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Nonsurgical Spine Treatments

Back pain can range from uncomfortable and inconvenient to severe and debilitating. At MUSC Health, we treat the whole person and not just the pain. We work with you to diagnose the cause and develop a long-term treatment plan to help you live a pain-free, active life.

Request an Appointment

To request information about our non-surgical spine treatments or make an appointment, please call 843-792-5000. You can also learn more about our Spine Center, including the conditions we treat, the members of our team and our locations.

Nonsurgical Spine Treatments at MUSC Health: Why Choose Us?

Back pain is difficult to live with. At MUSC Health, our highly trained spine specialists take the time to understand your symptoms and work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan.

At MUSC Health, you benefit from:

  • Team of experts: Our spine specialists manage your care from start to finish. All of our doctors have passed rigorous, optional tests (board certification) in their specialty. Many have also completed additional sub-specialty training (fellowships). You can feel confident that you’re receiving top care.
  • Wide range of options: We work with you to develop an effective treatment plan based on your specific needs and circumstances. From anti-inflammatory steroid injections to long-term management with spinal cord stimulation, we offer treatments for every type of spine pain. While we always consider non-surgical alternatives first, we also offer top spine surgery
  • Latest treatments: As the region’s only academic medical center, we stay up-to-date on the latest and most effective diagnostic and treatment options. You receive the most advanced care available.
  • Award-winning care: Becker’s Hospital Review has named MUSC Health one of the top 100 Hospitals with a Great Neurosurgery and Spine Program.

Back & Spine Pain Diagnosis

It’s important to accurately diagnose the cause of your back pain to develop an effective treatment plan. At MUSC Health, our spine specialists gather as much information as possible before discussing treatment options.

Our evaluation starts with a comprehensive physical exam and a review of your medical and pain history. The evaluation may also include:

  • Examinations of motor sensory functions
  • Imaging such as X-rays and MRIs (the gold standard for spine evaluations)
  • Blood work
  • Injection into a certain joint or nerve – if you get relief, it confirms the targeted spot is the source of the pain (procedure also used for treatment)

Nonsurgical Spine Treatment Options

While our specialists treat the majority of spine conditions without surgery, we can refer you to a surgeon when necessary. We work with you to develop a treatment plan that relieves your pain both immediately and long term.

Treatment options include:

Least invasive therapies

We consider the least invasive options first, with these therapies usually given in combination. They include but are not limited to:

  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Exercise
  • Cognitive therapies
  • Medication
  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic treatment

Spine injections

Spine injections can quiet or block nerves that cause pain, as well as reduce inflammation. Injections temporarily relieve pain so that you can correct your problem for the long term with physical therapy and exercise. We perform all spine injections with guidance from an X-ray technique called fluoroscopy, ensuring safe and correct placement.

Types of spine injections include:

  • Diagnostic nerve block
  • Epidural steroid injection
  • Facet join injection
  • Piriformis injection
  • Sacroiliac joint injections
  • Selective nerve root block
  • Trigger point injection

Pain pumps

A pain pump is an implantable device that delivers pain medication directly to your spinal cord. These devices help people with chronic back, nerve or joint pain that doesn’t respond to other treatments. By delivering medication directly to problematic areas, a pain pump also helps people who experience side effects from other treatments.

Spinal cord stimulator

A spinal cord stimulator can provide a long-term solution for chronic back pain or leg pain (sciatica) coming from a nerve in your spine. Our team implants the device into your back. It sends low levels of electricity directly to the spinal cord to stimulate nerves and reduce pain.

Rhizotomy (radio-frequency ablation)

If certain injections (facet joint or sacroiliac joint) provide relief, you may also be a candidate for rhizotomy. During this procedure, your doctor safely burns, or destroys, the troublesome nerve. This procedure provides longer-lasting relief than an injection.