Nonsurgical Conservative Treatment for Back or Neck Pain

Surgery is rarely the first treatment option explored for patients with persistent neck or back pain.

At NeurosurgeryOne, formerly South Denver Neurosurgery, we are committed to offering patients information on all appropriate treatment options to relieve their pain. With two highly experienced physiatrists in our practice, we can offer a range of nonsurgical treatment plans to help reliever your back pain or neck pain. Physiatry is the use of non-surgical treatments aimed at restoring function, reducing pain, and improving quality of life for patients. Read more about the nonsurgical pain relief procedures

We provide information on the benefits and risks of each option and help you determine the right treatment for your condition, your lifestyle, and your goals. We welcome your questions, and will do our best to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about your treatment. Before exploring spine surgery as an option, your physician may recommend:

Medications for Back Pain or Neck Pain

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help relieve pain and reduce the inflammation that is common with osteoarthritis. NSAIDs are available over the counter, as well as in prescription strength.
  • Muscle relaxants, such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), can calm muscle spasms that occasionally occur.
  • Antidepressants can ease chronic pain and help with sleep.
  • Anti-seizure drugs are sometimes used to reduce pain caused by damaged nerves.
  • Opioids, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, can be effective pain relievers, but can be highly habit-forming.


Physical Therapy for Back Pain and Neck Pain

Many people who experience chronic back and neck pain benefit from exercises designed to reduce pain, including pain that radiates along the arms or down the legs. In addition to exercises, a physical therapist might use heat, ice, or ultrasound to help reduce muscle spasms where appropriate.


Steroid Injections for Back Pain and Neck Pain

Your nerve roots may become irritated and swollen at the spots where they are being pinched. Injecting a corticosteroid can help reduce the inflammation and relieve some of the pressure. However, steroid injections don't work for everyone. And repeated steroid injections can weaken nearby bones and connective tissue, so only a few injections a year are suggested. In addition to steroid injections for back pain and neck pain, our fellowship-trained physiatrists offer:

  • Facet injections, using steroid to reduce pain in these inflamed and degenerative joints.
  • Radiofrequency neurotomy, which involves cauterizing small nerves to block pain signals.

Read more about nonsurgical pain relief procedures. 


Neck Bracing

For some patients with persistent neck pain, a cervical collar or brace may provide some rest for the cervical spine, and some pain relief.


Acupuncture for Back Pain and Neck Pain

Acupuncture is a safe treatment for back and neck pain, and when properly performed by a trained acupuncturist, many patients find it does provide some pain relief.