Clinical research is continually being conducted to help determine which pain management therapies are the most effective in treating back pain and neck pain. Patients are advised to consult with their physician regarding any questions about a specific program.
In general, pain management techniques can be grouped in terms of their invasiveness.
Some, such as physical therapy, are not invasive at all and do not inherently involve the use of medications
Some pain management techniques, such as pain medications, are purely pharmacologic in nature
Other techniques involve invasive techniques, such as injections
We can classify the most widely used pain management techniques in terms of the degree of intervention they involve:
1)Noninvasive, non-drug pain management.
2)Noninvasive pharmacologic pain management.
3)Invasive pain management.
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In spine and musculoskeletal cases, pain management serves a variety of purposes. Pain management is usually distinguished from surgical treatment.
Pain management and the techniques it uses may be employed as follows:
- To help identify the source of a patient’s neck or back pain
- As an alternative to surgery, as part of an aggressive conservative (nonsurgical) care program
- To help determine the areas to be addressed surgically
- To help rehabilitate the patient after surgery
- For patients after surgery to cope with residual or recalcitrant pain
Pain management uses a wide variety of techniques to address pain and painful disorders. The scientific basis for these approaches ranges from those that are completely without experimental support to those whose effectiveness has been well demonstrated in clinical trials.
In view of the diverse uses and methods of pain management and pain medicine, an overview of this fast-developing field is needed.
There is an immense variety of noninvasive non-drug pain management techniques available at best medical centers, such as Padgett Medical Center, for treating back pain and neck pain. A few of the most widely accepted in comprehensive pain management programs are the following:
- Exercise - physical exertion with the aim of increasing strength, increasing flexibility, and restoring normal motion. Includes the McKenzie method, water therapy, stretching exercises, aerobic routines and many others. May involve active, passive and resistive elements. Exercise is necessary for proper cardiovascular health, disc nutrition and musculoskeletal health. See also Exercise and Back Pain
- Manual techniques - manipulation of affected areas by applying force to the joints, muscles, and ligaments. Some evidence for the effectiveness of certain techniques is available.
- Behavioral modification - use of behavioral methods to optimize patient responses to back pain and painful stimuli. Cognitive therapy involves teaching the patient to alleviate back pain by means of relaxation techniques, coping techniques and other methods. Biofeedback involves learning to control muscle tension, blood pressure, and heart rate for symptomatic improvement. See alsoChronic Pain Coping Techniques – Pain Management
- Superficial heating or cooling of skin - These pain management methods include cold packs and hot packs, ultrasound, and diathermy and should be used in conjunction with exercise.
- Electrotherapy - the most commonly known form of electrotherapy istranscutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). TENS therapy attempts to reduce back pain by means of a low-voltage electric stimulation that interacts with the sensory nervous system. Randomized controlled trials have yielded either positive or neutral results regarding the efficacy of TENS as a treatment for back pain. See also Electrotherapy