The treatments for brain, spine and nervous system conditions will vary depending on the specific type of condition you have. Before beginning treatment, your doctor will look at many factors in order to suggest the best approach:
- Your age and general health
- The type and location of your condition
- How serious your condition is
- Risks of treatment side effects or complications
- Your personal preferences
There are many possible treatment options your doctor may suggest.
For brain, spine and neurological conditions without a cure, the treatment focus lies on managing symptoms. In some cases, symptom management can help slow the progress of the disease. Options for managing symptoms include:
- Prioritize your health. Eating right and exercising can be helpful for managing and preventing many chronic conditions.
- Over-the-counter medication to reduce pain or inflammation. These can be helpful in the immediate or short-term, but are not a long-term solution.
- Avoiding triggers that may cause a flare-up of symptoms
- Alternative therapies like acupuncture, trigger point therapy or therapeutic massage. Stiff muscles and chronic pain may be alleviated with these therapies.
Chronic conditions that affect the brain and spine may benefit from medication. The type of medication recommended will vary depending on your condition, but may include:
- Pain relievers
- Muscle relaxants
- Anti-seizure medication
- Preventive medication to delay or stop the onset of symptoms
- Medication to prevent blood clots
- Drugs that help reduce memory loss or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease
- Chemotherapy, if cancer is present
Some conditions of the brain and spine require surgery to correct. Surgery may be performed for a number of reasons:
- To remove growths or tumors
- To correct a specific concern, such as eliminating abnormal spine curvature during scoliosis surgery
- To relieve spinal cord compression
- To ensure function and mobility
In most cases, spinal surgery is recommended only if conservative treatments have not delivered the intended results. Although back pain is quite common, surgery for back pain is viewed as a last resort due to the inherent high risks and possibility of failed back surgery.
Rehabilitation can be part of an effective treatment plan for back and spine conditions. This part of treatment and recovery can include physical exercises as well as neurological rehabilitation. The physical aspect of rehab strengthens muscles and improves function. Neurologically, the brain can be trained in new pathways. The goal of any rehabilitation program is to alleviate symptoms and improve quality of life.