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11 Best Back Surgery Alternatives

Medically Reviewed by Cellaxys

By Published: January 7, 2023Updated: February 12, 2024No Comments
back surgery alternatives
Dr Pejman Bady

Contributor

Medically Reviewed

Published on: January 7, 2023 | Updated on: February 12, 2024

Managing chronic back pain is equally challenging for the patients and the doctors. Unfortunately, the condition is a prevalent problem worldwide, affecting more than 80% of adults at any point in their lifetime.

Many factors can result in back pain. Sometimes, it could result from heavy lifting or accidents. Other times, it could come with other health conditions, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, scoliosis, etc.

Back pain varies in intensity and causes. It builds up gradually after a muscle strain, injury, or trauma. However, it can start as a sharp and unbearable pain that makes your life miserable. In some cases, the doctor directly opts for back surgery to treat the pain, but it’s also possible to treat it with nonsurgical methods.

Spinal manipulation, acupuncture, lifestyle modifications, and many home remedies are the best back surgery alternatives. They can not only help you manage pain but also delay the surgery. Here are ten effective back surgery alternatives you must consider before going under the knife:

1. Spinal Manipulation

Spinal or chiropractic manipulation adjusts or stimulates the entire spine by massaging with the hands. The physical therapist or licensed chiropractor puts pressure on your spine to keep it aligned in its place. This helps reduce back pain.

However, this alternative treatment may not be suitable for everyone, especially the elderly and people with severe spinal cord issues, osteoporosis, or arthritis. The primary reason is the amount of pressure involved in the procedure.

If you opt for spinal manipulation, ensure a trained or licensed professional does it. Getting it done by a specialist will reduce the risks of any side effects. You may feel a slight discomfort in your back, which will resolve in the next 1 to 2 days.

2. Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an old-school, traditional Chinese treatment method for back pain. It involves inserting tiny, thin needles into the unique points in your body to treat different sources of pain. It is also effective for chronic or mild back pain as well.

Acupuncture also helps relieve pain and restore function in many people with chronic low back pain. According to a meta-analysis, this pain relief may continue long. However, it may not pose similar effects for everyone. Thus, always consult a healthcare professional to know whether it’s the proper treatment for your back pain.

3. Weight Loss

Obesity is linked with multiple health-related issues. Excessive weight puts a lot of pressure on your back muscles, joints, or bones, resulting in severe back pain as you move, sit, stand, or walk. Being overweight can also strain your back muscles and increase pressure on the spine.

According to a study, obesity leads to intense low back pain and disability in male subjects. Thus, losing excess weight can help alleviate strain on your spine, meaning no back pain. If you’re having difficulty losing weight, consult a professional nutritionist or dietitian and ask them to plan a unique weight loss plan for you.

At-home exercises like cycling or swimming can also help you shed extra weight. Regardless of the weight loss method, remember that it’s a gradual process and requires consistency and long-term determination.

4. Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Inflammation is closely connected with many types of chronic pain, including neck, shoulders, back, and lower back. Inflammation is our body’s natural response against any harm, but there are other causes, such as nerve compression.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen and ibuprofen, work amazingly in relieving many types of pain. However, if you don’t want to opt this way, you can include some anti-inflammatory foods.

Research suggests that trans fats and sugary and processed foods can worsen inflammation and pain in your back. Thus, avoiding these foods is better as you start having back pain. The foods that reduce inflammation include:

  • Fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Fish

5. Posture Maintenance

Incorrect posture is an overlooked back pain factor in many people who sit in front of computers for long hours. A study shows that bad posture can result in intense low back pain in adolescents. In another study, researchers found that people who completed their 8-week posture-maintenance program had reduced or no back and shoulder pain.

So, you must avoid sitting in poor posture for longer durations. If you can’t do that, you can try wearable devices to remind yourself about correcting your posture by gently pulling your shoulders toward the back. If you don’t have proper ergonomics, you must try to make changes in your desk or chair to support your back.

6. Physical Exercises

Contrary to widespread relief, bed rest isn’t an effective back pain treatment. Yes, you may find it hard to move in back pain, but shifting is the best back surgery alternative for many types of back pain.

Multiple studies have found that physical exercises release endorphins in your body. Your brain’s natural chemicals bind to the brain’s opioid receptors to manage or stop the pain. Exercising may give you a similar effect to opioid pain medications.

Exercise is also associated with back and neck muscle strengthening and pain reduction in people with chronic pain. So talk to a professional physical therapist, and treat your back pain at home.

7. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)

In TENS, you will have to place sticky electrode patches on the areas causing intense pain in your back. There will be a battery-powered device, which you will activate to send electrical impulses to the electrodes. These signals interrupt the pain signals in your body.

According to a study, attending a 15-minute TENS session can relieve lower back pain. Another meta-analysis also reported massive pain reduction in people with chronic low back pain with TENS.

If you’re using a TENS device for the first time, you must do it under a professional’s supervision. They will ensure that you’re using this back surgery alternative correctly.

