Ways to Treat Chronic Back Pain Without Surgery

Ways to Treat Chronic Back Pain Without Surgery

  • chronic back pain

Back pain is extremely common, with a majority of Americans experiencing either acute or chronic back pain after the age of 30. Chronic back pain, which is discomfort that lasts for 12 weeks or more, can be especially debilitating. People may avoid exercising or other activities that can worsen existing soreness. The pain can harm your quality of life, limit career options, and even cause depression.

If the ache is severe enough, you may think surgery is the only option. A physician can help you decide if this is really the case. However, they may also tell you that you can treat chronic back pain without having an invasive procedure.

Here is a closer look at back pain and how to treat it without surgery.

What Causes Chronic Back Pain?

Back pain could come from a variety of health problems or injuries.

  • Pain from bone or spine development. Issues like scoliosis (a severely curved spine) or spina bifida (malformed vertebrae) can cause ongoing back pain, especially in the lower back.
  • Pain from injuries. Injuries can include muscle or tendon strains or sprains. Overuse of specific muscles could also lead to spasms, cramps, or joint pain.
  • Pain from trauma. Severe trauma could cause misalignment in the spine or compressed discs. These acute symptoms could lead to chronic pain if not properly managed.
  • Arthritis in the back. Arthritis causes inflammation in the back, making you feel stiff and causing pain when you move. Arthritis is usually an age-related condition, though some people can get osteoarthritis at a younger age.
  • Nerve issues. The spine has many nerves, and if one becomes compressed, it could cause pain. Sciatica, a compressed nerve problem, is a common source of lower back pain.
  • Illnesses. Infections or viruses can cause temporary stiffness or pain in your back. Some infections can move into your vertebrae, causing chronic pain that won’t go away until you treat the infection.


Unless you have a severe injury, you may be able to try non-surgical treatments to eliminate chronic back pain.

Non-Invasive Chronic Back Pain Treatments

Here are the most common examples of non-surgical treatments you can try.

Physical Therapy

If your back pain is related to posture, an injury, or repetitive motion strains, physical therapy may be the best choice. PT involves stretches, strength exercises, and posture correction. You work with a therapist and may use equipment, braces, or other tools to assist in your therapy. A PT specialist may also show you exercises that you can perform at home to prevent future injuries.


Your diet can affect your back health in several ways. First, eating anti-inflammatory foods can help relieve arthritis in back joints. Dishes including colorful vegetables, leafy greens, berries, nuts, and whole grains can offer these benefits. Fatty fish, such as salmon and sardines, have beneficial omega-3 acids that can counteract inflammation.

If you are overweight, you may be putting extra strain on your spine. A diet that helps you shed extra pounds can also bring some relief, especially if you suffer from lower back pain.

Acupuncture and Acupressure

Acupuncture uses small needles, placed just under your skin, to stimulate pressure points throughout your body. The goal is to stimulate the body’s natural responses to pain. Acupressure focuses on the same points, but it relies on hand pressure instead of needles for stimulation.

Heat or Topical Treatments

You can use heat for back pain. A heating pad can be especially useful for a muscle strain in your back. It loosens tight or stiff muscles and boosts circulation, which can speed up healing and recovery.

Topical lotions and gels can also help reduce acute or chronic back pain. Some of these treatments provide a circulation-boosting heating sensation, while others contain gentle numbing agents that offer short-term pain relief. Some topical medications have anti-inflammatory ingredients that can help relieve pain from arthritis in the back.


Injections may also provide relief from chronic back pain. There are several types of shots that you can get. Muscle relaxants or local anesthetics can loosen knotted muscles.

This may help correct posture issues related to overtightening. A doctor can also give you a steroid injection to reduce inflammation caused by an injury, illness, or arthritis.

Back Manipulation

A chiropractor or osteopathic doctor can apply pressure and manipulate your back to improve alignment. This can help with posture, relieve pain, and relax muscles. You may need a series of these non-invasive treatments to see full results.

Some specialists may use devices to aid in your chiropractic treatment. For example, they could put you into a traction device, which can gently stretch your spine, muscles, and ligaments with the goal of improving alignment.

