The Southeastern Spine Institute

What Does “Non-Invasive” Really Mean?

In the old days, the only way doctors could examine a diseased organ or malfunctioning joint was to cut through the skin and open up the body. Having done this, they could then determine the nature of the problem and decide on a course of action, which may or may not happen during the same surgical procedure.

Exploratory surgery is the term for this type of medical procedure, and the risks inherent in such methods were and are formidable. While surgeons do still occasionally use this technique today, they attempt to avoid it when a non-invasive treatment is available. Non-invasive specifically refers to the absence of any puncturing or cutting of your body to either cure or determine illness. And it’s always the last choice of treatment for your doctors at the Southeastern Spine Institute.

Non-Invasive Tests

While some non-invasive procedures are ultra-modern and require expensive and advanced equipment, other such procedures are both old and familiar. One example of a non-invasive technique is eye exam, since the doctor learns a lot about your eyesight without having to violate or harm your body in any way.

Another example of a well-known non-invasive examination is the X-ray. Dating back to 1896, this form of diagnostic imaging was considered far less invasive than anything else at the time. Unfortunately, it did subject the patient to 1500 times the amount of radiation that modern machines produce.

Other forms of non-invasive diagnostic imaging include the CT (CAT) scan, MRI, ECG, and ultrasounds. Proper use of these techniques and procedures by your doctor often can provide the necessary data for a successful minimally invasive surgery. In this way, the doctors do the absolute minimal damage to your body while doing what’s necessary — and nothing more.

Non-Invasive Treatments

Radiotherapy is an example of a non-invasive treatment for cancer where the doctor directs radiation at the cancerous portion of the body in an attempt to destroy the tumor without having to cut into the body and remove it surgically.

For your back, non-invasive treatments are always the first ones used by your doctor. He may prescribe treatment with a variety of chiropractic manipulation techniques, such as spinal or manual manipulation. These “chiropractic adjustment” methods focus on lumbar support and range of motion.
High-velocity low-amplitude (HVLA) spinal manipulation is another non-invasive treatment used to treat back pain. There’s also a similar lower-velocity treatment, depending on your preference.

Physical therapy is yet another non-invasive technique that your doctor may prescribe for you to help heal your back and alleviate pain. You’re assigned a therapist who works with you to increase your strength and expand your flexibility since stronger and more flexible backs are less likely to cause you pain.

Heat and cold packs will always be part of your non-invasive plan if you’re suffering from back pain. Ultrasound uses vibration to heat and encourage circulation in and around your muscles, tendons, and bones.

Then there’s everyone’s favorite form of non-invasive treatment for back pain, the massage. A skilled massage therapist can work wonders on your back, and therapists trained in medical massage are trained to deliver the proper technique to relieve your pain. Ask your doctor if massage therapy is safe for your back condition.