• Trigger point injections. These injections involve injecting a small amount of local anesthetic, sometimes along with a steroid medication, directly into painful trigger points, specific sites on the muscles that cause pain (both locally and throughout the back) when your doctor presses on one during an exam. These injections may be helpful if you experience back pain when pressure is applied to certain areas.

Two types of implantable devices are used to treat back pain – those that deliver electrical stimulation to the spinal cord and those that deliver medication to it.

• Spinal cord stimulation. Spinal cord stimulation is believed to decrease the perception of pain by activating nerves in your lower back to block pain signals going to that area. As a result, pain is replaced with a pleasant tingling sensation. Spinal cord stimulation is delivered through a set of electrodes that are inserted between the vertebrae into the epidural space. A pulse generator or radio receiver surgically placed under the skin in the abdomen or the upper buttocks area activates the electrodes. The procedure may be appropriate for people with nerve-root injuries that haven't responded to conventional treatment and those for whom surgery has not been successful.

• Implanted drug infusion. Also called intraspinal drug infusion therapy involves implanting a pump in the body to deliver a regular, predetermined dose of narcotic pain medicine via a tube into the painful area of the spine. By targeting medication to the precise site of pain, the device enables you to use much smaller amounts of medications than would otherwise be necessary to control pain. Precise targeting of small doses also reduces the risk of side effects you might experience with higher oral doses of pain-relieving medication.