8. Stress Management Techniques

Stress is another cause of back pain that makes a person’s muscles stiff and tense. It can also worsen existing back pain in your body. According to the American Institute of Stress, back pain is a significant symptom of stress.

Stress can also alter the way your body perceives pain. So, if you think your back pain is due to stress, you can try relaxation exercises, yoga, or meditation to relieve it. Many experts also recommend breathing exercises for stress management.

9. Proper Footwear

High-heeled or too-tight footwear can misalign your legs, back, and hips, leading to severe strain on the spine. Shoes that lack a comfortable sole or have poor support also result in intense pressure on your spinal cord, resulting in excruciating back pain.

According to a study, people who wear shoes with customized orthotics for six weeks experience considerable improvement in their back pain. Consult a professional foot specialist to determine the correct orthotics for your condition.

As a self-safety measure, you must prevent wearing uncomfortable footwear and opt for low-heeled sandals and sneakers.

10. Cannabinoids (CBD / THC)

Cannabinoids are the components of cannabis plants that possess therapeutic effects for many health issues. The most popular cannabinoids include cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

THC is a significant component in marijuana and is responsible for causing the “high” among consumers. CBD, on the other hand, is present in the hemp plant and possesses exceptional medicinal effects. It doesn’t cause “high” among users. People have been using CBD oil as the best back surgery alternative for years.

A systematic review has also confirmed CBD’s pain reduction effects. However, more research is required to support the effectiveness of CBD oil in treating different types of pain. Also, CBD is illegal in some US states, so you must check with your local laws before buying it.

11. Orthobiologic Methods

Over the years, regenerative medicine has evolved a lot. Orthobiologic treatments have now become popular among people and athletes in treating spine, sports, and orthopedic injuries without going under the knife. These treatments are less invasive and less painful and don’t require the patient to spend a night at the hospital. They also have a shorter recovery period than surgery.

At CELLAXYS, our highly specialized doctors perform two orthobiologic methods: cell-based therapies and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy. The doctor will opt for any of these treatments depending on your condition.

Cell-based Therapies

You may already know cell-based therapies as stem cell therapy. This process includes harvesting healthy cells from your adipose tissue or bone marrow, processing them, and then reinjecting them into the injury site.

Since the procedure deals with your own or autologous cells, it has a high acceptance rate by your body. We perform two cell-based therapies depending on where your cells are extracted.

  • They minimally Manipulated Adipose Tissue Transplant (MMAT). During this process, the cells are extracted from your adipose (fat) tissues. The best part about MMAT is that the doctor can perform it in multiple locations in the same procedure.
  • Bone Marrow Concentrate (BMAC). This process harvests cells from your bone marrow to promote healing in the damaged back area.

MMAT and BMAC take about 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. The doctor uses live X-rays or Ultrasounds to detect the area causing back pain.

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy (PRP)

PRP has been an effective back surgery alternative for decades, especially for athletes worldwide. The process includes taking the patient’s blood sample and isolating platelets. Platelets are the healing components in our body that act as the first line of defense in case of any injury or trauma.

Once platelets are isolated, they are processed and reinjected into the area causing the pain. In the injury site, platelets release 10 Growth Factors to support the development of new tissues and cells. They also attract healing cells from the blood to promote recovery. Lastly, they produce fibrin, a web-like scaffolding to support the growth of new cells.

PRP is performed within 45 minutes, and the doctor will ask you to go home once it is completed. People who undergo PRP and cell-based therapies at CELLAXYS show remarkable improvement in their chronic back pain.

Sources

Footnotes

References

CELLAXYS does not offer Stem Cell Therapy as a cure for any medical condition. No statements or treatments presented by Cellaxys have been evaluated or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This site contains no medical advice. All statements and opinions are provided for educational and informational purposes only.

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Pouya Mohajer, M.D. is the Director of Spine and Interventional Medicine for CELLAXYS: Age, Regenerative, and Interventional Medicine Centers. He has over 20 years of experience in pain management, perioperative medicine, and anesthesiology. Dr. Mohajer founded and is the Medical Director of Southern Nevada Pain Specialists and PRIMMED Clinics. He has dedicated his career to surgical innovation and scientific advancement. More about the doctor on this page.

back surgery alternatives

Dr Pejman Bady

Contributor

Dr. Pejman Bady began his career over 20 years ago in Family/Emergency Medicine, working in fast-paced emergency departments in Nevada and Kansas. He has served the people of Las Vegas as a physician for over two decades. Throughout this time, he has been met with much acclaim and is now the head of Emergency Medical Services in Nye County, Nevada. More about the doctor on this page.

Dr. Pouya Mohajer

Pouya Mohajer, M.D. is the Director of Spine and Interventional Medicine for CELLAXYS: Age, Regenerative, and Interventional Medicine Centers. He has over 20 years of experience in pain management, perioperative medicine, and anesthesiology. Dr. Mohajer founded and is the Medical Director of Southern Nevada Pain Specialists and PRIMMED Clinics. He has dedicated his career to surgical innovation and scientific advancement. More details about the doctor on this page.

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