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5 Ways to Manage Pain Before Spine Surgery

By March 19, 2024No Comments

We know that awaiting spine surgery can be a trying time filled with discomfort and anxiety, which is why many of our patients ask us how to manage back or neck pain at home. The board-certified doctors at Spine Medicine and Surgery of Long Island are here to offer several options for managing back or neck pain while you wait for surgery.

1. Medication

Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers often step in as a first line of defense for managing pre-operative pain. Common options include ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and naproxen. These medications are meant to help reduce inflammation and alleviate pain. Just remember to follow the recommended dosages and be aware of potential side effects. If you need clarification on which medication is safe for you and will help with your specific back or neck pain, check with our spine surgeons, Dr. Choi or Dr. Toombs, or our pain management specialist, Dr. Argyriou.

2. Massage Therapy

Massage therapy can significantly help in providing back pain relief before surgery. How? Massage therapy eases muscle tension and improves blood circulation. A massage therapist will use techniques suitable for neck and back pain, including massage techniques for a herniated disc if you’re waiting for a cervical disc replacement.

A few common massage techniques for managing back and neck pain include:

  • acupressure (shiatsu)
  • deep-tissue massage
  • neuromuscular therapy
  • myofascial release
  • cranial-sacral therapy

A review of studies found that those who went to a massage therapist for sub-acute back pain found relief over those who didn’t try massage therapy at all. Massage therapy is an option for short-term relief, not as full treatment of back pain, which makes it helpful for managing pain while waiting for back surgery.

Not one for massage therapy? You can try simple self-massage techniques, like this tennis ball massage exercise.

3. Gentle Stretching

Incorporating gentle stretching exercises into your daily routine can also help you with managing back pain or neck pain. Stretching helps you maintain flexibility and mobility and can reduce muscle stiffness associated with your back or neck pain. Focus on slow, smooth stretches without pushing your body to the point of pain or discomfort. Stretching exercises such as neck and trunk rotations, standing lumbar extensions, and a mid back stretch like child’s pose can help.

4. Keep Moving

One of the back pain remedies that sometimes surprises our patients is: keep moving! It might seem counterintuitive, but staying physically active helps in managing pre-surgery pain. Engage in light, regular physical activity like walking, swimming, or yoga. Low-impact exercises can keep your joints flexible and muscles strengthened, contributing to overall back pain relief before surgery and helping with recovery afterwards. Remember to listen to your body to avoid overexertion that could worsen your condition.

Not sure which type of light exercise to try? This study compared the benefits of walking versus yoga on chronic back pain and found that walking helps more with long-term pain relief while yoga is more effective at temporarily managing back pain. We suggest including both to cover your bases!

5. See a Pain Management Specialist

If managing pre-operative pain is proving difficult, consider consulting a pain management specialist like Dr. Argyriou. As a board-certified physiatrist and pain medicine specialist, Dr. Argyriou offers state-of-the-art, non-invasive and minimally invasive interventional pain management treatments at our Garden City and Ronkonkoma, NY, offices.

Depending on your diagnosis and the surgery you are waiting for, Dr. Argyriou might recommend non-surgical treatments such as facet joint injection followed by radiofrequency ablation or epidural steroid injections that offer temporary back or neck pain relief.

Helping You With Managing Neck or Back Pain Before Surgery

As you can see, short-term back and neck pain remedies do exist to help you live more comfortably while waiting for surgery. Have questions or need more back and neck pain relief recommendations? Make an appointment with our Garden City, Ronkonkoma and Teaneck spine medicine team.

With a personalized, innovative approach, we’re your leading spine surgeon office in Suffolk, Nassau and Bergen counties. We’re ready to help you find the best ways to manage your neck or back pain at home while you wait for surgery.

Dr. Daniel Choi

Author Dr. Daniel Choi

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