Treatment Alternatives for Low Back Pain

Patient

Q: My best friend is a 24 year old female who has a slipped disc in her lower back and degenerative disc disease. She has been Oxycontin for a couple of years (that I know of). She can walk fine, but I notice time to time she will bend down and squat (as it eases the pain). The doctors that she has seen here in Georgia do want want to operate for some reason that I am unaware of. I'm curious as to what are some good options because she has a dependency on the Oxycontin now, and though she talks about wanting to fix it, she states that the doctors she has seen haven't been able to fix it or recommend any good alternative methods of treatment. I know for a fact that she said there was one option to inject in or around her lower back but wasn't given any more information. Please help!

Doctor

A:   During the acute phase of the pain, the physical therapy is very useful and involves use of ultrasound, TENS, heat to control pain, teaching the patient back-protection techniques (e.g., proper lifting, posture awareness).
A lumbar stabilization program is also useful in instructing the patient in various techniques to control his back pain, and he or she also works on strengthening the stabilizing muscles of the lumbar spine. If after follow a physical therapy program, and try every conservative measure the pain and the neurological symptoms do not improve, the surgical possibility should be considered to release the compressed nerve and avoid more damage.

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