What is Back Pain?
Back pain is a general term for a potentially serious ailment and one of the most common medical problems in the United States. The aggravation associated with back pain can range from a dull, constant ache to sudden, sharp pains. Although about 80% of the U.S. population will experience it at some point in their lives, back pain can become so debilitating for some patients that it hinders their ability to participate in everyday activities.
Back pain is typically divided into three distinct categories:
Lower back pain involves the lumbar region spine and its surrounding areas. When a patient suffers from lower back pain, the buttocks, upper thighs and groin areas may hurt as well. As the most frequently occurring type of back pain, lower back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability and absenteeism in America.
Middle back pain affects the area of the spine between the lumbar and cervical areas. This region is also commonly referred to as the “thoracic” spine. Middle back pain occurs less frequently than lumbar and cervical back pain because the middle back moves less frequently than the lower back and neck, but it still has the potential to cause debilitating pain.
Upper back pain involves the upper regions of the spine and the neck, known as the cervical region. When an individual suffers from cervical pain, they may daily combat discomfort and stiffness in the neck and shoulder area. Whiplash, arthritis, slouching or sleeping in an unhealthy position are some of the leading causes of upper back pain.
Prevention enerally involves exercising regularly, building muscle strength and flexibility, maintaining a healthy weight and proper posture and making educated choices when buying back-related products, like mattresses and office chairs. Speak with your doctor about how you can proactively avoid back pain. Treatment of this medical condition will almost always depend on the cause, location and severity of the patient’s unique condition.
Back Pain Causes
Back pain can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Sudden accident, injury or trauma, such as a fall or lifting a heavy object improperly
- Bone fractures
- Muscle or ligament strains
- Herniated discs
- Degenerative disc disease
- Poor physical fitness and lack of exercise
- Spinal stenosis
- Sudden, abnormal twisting
- Unsupportive footwear
- Stress and mental health
- Occupational hazards, such as making repeated movements or doing heavy manual labor
- Kidney infection
- Paget’s disease
- Many other diseases and complications
As you can see, there are a nearly endless array of possible causes. In order to obtain long-term relief from back-related discomfort, it is important to ascertain the underlying cause behind your condition. Many of the above medical complications can become extremely debilitating and even dangerous if not promptly addressed.
Back Pain Symptoms
The pain may appear for brief periods or become a chronic issue. Symptoms vary widely, but oftentimes include:
- Dull, constant pain, particularly after a fall or injury
- Sharp pain, usually after an accident or traumatic event
- Numbness, weakness and/or tingling in the affected area and associated limbs
- Severe pain that doesn’t improve with rest and/or limited activity
- Muscle aches or spasms
- A limited range of motion
- Weight loss
- Localized swelling, redness and tenderness
Call 911 or seek emergency medical attention if your back pain occurs after a high-impact motor vehicle accident, a hard fall or traumatic injury or if your discomfort is accompanied by fever and bowel or bladder control problems. These symptoms may signify a life-threatening condition.
Our Minimally Invasive Treatment Approach
If you are suffering from back pain, you do not have to live with your symptoms as an unchangeable aspect of your life. At Laser Spine & Orthopedics®, our highly-skilled spine specialists are committed to helping you find safe and effective solutions to your pain. Through patient-centric, personalized care, we strive to provide treatment that allows patients to return home without pain and other inhibiting symptoms. In addition, we are dedicated to ensuring that patients do not develop harmful secondary conditions as a result of their back-related issues.
During your initial consultation, one of our experts will carefully and compassionate analyze your physical state and medical history. Diagnostic tests such as X-rays, an MRI or CT scan, blood tests, bone scans or nerve studies may be necessary to determine the root cause of your pain. After obtaining a comprehensive and clear diagnosis, we can recommend an evidence-based treatment plan designed for your unique needs and situation.
Depending on the cause of your back pain, conservative treatments may first be recommended. These methods may include over-the-counter pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, injections and the use of heat or ice packs. Contrary to popular belief, bed rest is almost never helpful when combating back pain. As a member of the vertically-integrated Lumin Health system, we are able to provide timely referrals to a number of pain management and pain mapping physicians in the Dallas Fort-Worth area for additional care.
For some patients, conservative approaches to treatment may not be sufficient to reduce their pain and prevent future complications. In such cases, surgical intervention may be recommended. At Laser Spine & Orthopedics®, our acclaimed surgeons offer a number of traditional and minimally invasive procedures to address back pain. When compared with open operations, minimally invasive surgeries typically yield greater benefits, such as:
- Shortened recovery times that allow patients to return to daily activities, such as work and school, more quickly
- Less pain during and after your procedure
- A reduced risk of scarring and trauma to surrounding tissues
- Minimized blood loss
- Fewer potential post-surgery complications
The surgical approach used will be based upon the preferences of the patient, as well as certain determining factors like obesity, the presence of extensive adhesions (scar tissue) and previous surgeries. Through surgery, herniated discs, spinal stenosis, bone spurs, pinched nerves and other spine-related problems can usually be resolved.
For more information and available treatments please do not hesitate to contact us by calling us directly at 972-255-5588 or by filling out the form on this page.
We look forward to helping you regain your quality of life, so that you can return to doing the things you love.