There are some differences between taking pain pills and undergoing the combined epidural/spinal manipulation approach. These include the following.
- Pain pills just mask the problem and don’t address the real problem of spinal subluxations.
- Over the counter pain relievers tend not to be very helpful and some will upset your stomach or cause clotting problems.
- Prescription pain relievers temporarily ease the discomfort. Again, they do not solve the underlying problems. Use of opioids should be done with caution.
- Steroid injections are virtually painless and direct the relief where it is needed the most.
- Spinal manipulation is directed at the underlying problem—that of minor subluxations that put the spine under increased pain and limited mobility.
People do get better faster when the actual problem is addressed through spinal manipulation and corticosteroid injection. You also avoid the problems associated with taking oral medications and you end up with a stronger spine that is free of inflammation and pain.
At Russo Chiropractic Clinic, we work together with a Pain Management Specialist, Dr. Eric Lonseth for this combined approach as well as with other Neurologists and Orthopedic Surgeons. Feel free to call either of our offices today to schedule a consultation to see if we can help your condition and bring your joy of life back by using this multidisciplinary approach to patient care.
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