Non-Surgical Options for Back & Spine

A Variety of Non-Surgical Treatment Options

Many spinal conditions can be successfully treated without the use of surgery. Our team offers a variety of nonsurgical treatment options:

Diagnostic & Therapeutic Blocks

The nerves in the spine are responsible for transmitting a variety of signals-including pain signals-to areas throughout the body. When these nerves are the suspected source of your chronic pain, one of Lahey’s interventionally trained physicians may perform an injection to block the painful sensations coming from your spinal nerves.

Exercise Programs

These programs are prescribed by your physician, under the guidance of a physical therapist, and are specially tailored to your unique circumstances.

Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM)

A doctor of osteopathy (DO) uses hands-on techniques to manually apply pressure to spinal joints, tissues or muscles to relieve pain, promote healing and improve mobility. OMM may be used alone or as part of a comprehensive treatment program including medication, injections, physical therapy and/or surgery.

Physiatry Services

Using a variety of nonsurgical techniques, a physiatrist (physician who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation) directs a comprehensive rehabilitation team-including physical therapists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation nurses, psychologists, social workers, and others-to reduce your spinal pain and improve overall functioning.

What Is a Physiatrist?

Physiatrists are physicians who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation, including the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and pain syndromes, electrodiagnostic medicine, and rehabilitation of patients with severe impairments. These conditions may include sports and/or work injuries, as well as degenerative conditions such as arthritis or lower back pain.

The physiatrist directs a comprehensive rehabilitation team of professionals that may include:

  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists
  • Recreational therapists
  • Rehabilitation nurses
  • Psychologists
  • Social workers
  • Speech-language pathologists
  • Others

About Our Physiatrists

Physiatrists at Lahey’s Spine Center fit into one of two categories:

  • Doctor of Medicine (MD)
  • Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO)

As with MDs, DOs educated in the United States are fully licensed physicians and surgeons who practice the full scope of medicine. Both MDs and DOs complete similar education and training (e.g., medical school, residencies, licensure exams). The main difference is that DOs receive extra training in the musculoskeletal system, which includes the bones, joints and muscles. DOs apply the philosophy of treating the whole person with respect to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of illness. They treat the disease and injury using conventional medical practice (e.g., medication and surgery), along with manual therapy known as osteopathic manipulative medicine, or OMM.

Our physiatrists also have sub-specialty training in pain medicine. Pain medicine physicians diagnose and treat a myriad of painful conditions using a variety of narcotic and non-narcotic medications, injections, interventional procedures, behavioral medicine approaches, physical medicine approaches, and alternative medicine techniques.

Physiatry Services at Lahey

The goal of the physiatrist’s team is to improve overall function of the patient. The following non-surgical management techniques may be used in the diagnosis and treatment of spine conditions:

  • Treatment with narcotic and non-narcotic pain medicine
  • Spinal injections, including fluoroscopically guided cervical and lumbar epidural steroid injections and diagnostic medial branch blocks, intra-articular facet blocks
  • Sympathetic blocks, including stellate ganglion and lumbar sympathetic plexus
  • Radiofrequency ablation of the cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine
  • Placement and management of neuro-modulatory techniques, including spinal cord and peripheral nerve stimulation systems
  • Osteopathic manipulative medicine
  • Trigger point injection therapy
  • Fluoroscopically guided sacroiliac injections
  • Occipital nerve blocks
Physical Therapy/Rehabilitation

Lahey’s physical therapists are available to work with you, on both an inpatient and outpatient basis, to improve impairments, functional limitations, disabilities, or changes in physical function related to spinal injury or disease.

We provide a full range of advanced surgical and nonsurgical treatment options. Based on your diagnostic evaluation, we may recommend surgery, a rehabilitation program (e.g., physical therapy), chiropractic and osteopathic manipulative medicine, and pain management techniques provided by physiatry or the anesthesia pain service or a combination of these therapies.

The outpatient physical therapy staff consists of 50 dynamic therapists at Lahey Rehabilitation Services, Danvers; Lahey Outpatient Center, Lexington; Lahey Rehabilitation Services, Burlington; and Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. Our outpatient therapy staff includes specialists and those with advanced certifications.