Back pain often severely restricts those affected in everyday life and at work. There are many reasons for this, and clarity is usually only achieved by going to the doctor or orthopedic surgeon. In the case of herniated discs or bulging, conservative methods such as physiotherapy or targeted syringe treatment, also known as infiltration therapy, bring about rapid relief from symptoms in many cases.
"In doing so, we bring analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs exactly where the pain arises, for example in the facet joints or the sacroiliac joint," says Dr. Reinhard Schneiderhan, orthopedic surgeon from Munich and president of the German Spine League.
Break the vicious cycle
Before each treatment, a detailed discussion and a physical examination take place, possibly also with the help of imaging methods, with which the doctor clarifies the individual course of the disease, the type and extent of the pain and its cause. Individual measures can be initiated on the basis of this detailed assessment and diagnosis. For certain indications, infiltrations help to quickly become pain-free again, to move as usual and to give up any pain-relieved posture that aggravates the symptoms.
"With infiltrations, the vicious circle of back pain, careful posture, even more back pain can be broken quickly and effectively. In many cases, patients quickly become mobile again and we can work on the causes of the pain. This can be done, for example, with physiotherapy or other conservative methods, ”explains Dr. Reinhard Schneiderhan. Infiltrations often form part of multimodal pain therapy, which means that patients are also being treated by a physiotherapist or psychologist.
Controlled administration of pain medication
Periradicular pain therapy, or PRT for short, is one of the most common applications. Here, the doctor, usually under X-ray or CT control, injects special medication and painkillers, if necessary several times in succession, exactly at the painful area directly on the nerve root. Advantage of this method compared to conventional pain reliever therapy: Smaller amounts are sufficient than with tablets, the administered medication works faster and, above all, exactly at the affected area.
Even in the event of a herniated disc or a spinal narrowing, also called spinal stenosis, improvements in symptoms can be achieved by means of infiltrations. Soft tissue shrinks and distressed nerves can calm down. But that is often not enough: "With physiotherapy and sport, for example, patients have to train their abdominal and back muscles again in the long term to prevent further back problems," says Dr. Schneiderhan.