If you’ve tried one or more of the non-invasive interventions and treatments listed here without relief —including a combined physical and psychological treatment program, you’re probably feeling discouraged, maybe even desperate. So what should you do when nothing seems to work?
- Start by going back to your doctor, chiropractor, physiotherapist or other health care provider. Ask this person to review your situation and identify other strategies you can try to relieve your symptoms. While the experts can’t always identify the exact source of the problem, they can help lessen your anxiety by making sure that any serious causes of back pain have been ruled out. At the same time, taking a second look at your case may lead them to try a different strategy that might provide relief.
- Learn as much as you can about the subject of back and back-related leg pain from reputable sources. The more you know, the more likely it is that you’ll understand the key message for back pain sufferers: “Hurt rarely equals harm.” This awareness will make it easier for you to control your anxiety and to remain as active as possible. This should help to speed your recovery.
- Take responsibility for you own improvement. This doesn’t mean you’re in the situation alone. Many health care professionals and fellow back pain sufferers are out there and are willing to help. But you’re in control of your own recovery process.
- Stay active and stay engaged. Back pain is best managed if you try to maintain your normal routine. The more your pain separates you from your family, your friends or your job, the more your behaviour becomes a barrier greater than anything that might be going on in your spine.
- Realize that there’s no magic answer to back pain, no secret cure known only to chosen few. Beware of anyone promising relief without effort and a guarantee of immediate success. The best route to controlling your symptoms is in most cases going back to the basics and trying again.
- Don’t add to your anxiety by anticipating surgery. Surgery has a very limited role in the management of leg dominant pain and an even smaller place in the management of back dominant pain. It is not a treatment of last resort. The fact that nothing else has worked does not make you a candidate for an operation. Surgery is best done for the right reasons at the right time. The timing of a surgical intervention is almost as important as the nature of the operation itself. Occasionally, with the correct indications, surgery may be the best option and when it is needed and done correctly it is usually successful. (See When Surgery Is An Option).