You've considered going to a pain clinic for treatment of your chronic lower back pain. After a complete examination, the pain management doctors, like those at Southwest Florida Neurosurgical Associates, will put together a plan that contains a number of ways to treat the pain. Medication is just one element in the plan. Other approaches are used in conjunction with the pain medicine to give you the most relief. Ask your doctors about some of the following treatment methods for your back pain to see if they may be effective in your case.
The practitioner of this technique inserts tiny needles just under the skin in places that correspond to the Chinese energy meridians. This stimulates circulation in the area and can cause the release of endorphins, your body's natural pain relievers. Some practitioners place a small piece of a smoldering herb on the end of the needle that is outside of the body. This is called moxibustion.
It can be a good practice to have an acupuncture session before you have physical therapy to reduce the risk of pain during your exercises.
Using the same Chinese energy meridians, this technique uses a gentle tapping of the fingers on the skin over the meridian to stimulate circulation and reduce pain. Another practice, called acupressure, uses steady pressure applied by the fingers to the meridians. You can have a practitioner perform these treatments on you. You can also learn how to use them yourself at home or work when you need immediate pain relief.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
This treatment uses a device with small electrodes that rest on your back. A slight electrical charge is sent into the area to block the pain signal from going to your brain. Without the signal, your body doesn't recognize the pain. This is not a treatment for the pain. When the TENS unit is turned off, you'll notice the pain again. But this device is useful if you need some relief when concentrating at work or on a home project.
Some people have good results with a special form of meditation. Mindfulness meditation teaches you to detach yourself from the pain and treat it as an individual entity. When successful, you can control how your body responds to the pain. You may be able to ignore the pain entirely or change the pain so you feel only warmth or pressure. You will start out using the meditation in a session with a practitioner, but you can also learn to use it at home by yourself.