While dealing with chronic back pain, one must maintain a positive attitude about treatment options. Pain and symptoms can be debilitating, but there are effective therapies that can lead to relief. Many patients wonder if they will need surgery and compare its effectiveness to conservative treatment such as physical therapy.
The answer to these concerns may vary depending on the case. Specific diagnosis, medical history, the severity of symptoms, and how long a patient has been pursuing treatment all factor into whether or not surgery is necessary. A patient is expected to fully explore all conservative treatments before considering surgery. A majority of patients are able to find relief and enjoy a good quality of life by committing to conservative options.
Most spine conditions and their symptoms are progressive in nature but they often respond well to conservative treatments. The goal of non-surgical therapy is to relieve pain and improve function in the spine while also taking the necessary steps to reduce stress and pressure on the spinal column.
Physical therapy is an effective method to achieve improved function and reduced stress through the use of natural exercises and techniques. These include:
- Therapeutic exercise: active and passive stretches in order to stabilize and strengthen the spin while also improving the range of motion
- Manual therapy: therapeutic massage meant to mobilize soft tissue and joints while also improving blood flow
- Movement and posture training: help patients learn better posture to reduce stress on the spine
This form of therapy when paired with other forms of therapy can be highly effective in terms of relief. There are also a number of at-home measures that patients can use as well such as hot/cold therapy or over-the-counter medication.
Back surgery normally becomes an option if weeks and months of conservative treatment do not provide enough relief necessary to complete daily activities. When considering surgery, patients are encouraged to find a surgeon they trust who has the experience and credentials necessary for the best possible outcome.
Questions patients should ask when determining back surgery include:
- What experience do you have treating my specific diagnosis?
- What expectations should I have for recovery?
- Are there any conservative options you recommend I pursue?
- Do you perform minimally invasive surgery?
The spine surgeon should take their time answering and explaining all your questions and concerns about the procedure and the best course of action for your specific diagnosis.
Which one is better?
Now having a better understanding of the two forms of treatment, which are considered most efficient. Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer. It all depends on the patient and the condition they have. The goal of physical therapy is to avoid having to conduct surgical procedures. Surgery is a last resort alternative to treatment and should only be considered once all treatment options are exhausted. Although there is no answer to which is better, physical therapy is of utmost importance in avoiding surgery.
Reach Out to BEST Health System
From physical therapy to back surgery, the multidisciplinary team at BEST Health System can help you develop the personalized treatment plan that is right for your wellness goals. We’re committed to delivering the highest level of care for anyone who comes to us for relief.