Exploring Non-Surgical Options for Spine Pain Relief From Dr. Claflin

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By David

Spine-related disorders are some of the most common health problems experienced by adults today. According to the World Health Organization, globally more than 15 million people live with some form of spinal cord injury, and most SCI cases are due to falls and road traffic accidents. Meanwhile, about 16 million adults have chronic back pain. Some endure spine health conditions such as osteoarthritis, herniated discs, or spinal stenosis.

In some spine disorder or injury cases, surgery is usually recommended in order to reduce pain and improve a person’s quality of life. However, there are alternative treatments that may increase a person’s mobility and relieve pain without having to go under the knife.

Here are some non-surgical options for spine pain relief, according to spine pain management specialist Dr. Brandon Claflin.

Medial Branch Block Injection

Dr. Claflin, who leads a team of specialists at OKspinepain.com, says that anyone who experiences persistent or recurring spine pain should consider seeing a pain specialist to get personalized treatment. Spine pain varies from person to person.

While surgery may work for others, it may not be necessary. For example, for those with facet joint osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or spinal osteoarthritis, a medial branch block injection may be enough to provide pain relief.

This treatment involves injecting corticosteroid medication near the medial branch nerves of a facet joint.

  1. First, a local anesthetic is injected to numb the area near the facet joint.
  2. Then, using ultrasound imagery for precise delivery of the medication, the corticosteroid or local anesthetic is injected into the affected medial branch nerves.

The procedure takes about 30 minutes, and you’ll likely be observed for about an hour or so to check if there’s any improvement in your pain. Patients are typically advised to go home and rest after the treatment. In many cases, you can go back to your regular routine the next day as long as you avoid engaging in any activity that may potentially cause spine strain or injury.

Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation is another non-invasive treatment that Dr. Claflin may recommend if you want a more permanent solution for facet joint pain or if you’re experiencing spine pain due to arthritis. This procedure involves using radio waves to stop the affected nerves from transmitting pain signals to the brain.

Like a medial branch block injection, this treatment takes less than an hour to complete, and you’ll be given local anesthesia so you won’t feel pain. If you’re anxious, you may request a sedative to help you stay calm and feel more comfortable while undergoing treatment.

During a radiofrequency ablation treatment:

  1. The specialist starts by injecting a numbing agent into the treatment site,
  2. An X-ray is used to guide the needle to the proper location.
  3. Once it’s in place, radio waves deliver heat to the nerves.

Some patients have experienced immediate pain relief after the procedure, while others feel the effects several weeks after having RFA.

Physical Therapy

Some types of spine pain are caused by having poor posture while working or minor injuries from improper lifting techniques, among others. In cases like these, you may be advised by your pain management specialist to see a physical therapist.

Ask if your doctor works with physical therapists to coordinate their patients’ care. You may be a good candidate for physical therapy if you have chronic lower back pain, work-related back pain, or subacute back pain.

For your physical therapy appointment, you’ll be asked to wear comfortable clothing like sweatpants or yoga pants and a loose shirt. Prepare to answer questions about your health history, past injuries, and how often you get pain flare-ups. physical therapy. Like Dr. Claflin, physical therapists provide highly individualized care.

The number of treatments or sessions that you’ll need will depend on your spine condition and pain. Once your back or spine pain starts improving, your pain specialist and healthcare team may advise you to get preventative care or regular check-ups.

Overcome Spine Pain Without Surgery

Not everyone has to go under the knife to deal with spine pain or minor spine injuries. Consult a pain management specialist to discuss possible non-surgical options to address your spine problems and improve your spine health and eliminate pain for good.


3 surprising risks of poor posture | Harvard Health

Spinal cord injury| WHO

Back Pain: Why Physical Therapy Might be the Relief You Need | Penn Medicine