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Q. My spine is really hurting. I thought I would just go ahead and have surgery, but my doctor is recommending conservative spine treatment instead. What is conservative treatment, and will it help my problem as much as surgery?
A. Back specialists use the term "conservative treatment" to describe any treatment that does not involve surgery. Sometimes, this can be as simple as reassuring you that it is not a serious problem, and recommending that you do nothing but watch and wait. Conservative treatment can also include medications to relieve your pain, physical therapy, and exercise. People with back and neck pain should also learn how to protect their spine by practicing good posture and doing strengthening exercises.