chronic lower back pain sciatica Richmond VAAt Commonwealth Spine and Pain Specialists, we will perform test and diagnostic imaging to determine the source of your lower back pain. Once we determine the cause, then the appropriate treatment can be prescribed. Our doctors begin treatment with the least invasive and most conservative approach to reduce your pain. Often, a short period of rest and then a physical therapy rehabilitation program is used to strengthen muscles and reduce pain.

There are many treatment options for lower back pain, depending on the cause and severity of the pain.

  • Heat and/or cold therapy. Heat and ice may be used alternately to relieve inflammation in the back. Heat therapy increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the back muscles, promoting healing. Heat also increases flexibility. Cold therapy is most beneficial right after a back injury occurs–within the first 48 hours. Ice packs can help relieve the initial pain and should never be applied directly to the skin. Ice packs should be wrapped in a towel and applied to the area for no more than 20 minutes at a time.

  • Rest. Resting is beneficial only for the first couple of days after the injury occurs. Resting during this time allows tissue and nerves to begin the healing process. It is important to note that after the first few days, one needs to move around, exercise, and stretch to avoid the back becoming too weak. Weak muscles are susceptible to reinjury and prolonged pain.

  • Medication. Most lower back pain responds well to over-the-counter medications that reduce inflammation. In cases of severe back pain, a physician may recommend a prescription medication.

  • Exercise/Physical Therapy. Exercise is incredibly important–it strengthens your muscles and increases flexibility. This heals your injury and makes you less susceptible to reinjury in the future. Your physician might recommend an exercise program to you or refer you to a physical therapist–exercises will focus on aerobic conditioning, strengthening and stretching.

  • Chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic treatment can help reduce pain and increase mobility by manipulating the spine.

  • Steroid injections. Steroid injections to the spine are a pain relief option for cases where back pain is prolonged and disabling. These injections do not heal the injury and should be used in combination with healing methods such as exercise.

  • Surgery. Most lower back pain cases do not require surgery. Surgery is usually a last resort after less invasive treatment options have been exhausted. patient is showing no improvement or if there is a tumor present in the spine. Surgical options for lower back pain include discectomy and laminectomy. After surgery, the patient will need to engage in a stringent rehabilitation program including physical therapy.

Dr. Barsanti and Dr. Long at Commonwealth Spine and Pain Specialists, who are both board-certified anesthesiologists with subspecialties in pain medicine, provide several of the treatments described above at Commonwealth Spine & Pain Specialists.

Doctors Barsanti and Long are experienced practitioners of discography, a special diagnostic scan for patients who have not gotten pain relief after 4-6 months; lumbar epidural spine injections, which often help relieve pain in the lower back, buttocks and thighs after “failed” back surgery syndrome; and interventional treatment strategies as appropriate.

Please contact us at (804) 288-7246 at Commonwealth Spine and Pain Specialists to learn more about our expertise in and treatment successes with chronic cases of lower back pain.