Kelsey-Seybold specialist says surgery may not be needed to treat back pain

Kelsey Seybold Staff

Police work can take a toll on the lower back. Too much sitting, whether behind a desk or in a patrol car, heavy duty belts and other gear, wrestling with lawbreakers and carrying extra weight can contribute to pain in the lower lumbar region. The good news is there are several effective nonsurgical treatments depending on the source of your pain. This includes yoga and chiropractic manipulation.

Pinpointing the cause

“During a medical visit, we first try to identify the origin of the pain and options to improve it,” says Siddharth Aranke, M.D., a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation/Spine specialist at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic.

The goal is to reduce or relieve pain, restore function and help patients regain the quality of life previously enjoyed.

“You may benefit from a program of physical therapy that includes back-strengthening exercises,” says Dr. Aranke, who cares for patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s Main Campus, The Vintage Clinic and Spring Medical and Diagnostic Center.

For pain management, Dr. Aranke may suggest over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen. In some cases, a muscle relaxant may be prescribed for short-term use.

When the pain is severe

“If pain is severe, we might recommend a series of injections in the spine,” he says. “Those, however, are usually reserved for patients with a pinched nerve, which often produces pain with periodic tingling or numbness.”

Dr. Aranke prefers “watchful waiting” before contemplating surgery in order to give nonsurgical therapy time to improve the patient’s condition. Fortunately, only a small percentage of patients with herniated discs will require surgery.

“A comprehensive rehabilitation program with physician and patient working together as a team is often the key to positive patient outcomes,” concludes Dr. Aranke.

For pain management, Dr. Aranke may suggest over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen. In some cases, a muscle relaxant may be prescribed for short-term use.

Tips for preventing back pain

 

It’s not possible to prevent all back pain or injury, but there are some things you can do to keep your back healthy.

 

  • Be mindful of what you eat. A healthy, balanced diet keeps bones and muscles strong.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Excess pounds put added stress on the structures of the lower back.
  • Work out consistently, including stretching, to keep joints flexible and back and abdominal muscles strong.
  • Use proper body mechanics. Pay attention to how you sit, stand and lift, and avoid twisting movements.
  • Don’t smoke. Doing so interferes with blood flow to the spine.