Overview of Different Treatment Modalities
Treatment modalities with effective results for low-back pain are generally divided into two categories:
- Pharmacologic, including medications such as NSAID.
- Non-pharmacologic, including exercise, lifestyle changes, alternate therapies and the like.
On priority, the medical community places the ability to formulate and implement a treatment plan with the objective of enabling the patient to perform activities of daily living.
As per a report released by Nicholas A. DeAngelo, DO and Vitaly Gordin, MD, patients with lower back pain are often administered a blend of pharmacologic and non-pharmacologic treatments.
Stages of Treatment Modalities
The entire treatment modality formulated for a given patient of lower back pain has the following goals:
- To relieve immediate pain
- To formulate and implement a successful healing process
Here we briefly describe the treatment modalities for a patient of lower back pain.
Stage I – Diagnosis and Initial Management
The most common approach for a patient who seeks medical help for lower back pain is to prescribe ibuprofen and a muscle relaxant. For a patient diagnosed with acute pain, short-term use of a narcotic is at times advised.
At the end of this stage, the pain being experienced by the patient is characterized in to one of the below:
- Acute: If it has lasted less than 6 weeks
- Sub-acute: If it has lasted 6-12 weeks
- Chronic: If it has lasted more than 12 weeks
Stage II – Conservative Management
The further treatment and modalities to be followed depend on the above characterization. Normally, conservative treatment follows the initial medication.
Some of the most common forms of conservative or non-surgical treatment include:
- Activity modification
- Aerobic conditioning
- Pharmacologic Therapy
- Lifestyle alterations
- Psychological evaluation
Stage III – Operative Intervention
Surgical intervention is sought in cases when conservative management fails to have the required healing impact. The main conditions that require surgery for lower back pain include:
- Lumbar Disc Herniation
- Spinal Stenosis
The category of passive modalities is described as the application of some form of cold, heat or electricity to the body to assist in the process of pain management.
The term ‘passive’ comes from the fact that the modality is applied when the patient is at rest. The most common forms of heat include moist packs and ultrasounds. On the other hand, cold treatments or cryotherapy is administered through cold packs and ice massage of the low back.
Electric stimulation is also used to control pain. Specific types of this form include Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation (TENS) and microcurrent.
A range of diverse alternate therapies are employed to provide relief for patients of lower back pain. These primarily include:
- Massage Therapy
- Holistic Approach
- Gentle yoga
- Magnetic Therapies
- Easy Pilates