Massage therapists also manipulate muscles, but they are not qualified to perform the same structural manipulations as licensed chiropractors and osteopaths.

Get Help for Your Chronic Back Pain

Carolinas Pain Center offers treatments for chronic pain. If you are suffering from issues such as back arthritis or a muscle strain, please reach out. Our medical experts can offer diagnoses, treatment options, and pain management solutions. We can offer choices that can bring you relief and help you perform your daily activities without discomfort.

If you are ready to address chronic back pain, make an appointment with Carolinas Pain Center today. 

Guide to Sciatica Pain and How to Manage It

  • sciatica pain

As the thickest nerve in your body, your sciatic nerve plays a crucial role in helping your lower limbs move and feel. It has several roots in your lower back and bottom of your spine that flow through a series of musculoskeletal structures. When one of those structures pinches or places pressure on the nerve, you may notice an uncomfortable back pain that also runs down your leg. You may hear medical professionals refer to this as sciatica. 

While the condition is common, sciatica isn’t something you have to live with. With a series of multidisciplinary interventions and self-help techniques, you can combat sciatic nerve pain. Alongside making an appointment to address your pain, there are self-help methods you can use.

Common sciatica pain causes

As one of your sciatic nerve’s primary functions is to feed sensations back to your central nervous system (CNS), it’s sensitive to anything that rubs it or places pressure on it. As such, when you suffer from a slipped disc or a musculoskeletal structure rubbing against it, your brain perceives that event as being painful.

Slipped discs are usually the commonest cause of sciatica. A slipped disc usually occurs after lots of repeat movements that don’t protect your back — for example, lifting heavy objects with the wrong manual handling technique.

You can also experience sciatica when your spine narrows or if a spinal bone pushes out of place. Lower back injuries are another common cause. In a lot of cases, it’s unusual for one single event to result in sciatica. By the time the pain arises, you’ve probably spent months or years engaging in poor posturing or harmful repeat movements. 

How long does sciatica pain normally last?

An acute case of sciatica may last between one and six weeks. The most painful sensations are likely to last for one to two weeks, with some residual pain following. However, you may be able to reduce your symptoms and the amount of time your condition lasts with appropriate pain management. 

Tips for managing sciatica pain

There’s a lot you can do to help yourself when it comes to sciatic nerve pain. However, it’s also advisable to seek assistance from medical professionals. In many cases, a multidisciplinary approach achieves the dual benefits of reducing your pain and stopping it from happening again.

Sciatic pain self-help tips

There are certain stretches you can perform to treat your sciatic nerve pain. One is the piriformis stretch. Your piriformis is a muscle that runs from your lower spine through to your thigh bone. When it presses on your sciatic nerve, it causes sciatica. As such, stretching it at home may reduce some of your symptoms.

To stretch your piriformis muscle, lie flat on your back on the floor. Take your leg from the affected side and place the ankle just above the opposite knee. Place your hands behind the knee your ankle is resting on and pull your leg up off the floor and toward you. Hold the stretch for five seconds, then repeat. 

Managing sciatic pain at work

You can gain a lot of relief from sciatica by changing the way you spend your time at work. If you’re in a role that involves sitting at a desk a lot, ensure your chair provides the right type of lumbar support. You should also get up and walk around at least every hour to provide your lower back muscles with some natural movement. If you engage in any type of lifting and carrying, make sure your employer offers you some manual handling training, and follow the techniques they suggest. 

Professional sciatic pain management

Alongside trying self-help techniques, it’s worth seeking advice from a professional. A range of approaches can be used to reduce your pain and stop it from occurring again. This may include physiotherapy and medications. A professional can also help identify the physical cause of your pain, which may assist you in making appropriate lifestyle changes.

Advice for preventing sciatica pain

Moving forward, there are some areas of your life you can address to lessen sciatica pain. Whether you work at an office, from home, or in a labor-intensive job, assess your posture to see if it’s compromising your lower back and spine. People who smoke are more likely to experience sciatica, so quitting is well worth your while. You should always try some exercise that’s within your comfort zone, and if you’re overweight, then now’s a good time to lose some.

