Many people in the United States suffer from back pain. In fact, back pain affects up to 80% of the population at one time or another. Millions of dollars are spent each year for the treatment of back pain. Back pain is also the number two reason for loss time from work, second only to cold and flu. When patients see a doctor for their back pain, they usually get typical treatment for back pain. The doctor will recommend pain relievers and anti-inflammatory drugs as well as the use of ice the first day or two, followed by heat. The doctor usually will allow a week of this treatment before moving to something more advanced such as physical therapy or, if needed, surgery.
Although many or most of these treatments eventually work to relieve the pain, this will often take weeks or months. Some patients don’t want to go through all these methods and prefer to try an experimental back pain treatment. There are many types of experimental back pain treatment options available today. The doctor will usually try to dissuade their patients from trying an experimental back pain treatment unless they’re sure it may help them and that nothing else will work. Often, only a few patients are good candidates for experimental back pain treatment.
One type of experimental back pain treatment is meant for sufferers of herniated or slipped discs. This treatment involves a inserting a laser into a small hole in the patient’s skin. It is guided by the help of a very small video camera while it goes in the injured disc to repair the problem. This type of surgery, although still in the experimental stage, is much less risky as well as being less invasive than typical surgery for disc herniations.
Many patients that have had prior surgeries will often have problems with scar tissue putting pressure on the nerves, causing excruciating pain. There is a new experimental back pain treatment for this called Epiduralysis. This method has the surgeon entering the epidural area near the spinal cord to remove the scar tissue from the nerves. This treatment is only for patients with no other options, as it can have complications and is a very serious operation.
An experimental back pain treatment for broken vertebrae is percutaneous vertebroplasy, a procedure that injects medical glue all around the vertebrae. This glue will repair problems with the vertebrae that causes pain as well as fill in the cracks in the bone. This treatment works well with compression fractures or a fracture caused by osteoporosis and is done on an outpatient basis. This method is not recommended for the majority of back patients.
Your doctor will be able to give you information about these methods and any other experimental back pain treatment methods he’s aware of that may help you.