How to treat back pain
Many people whose lives have been put on hold by a degenerative spine condition wonder how to treat back pain. Obtaining a clearer understanding of what causes your neck or back pain may help you make a treatment plan that is effective for you.
Although back pain can be caused by a variety of factors, such as trauma, overexertion or heredity, the most common cause is aging. Learning about how the natural aging process causes back pain is an important part of your education as a patient.
More about back pain causes
The spine is constructed of a stack of bones, called vertebrae, which are cushioned by rubbery discs and linked by facet joints. As we age, the discs and joints can begin to break down. This deterioration causes conditions such as spinal arthritis and bulging and herniated discs, among others. Many spine conditions aren’t painful by themselves but can cause spinal narrowing and nerve compression. This compression causes severe neck pain and back pain, as well as numbness, traveling pain, weakness and tingling.
During your consultation, a physician must obtain information concerning your symptoms, including their location and frequency. The physician will perform an examination and likely order imaging tests like an X-ray or MRI. Once a clear diagnosis has been made, there are a variety of treatments for back pain. Most doctors first recommend a course of conservative treatment which may include options like the following:
- Hot and cold compresses
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Over-the-counter or prescription pain medication
- Epidural steroid injections
Many patients find relief through the use of conservative treatments. Even when untreated, some cases of back pain improve with time. However, if symptoms continue despite weeks to months of conservative treatment, surgery may be required.
For many years, the only surgical option available to patients was a traditional open spine procedure involving numerous risks and a lengthy recovery period. Advances in medical technology have made a minimally invasive surgical approach possible that avoids many of the negative aspects of traditional open spinal surgery.
Minimally invasive procedures performed on an outpatient basis are available at Laser Spine Institute. Our highly skilled surgeons are able to use a smaller incision to access the spine and decompress nerves, sparing important supporting muscles and leading to a shorter recovery time^ than traditional open spine procedures.