Sciatic pain is undeniably uncomfortable. However, with a range of self-help techniques and professional interventions, you can lessen yours and keep it at bay. To get more help for your sciatica pain, reach out to our team at Carolinas Pain.

A Guide to Chronic Pain Management

  • chronic pain management

Chronic pain management is crucial. Everyone experiences pain at some point in their lives. Whether it’s a sharp shoot after banging your elbow or the aches of an upset stomach, pain is an unfortunate aspect of existing. When you start to experience chronic pain, life can become unpleasant. 

By definition, chronic pain lasts for 12 weeks or more. It can arise without any history of an injury or operation. If you’re experiencing it, chances are you’re undergoing some significant mental and physical strains. Alongside making an appointment to manage your pain, it’s worth learning more about how you can address it. 

What chronic pain feels like

Everyone’s experience of chronic pain is different, so it isn’t easy to pinpoint exactly what it feels like. However, many describe it as sharp, dull, aching, or burning. You may also notice painful tingles in some areas or an overall unpleasant sensation accompanied by fatigue.

Alongside the physical sensations that come with chronic pain, it’s important to acknowledge the other ways it can make you feel:

  • Persistent tiredness or an inability to complete everyday activities
  • Anxiety and signs of depression
  • Feeling stiff
  • A sensation that your bones and muscles are weak

When you discuss every aspect of your condition with a professional, they’ll form a chronic pain management plan that addresses everything. It may help you to keep a diary of your symptoms so you feel confident discussing them with the people who provide your treatment.

Self-help for managing chronic pain

Chronic pain management can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. However, by routinely engaging in self-help measures, you can gain control of your condition. Doing so alongside seeking help from a professional can be empowering and life-changing.


Exercise plays an important role in chronic pain management. You don’t need to do anything too strenuous. Instead, focus on gentle exercises that boost endorphins and stretch your muscles. Popular forms of exercise include swimming, walking, yoga, and stretching. It may help to speak to a physiotherapist who can recommend specific approaches for your condition. It’s also important to know that doing small amounts of exercise on your bad days is as important as reaching your goals on your good days.

Staying in work

Staying away from work may result in your symptoms worsening. You might also increase your risk of depression if you quit your job. If you’re finding that work is difficult, speak to a medical professional so they can discuss useful occupational adjustments. You may also want to speak to your boss or supervisors so that they have the chance to assist you. If you feel especially fatigued, it may be useful to reduce to part-time hours.

Professional help for chronic pain relief

If you’re seeking professional help for chronic pain, it’s best to take a multidisciplinary approach. Chronic pain can benefit from the attention of doctors, physiotherapists, and counselors. The type of treatment you’ll use may vary according to where you are in your journey and the symptoms you’re experiencing.

Medications for chronic pain

Medications for pain range from everyday off-the-shelf products to specialist targeted therapies. The types you’ll benefit from will vary according to the symptoms you’re experiencing. It’s important to get an accurate diagnosis and prescription from someone who understands chronic pain well. The team caring for you may also want to review your medications from time to time.

Mental health support

Battling with chronic pain can sometimes affect your mental health. For example, you may feel anxious about everyday activities. You might also experience signs of depression. Unfortunately, anxiety and depression can worsen your symptoms. It’s for that reason that seeking counseling is important. With the right techniques, you can bring a sense of balance to your well-being and feel confident in managing your condition.

Chronic pain physiotherapy

Physiotherapy can become one of your most useful tools in managing chronic pain. An experienced physiotherapist can guide you through exercises and give you advice on using them at home. With the right approach, you can improve your function and your movement.

Living with chronic pain

Chronic pain can easily touch every area of your day-to-day life. Fortunately, having the right support in place and emboldening yourself with knowledge can make a big difference. Whether the cause of your pain is unknown or has clear medical roots, our team is ready to support you.

What Happens When You Over Strain a Muscle?

