As an expert in pain management, you probably often have patients who come in for help managing pain in their spine.
This should come as no surprise, seeing as 31 million Americans experience back pain at any given time and back pain is the single leading cause of disability in the entire world.
Helping patients find ways to manage their spine pain will make them eternally grateful to you, as pain in this area can seriously affect one’s daily life.
But everyone manages pain differently. Therefore, it’s important to be aware as an expert of the different spine pain management options out there so you can treat your patients effectively.
In this article, we’ll cover the top 3 spine pain management techniques you should know about. Let’s get started.
1. Conservative Techniques
Your patient only comes to visit you for about an hour per week. While there is a lot you can do in this time to help them, your patient needs to understand that pain management also takes place outside of the office.
In order to take pain management into their own hands, patients should utilize conservative techniques. These techniques include:
- Aerobic exercise
Aerobic exercise, swimming, and cycling are all cardiovascular exercises that are great for your physical and mental health but don’t too much strain on the back.
Yoga and Pilates work to build your muscles, improve flexibility, and improve your balance- all things that are a foundation for a strong, healthy spine.
These conservative techniques are great for anyone with mild to moderate spine pain. However, if you have a patient with severe spine pain, these activities may be too much.
2. Mind Techniques
Sometimes, pain is really just a mental game. Here are a few mind techniques you can suggest to your patients to help them manage their pain:
- Altered Focus: Focus your attention on a nonpainful part of the body
- Dissociation: Imagine the mind and body as separate
- Mental anesthesia: Imagine someone is injecting a numbing anesthetic into your spine
- Mental analgesia: Similar to anesthesia, you imagine someone is injecting a small painkiller into you
- Positive imagery: Patient focuses their attention on a pleasant environment, such as the beach or the mountains
3. Minimally Invasive Techniques
There are some minimally invasive techniques you can suggest to your patients as well.
- Acupuncture: increases circulation through the use of small needles
- Facet injections: these injections provide lasting pain relief by disabling the nerves that are connected to the facet joint
- Epidural steroid injection: involves injecting a steroid into the epidural in order to reduce inflammation
- Cryotherapy: this involves sending a cold mist through the body to trigger a response that will leave the patient feeling refreshed and rejuvenated
Spine Pain Management: Wrap Up
Undoubtedly, finding the right treatment for your patients can be stressful at times. Every patient is different, so it may take awhile to figure out exactly what your patient needs to feel better.
If you’re looking for more tips to help keep your patients (and yourself) healthy, check out this article on how to use exercise to combat occupational stress.
And don’t forget to use these techniques to help your patients combat their pain!