Conservative management is an approach to treating back pain, neck pain and related spinal conditions utilizing non-surgical treatment options, such as physical therapy, medication and injections.
In the context of treating back pain, "conservative" treatment is not the inverse of aggressive treatment. Most episodes of back pain can be treated through conservative care and a combination of several conservative treatments is often recommended to alleviate pain and rehabilitate the lower back.
If a condition requires emergency care, conservative management may be passed up for surgical intervention. In general, surgery for lower back pain is considered only if conservative treatments fail and the pain persists for an extended period of time and limits the individual’s ability to function.