What are my Non-Surgical Options for Back Pain?

Although The Spine Institute specializes in minimally invasive surgical procedures to treat back pain, surgery should be one of the last options considered after non-invasive options don’t seem to work. The spine is a complex structure of nerves, bones, and joints. What is causing you back pain may be different from what is causing pain for the next patient. First, you should consult with a spine specialist to determine exactly what is putting unnecessary pressure on your spine. Then, your doctor can help you plan for a routine that will work best for you. Below are the most common non-surgical options patients take for back pain.

Hot and Cold Packs

This non-surgical method is a good way to determine how serious your back pain is. Some people may find that alternating between hot and cold packs is enough to help relieve the pain after a couple of days.

Manual Manipulation

Think of manual manipulation of your back as a very deep, intense massage. Only instead of a masseuse, the non-surgical procedure is done by an osteopathic doctor, a chiropractor, or maybe even a specialized massage therapist. During this process your spine is literally manipulated, as the specialist is moving or adjusting vertebra that may have fallen out of alignment. The ultimate goal is to increase your spine’s flexibility – also known as its range of motion.


A wide assortment of pain medications are typically used for back pain, like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), acetaminophen, muscle-relaxants, anti-depressants, and more. Different types of pain medication work for different people. Do not attempt to take any pain medication without the guidance of a doctor. Doing otherwise can harm you, and sometimes, pain relieving medication may not even apply for every instance of back pain.

Exercise Programs

A curated exercise program can act as a good non-surgical method to relieve your back pain. The exercise should be built up and scheduled by a spinal expert or doctor who understands your position, as certain workouts may end up making the pain worse rather than better. Usually, good exercise programs for back pain will include a combo of stretching, strength training, and aerobic exercise with low-impact.

The important thing to remember when seeking these non-surgical methods is that they should be discussed with a doctor who specializes in back pain. While it may be tempting to try to figure out the issue by yourself, doing so may risk causing greater damage to your spine. If your back pain is intense enough that going through your day to day life is difficult, then it sounds serious enough to potentially qualify you for spine surgery. Contact the Spine Institute today to learn what the best choices for your back pain are, and how we can help lead you on the road to recovery.