Millions of Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain that can make it difficult for them to enjoy life and fulfill daily responsibilities. Desperate for relief, many turn to invasive surgical procedures aimed at correcting some type of underlying problem. Unfortunately, surgery can be painful and risky. Many times, it also proves fruitless, especially when chronic pain manifests itself in a vague way. While some types of pain may demand invasive procedures; two common forms can be treated without surgery. If you suffer from either of the following, you don’t have to go under the knife to get relief.
Lower Back Pain
Although modern medicine has made great progress over the decades; it hasn’t necessarily made great strides in treating back pain using surgery. Often, pain persists even after patients have undergone invasive surgical procedures. For decades, many people have sworn by acupuncture as a nonsurgical treatment for lower back pain. Now, it appears their testimonies are credible.
Researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Peninsula Medical School, Plymouth, U.K. recently analyzed numerous studies to assess the efficacy of acupuncture as a viable treatment for lower back pain. In the end, they found that the non-surgical treatment provided “true pain relief,” which is good news for people who endure chronic back pain, but fear the prospects of going under the knife.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)
A debilitating condition that causes headaches, tinnitus, chewing difficulties and significant pain, temporomandibular joint disorder can make life miserable for the millions who are forced to endure it on a daily basis. Unfortunately, acupuncture and other alternative therapies don’t tend to provide much TMD relief. Because of this, many people resort to invasive surgical procedures that don’t always prove successful. On the other hand, countless TMD patients find relief from their chronic pain, when they receive a nonsurgical dental treatment that focuses on the root cause of the condition.
“Usually, TMD is caused by malocclusion,” said TMJ dentist Dr. Adam Hahn of Columbia, South Carolina. “This means a patient’s teeth don’t fit together properly. Malocclusion may result from head trauma, past dental work or natural wear or damage to teeth. By correcting the bite non-surgically, we are able to restore a person’s jaw to its ideal position. At this point, TMD symptoms disappear, and a patient is able to enjoy a symptom-free life.”
Dentists such as Hahn employ several strategies to treat TMD, including TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), orthotics, and dental restorations. Ultimately, patients are able to get the treatment they need without having to endure the pain and downtime associated with surgery.
An Informed Decision
Unfortunately, many people often find themselves pushed toward surgery, because some medical professionals have individual prejudices against non-surgical treatments, or they simply don’t know these treatments exist. Before you opt for surgery, meet with more than one physician; so you can make an informed choice regarding how to best treat your chronic pain.
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Ryan Lawrence writes for Off-Topic Media. Photo by Tom Varco. Thanks to Smile Columbia Dentistry and Dr. Adam Hahn for lending his expertise in TMJ disorder to this story.