Why is An Integrative Approach to Spinal Pain Management Important?

Pain management isn’t a one-size-fits-all process. What works well for one person may not work at all for another, or it may work but not be as effective. This is why many healthcare facilities and doctors choose to use an integrated approach to pain management, especially when you consider spinal pain. This type of pain can be debilitating, and it can easily get worse. If you’re not sure what an integrated approach is or why it can help you manage your spinal pain, read on.

Three Main Objectives of an Integrative Approach to Spinal Pain Management

Instead of having one primary care doctor to help manage your pain, the integrated approach sets up an entire team of medical professionals who work together to help you manage your pain. They try to achieve three main objectives for you, and they are:

  • Empower Patients – Your team will work to empower you to take an active role in your care. They want you to understand the why behind everything they recommend to help make your pain more manageable.
  • Decrease Pain – Across the board, Pain management has the main objective of increasing how well you can function. In turn, this reduces the need for long-term therapies. It can help you do more in your daily life.
  • Prevent Chronic Disabilities – Chronic disability is a very real possibility if your spinal pain gets too bad to deal with. Integrated management for your pain works to prevent chronic disability. Also, it tries to reduce your need to attend long-term therapy sessions.

The Integrated Pain Management Approach

If you have chronic issues with pain and your back, there’s a good chance that you’ll have an ongoing relationship with a primary care physician and their nursing team. They’ll look at your history and what they learned from their relationship with you to tailor a specific treatment plan that they think will best serve you.

The doctor will typically recommend starting with an approach from one of the following groups, and they’ll adjust it as you find out what does and what doesn’t work for you. While you work through your choice, they’ll provide support through regular follow-up visits. If they exhaust all avenues, they can refer you to a pain or spine specialist.

External or Physical

The external or physical category encompasses things like osteopathic manual therapy, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care, NSAIDs, and more. You could end up using: 

  • Acupuncture – This is an alternative treatment that has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine. During a treatment, the acupuncturist will insert thin needles in your back at specific points to release pressure and improve the energy flow through your body to trigger a healing effect.
  • HVLA Manipulation – HVLA stands for high-velocity low-altitude manipulation. It’s a branch of chiropractic medicine where the chiropractor uses different techniques to align your spine. The goal is to reduce your pain levels by taking the strain off of your spine.
  • Massage – A massage therapist uses massage to help trigger tense muscles to release. If you’re in pain, your muscles can form knots that are painful. The tension can also cause muscle spasms. Massage releases this tension to help you relax and reduce your pain levels.
  • Non-HVLA Therapy – This category covers positional release therapy and muscle energy. It’s a form of massage that uses a specialized technique to treat chronic pain and muscle spasms using precise manipulation. This triggers your muscles to release and relax.
  • NSAIDs – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are medications that you can get at your local pharmacy without a prescription. They help to reduce inflammation, reduce pain, and lower fevers.

Internal and Emotional

The emotional and internal category focuses on mindfulness, emotional awareness therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. You train your mind to help you with your pain management using:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – This therapy gives you tools to change your thinking patterns. You could learn how to recognize distorted thought processes and look at them in the light of reality.
  • Emotional Awareness Therapy – This approach tries to reduce emotion and physical symptoms by helping you become more aware of all of your emotions. It can help you express these emotions and resolve any emotional conflicts to lower your stress and pain levels.
  • Mindfulness – Mindfulness means that you’re fully aware of what you’re doing at any given time. It also teaches you how to slow down and concentrate on your recovery.

Reconditioning or Support and Strength

The final category for the integrated pain management approach is support and strength or reconditioning. You’ll use the following to assist you in managing your pain:

  • Back Exercises – Back exercises can help you stretch and work the muscles around your spine to take the pressure off your spine. In turn, this can reduce any tenseness and stiffness in the area, lowering your pain.
  • Physical Therapy – A physical therapist will design a treatment plan to help strengthen your back while teaching your correct posture. They may give you assignments to follow at home as well as in-person sessions.
  • Structured Fitness Classes – Structured fitness is a class that targets a specific area so that it would be the spine and lower back. You’d follow this class as recommended by your doctor to strengthen your muscles, and it can also help relieve tension.

Florida Spine Associates is Ready to Help with Pain Management

If you’d like to know more about an integrated approach to pain management, contact us. Our staff is on hand and ready to answer your questions and set up a consultation today.