  • muscle strain

A muscle strain can be seriously painful in some cases, while in other instances, the you might be able to manage the pain and you may not even notice that damage has been done. Discover more about what happens when you overstrain a muscle and why you need to treat a strained muscle with care.

Understanding a Muscle Strain

A muscle strain is basically a rupture or a tear of the soft tissue within your skeletal muscles — the organs that provide strength, power, and stability to your musculoskeletal system. This immediately makes a strain different from something like a sprain. A sprain is a rupture of a ligament, i.e. damage to the connective tissue that joins bones with other bones. 

While muscle strains may occur across an array of different areas — from calves and thighs to your biceps and chest — sprains occur almost exclusively in joints. This is because joints, such as the wrists, knees, and ankles, are found at points where two or more bones meet and are held together by ligaments, while the main muscles are found away from the joints.

You can strain a tendon, too, which refers to damage to the connective tissue joining muscles with bones. Ruptures of the Achilles tendon between the foot and knee, or hamstrings between the knee and hip, are common. However, we’re going to be focusing on strains that occur specifically in the muscle.

What Happens If You Over Strain a Muscle?

There are two fundamental ways to overstrain a muscle:

  1. Placing high amounts of stress on the muscle over a long period of time — a chronic strain.
  2. Placing a high amount of stress on the muscle suddenly — an acute strain.

In both of these instances, the same thing is happening. The muscle fibers have to stretch to provide power and support for the musculoskeletal system. In the event of a strain, they are stretched too far, extending beyond their safe capacity and leading to a rupture or tear in the tissue itself. 

An acute strain might occur because the muscle is not properly warmed up ahead of exertion, or if an unexpectedly high load is placed on it. A chronic strain might occur because the frequency or duration of intense activity is increased beyond normal levels, resulting in a small tear that grows more severe over time.

Recognizing a Severe Muscle Strain

Some degree of tearing is normal for muscles. During exercise, muscles often develop tiny ruptures known as micro-tears, resulting in that familiar post-workout soreness. However, a muscle strain generally involves a larger tear and can be debilitating for the sufferer.

Muscle strains are defined by three categories:

  • The mildest form of strain is a first-degree strain. This may cause tenderness or low level pain, which grows worse as the muscle is flexed.
  • The next form of strain is a second-degree strain. You may notice swelling around the muscle or even an indentation where the tear has occurred. You will find it difficult to move the area and use the muscle due to pain.
  • The most severe form of strain is a third-degree strain. It will be almost impossible to move the affected area, and there may be severe levels of pain. In some cases, however, an especially severe strain might result in no pain in the immediate aftermath.

This information is intended to serve as a guide as you recognize the severity of your strain. It’s not a substitute for medical attention or professional advice. If you think you have strained a muscle and the issue is not going away, seek medical evaluation.

Give Muscle Strains the Attention They Deserve

If you have a regular exercise routine or simply a busy life, it’s tempting to ignore a muscle strain. Milder strains may not feel too bad, and you may feel able to keep on exercising and moving about, albeit with a limited range of movement. This is generally a mistake.

A strained muscle needs time to heal. Depending on the severity, it may take anywhere between three weeks and several months to heal completely. Continuing to use your injured muscle means putting more pressure and stress on the strained area — this weakened area is not going to be able to cope, and the strain will worsen.

P.R.I.C.E. is a good acronym to bear in mind while you allow your muscle to heal.

  • Protection — Remove all stress, strain, or impact from the muscle.
  • Rest — Give the muscle time to recuperate.
  • Ice — Reduce swelling by cooling the injured area with ice.
  • Compression — Bandage the muscle and compress to accelerate healing.
  • Elevation — Try to keep the injured muscle above the level of your heart during healing.

Remember, if you have any uncertainties or concerns, consult a medical professional or rehab specialist without delay.

Overcome Muscle Strains Safely and Effectively with Carolinas Pain Center

Here at Carolinas Pain Center, we provide expert treatment and rehabilitation services for anyone suffering from a muscle strain or other similar injury. Reach out today to book your appointment or to chat with a member of our team.