Conservative therapy is a non-surgical approach, non-invasive approach to alleviating and healing spinal pain in the back and neck as well as pain in and around the extremities. Conservative therapy employs:
- Medication- as recommended by your medical doctors
- Injections- as recommended by your medical doctors
- physical therapy- strengthening, flexibility, manual therapy, patient education
Most pain is treatable utilizing conservative care. Combining several conventional treatments is generally recommended to aid in helping decrease pain and heal the spine. Patients in the early stages of pain benefit the most from physical therapy. If physical therapy is initiated early this will provide the most benefit to the patient to get back to their regular routine and will slow down the progression of the pain.
What Medications are Used in Conservative Therapy?
Drugs used in conservative therapy may include: (Please consult with your physician)
- NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) such as Advil or aspirin
- Muscle relaxants
Even though medications and injections can provide near to medium-term relief from pain, only physical therapy actually addresses the root causes of discomfort. If you lift things repeatedly with bad posture but simply take a narcotic to manage the pain, you will be taking this pill indefinitely.
Managing pain is important to improving quality of life; however, some of the medicines used in conservative treatment come with the risk of forming dependencies. Drugs are best used alongside physical therapy to decrease pain initially as the benefits of physical therapy progress.
What Types of Injections are Used in Conservative Therapy?
Steroid injections are commonly used in conservative treatment, with cortisone being the most widely used. These injections may decrease inflammation and alleviate pain, and the effects may last from 6 weeks to 6 months. However, there are some risks involved. Infection can occur. While this is uncommon, occurring in less than 1% of the injections given, it is still a risk.
3 or 4 cortisone shots per year in any one area is the maximum recommendation. Cortisone shots can cause tissue near the injection site to break down or the skin to thin. Injections are generally employed only after other, less invasive conservative measures, such as physical therapy, are tried first.
Conservative Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is a non-invasive treatment for joint, muscle, and spinal pain. Physical therapy as a conservative pain management approach is most beneficial in the early stages of musculoskeletal and joint pain. Physical therapy can help people in many stages of pain, not simply those who seek it out early on.
How Does Conservative Physical Therapy Work?
Before beginning treatment, your therapist may do an in-depth evaluation to learn about your previous injuries, habits, and daily life to pinpoint potential causes of discomfort.
Physical Therapists look at all aspects of your life, including your diet, sleep patterns/positions, hydration, how much you sit, ergonomics at work, what activities or actions you do daily, family health history, and injuries or conditions from the past. This thorough evaluation procedure will help your therapist produce a comprehensive program to alleviate pain long-term.
Physical therapy is responsive to each individual’s flexibility, strength, and lifestyle. Physical therapists seek to stabilize weak joints and the muscles that support them and mobilize the stiff and restricted ones. Physical Therapists also address the soft tissue restrictions that may be limiting the overall range of motion of the affected area.
Conservative physical therapy looks at all aspects of your life to assist you in making systematic changes and bringing awareness to your daily movement patterns.
Sometimes losing a little weight can benefit health and pain management greatly. Less weight on the joints eases the strain on your body. Physical therapy exercises, along with simple dietary changes that your therapist may advise, can help you lose weight.
Physical Therapy may include:
- strengthening exercises
- range of motion exercises
- exercises to improve flexibility
- balance and body awareness exercises
- dizziness and vertigo exercises
- exercises to improve cardiorespiratory function
- exercises to improve functional mobility
- Manual therapy to improve joint and soft tissue mobilization
- Modalities such as heat/ice, electrical stimulation, cold laser
While the desire to instantly remove pain is understandable, it is shortsighted to think that back pain occurring from a traumatic injury or an issue that has taken years to develop can be fixed in a week or with a medication or injection. While medications and injections can help alleviate the pain, only physical therapy addresses the long-term solution by addressing the root causes of pain.
Lasting Pain Relief Starts at Advanced Care
At Advanced Care Physical Therapy, we understand that our success is a direct result of our team providing the highest level of clinical care to our patients at every opportunity, creating a best-in-class work environment for all team members, and developing collaborative relationships and partnerships for everyone connected with our company. Our mission, vision and values can be found in each and every interaction.
If you’re experiencing pain, our knowledgeable staff can help. To schedule an appointment, call us at 716-282-2888 or fill out our online form.