How to Heal Chronic Back Pain Without Surgery

honor your body.

How Do I Heal My Spine Without Surgery?

One of the most common issues that my clients have when they walk in the door is chronic back pain. Fortunately, I have been able to help some of my clients avoid getting surgery. Now I’m not saying that I have been able to help all of my clients and that surgery is never necessary because by all means sometimes it most definitely is. It’s something that you want to talk to your doctor about and listen to your doctor’s advice on this. There isn’t a promise or guarantee for any situation that you can avoid surgery.

Relieving Chronic Back Pain & Avoiding Surgery

I know that there are certain chronic back issues such as arthritis, spinal stenosis, herniated or bulging discs, and myofascial pain syndromes that have had more success avoiding surgery. But in even those cases, sometimes surgery is necessary. So, by all means, I don’t want you to think that this post is saying that you can absolutely avoid surgery. What I am going to be talking about are different ways and modalities that you can help relieve your chronic back pain and possibly be able to avoid surgery.


One of the most common elements to help relieve chronic back pain is exercise. Now of course, you want to make sure that you get clearance from your doctor that exercise is good and you want to go and see a physical therapist first before you begin a general exercise programbecause you want to make sure that the exercise program you’re receiving is tailored to you and your specific needs.

Continue a Routine

Once you’ve seen a physical therapist who has tailored some exercises for you and once you’ve gotten clearance from your doctor, you can go and start your own sort of general exercise routine and make sure that you keep up with that whether it’s at the gym or at home. That is a huge part of success in avoiding surgery, is to continue and be disciplined about your exercise routine once you have finished with your physical therapy and have gotten clearance from the doctor that you can go off and do your own thing. That is the number one thing I see drop off is the lack of discipline to continue the exercise routine and it’s very important that you do so.

What Kind of Exercises Work Best to Heal Chronic Back Pain?

When I work with clients that have chronic back pain, we work a lot with posture, flexibility, core strength, and endurance. Those are the elements of an exercise program that you want to make sure that you’re integrating into your routine after you finish with physical therapy. They will offer some ideas for you and they’ll give you exercises for you to do, tailor to your needs. But when you go off on your own, you want to make sure that you have those elements in your home routine or your gym routine, whatever it may be.

Emotional Factors

One caveat in the overall process of healing your chronic back pain that can sneak up on you is distress and other emotional factors. As you may know, if you’ve been experiencing chronic back pain, it can wear you down. It can not only cause more stress in your life but it can start to wear on you mentally. You may start to feel depression kicking in, even anger, or frustration. A lot of different emotional factors come into play when chronic pain is in your life. It can be and feel like an uphill battle on an emotional level.

It’s important to also address your mental health when you are trying to heal and not ignore, pretend, or suppress the existence of those emotional factors. Find a modality that works for you because not one modality works for everybody. Meditation may work for one person but not for another. Yoga is another one, for example, or even just traditional therapy. Finding the modality that works best for you is ultimately going to help relieve your stress and take some of the emotional triggers out of the equation because they can create more resistance and a bigger hill to climb when trying to recover and find relief from your chronic back pain.

Healthy Eating

Eating well and incorporating a healthy diet is also key. If we’re eating foods that can cause inflammation, it can take recovery longer. When you’re feeding yourself foods that create more inflammation in your body, it’s harder for the body to heal and recover when it’s inflamed. You want to think about the anti-inflammatory diet and making sure that you are working towards the most healthy weight as possible for you. It’s important to try to keep the inflammation down and to be in a healthy weight as possible so you’re not carrying around more weight than you need, which can put more pressure and strain on your spine.

Acknowledge Your Chronic Back Pain

Honor where you are at and to listen to your body. Don’t ignore or push through the pain. When you’re feeling pain, your body is telling you something and it’s important to listen. I know it can be frustrating to sort of cut back on your lifestyle or sort of manipulate your lifestyle around chronic back pain but it’s important while you’re trying to heal and recover that you honor where you are at. And if it means that you need to modify some of the strenuous activities you’re doing, it’s important to do so. Make sure that you aren’t just pushing through the pain because it’s only going to make it worse. It’s only going to cause your body to inflame more, strain the muscles more or whatever your specific issue may be in your back and your spine. Honor your body and acknowledge your pain.

Alternative Medicine & Modalities

You can also think about alternative medicine or modalities that may work for you like acupuncture, massage, or other sorts of therapeutic wellness because our body…well, it’s a whole. From head to toe, it’s all connected. Even though you may feel your chronic pain acutely in your back, it affects how you move throughout your entire body. Trying different modalities that have a holistic approach helps you look at your entire body while you’re trying to recover and relieve some of the chronic back pain.

I do have clients that have had success with injections. I know, it seems scary, but I also understand that steroid injections are a good possibility for relief in some situations. It’s definitely something that you would want to talk to your doctor about and see what that possibility would look like for your particular situation. That is another conservative approach to try to avoid surgery. Additionally, there are anti-inflammatory drug options. Some of those could be ibuprofen or even CBD. CBD is now really becoming more and more popular for inflammatory issues. All of which you should also talk to your doctor about.

Don’t Lose Hope

Like I said, these are all just ideas. Some may work for you, some may not. I cannot say with absolute integrity that if you do one or two or all of these things, you won’t have to get surgery because that’s not necessarily true. But, don’t lose hope if you haven’t found the thing that works best for you. It’s definitely something that you will have to actively process and work through for your specific need. You do have the opportunity to try these different approaches to see if they work for you, so that you may be able to avoid surgery.

Talk to Your Doctor First & Throughout

Throughout this process, it’s so important that you continue to be in communication with your doctor, listen to your doctor’s advice, and ask your doctor lots of questions about these different ideas. Continue to have that conversation and relationship with your doctor while you are trying to relieve your chronic pain and hopefully avoid surgery. Let your doctor know that that is what ideally you would like to be able to do and see if your doctor agrees that trying these different ideas are good for you.

Finally, it’s important that you have that conversation with your doctor first before going off on your own and trying any of these things because I’m not a doctor and you’re not a doctor. I’m merely sharing some of the methods that my clients and I experienced, and worked for us. The fact is that sometimes, surgery is necessary. However, we want to explore options and educate ourselves as best as possible, because we are our own best advocates.

I hope these ideas can help give you a bit of a road map that you can talk to your doctor about. Take care and be well.

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