It’s not uncommon for patients to assume that the only way to relieve pain from musculoskeletal conditions is to undergo orthopedic surgery, whether it be for pain in the back, neck, shoulder, or elsewhere. Although surgical procedures are available to treat a wide variety of orthopedic conditions, in many cases surgery is only recommended as a last resort. Many orthopedic surgeons, including the ones at The Orthopedic Health Center, believe that it’s important to take a conservative approach to orthopedic care, with the goal of relieving pain without having the patient undergo an invasive surgical procedure.
Non-Surgical Orthopedic Alternatives
Depending on the source and cause of the pain, there may be several non-invasive alternatives to try before going through orthopedic surgery.
Immobilization Using Casts, Braces, or Boots
One common non-surgical approach to some injuries is to use casts, braces, or boots to immobilize the injured body part. Immobilizing the injured body part helps to hold everything together and reduces motion so that the area can heal. It can also help to reduce other effects of the injury, such as muscle spasms, pain, or swelling. This is commonly prescribed for injuries such as ankle sprain.
There are several types of injections that can be used to treat orthopedic pain, including facet joint injections, steroid epidural injections, nerve blocks, and more. Different injections are recommended in different scenarios. For example, corticosteroid injections are often used to provide relief for both pain and inflammation. It is commonly recommended for conditions such as shoulder bursitis.
Physical therapy is often used as part of an ongoing orthopedic treatment plan. Not only can physical therapy help relieve pain, but it can also help restore full function to the affected body part. Physical therapy involves targeted exercises that help align the body so that it is better equipped to support the injured body part. Exercises may target various types of function, including strength, flexibility, balance, coordination, range of motion, and more.
Medications can often play a useful role in temporarily relieving pain symptoms. Some patients may only need over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (e.g. Advil), acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol), or naproxen (e.g. Aleve). In some cases, an orthopedic specialist may prescribe medications such as oral steroids or muscle relaxants. Steroids are particularly useful for conditions in which there is swelling and muscle relaxants can be used to help ease tension.
Although lifestyle adjustments alone cannot always completely eliminate pain, they can make it much easier to heal. One of the most common lifestyle changes often recommended by orthopedic doctors is to be more mindful of posture. Poor posture while sitting or standing can cause or exacerbate a wide range of back and neck problems.
Orthopedic doctors also typically recommend that patients stick to a nutritious diet. Although there might not seem to be an immediate connection between the food we eat and the pain we feel in our backs, necks, or shoulders, a connection does exist. Eating healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains helps to speed up the body’s natural healing processes. On the flip side, many unhealthy foods (i.e. natural or processed foods that are high in sugar, cholesterol, and/or trans fats) can inhibit or slow down healing. Furthermore, many unhealthy foods can trigger inflammation, which can contribute to pain throughout the body. If weight is a contributing factor to the pain, eating a healthy diet, especially when combined with regular physical activity, can also help to reduce weight.
Advanced Non-Invasive Orthopedic Care & Surgery in Hudson County, NJ
At The Orthopedic Health Center, we explore every avenue possible before recommending surgery. In many cases, patients can achieve incredible results with the help of non-invasive procedures. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our offices in Hoboken and Jersey City.
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