Back pain is one of the most common reasons adults schedule a visit with their doctor. Many types of conditions and injuries can cause back and spine problems. The most common conditions are soft tissue pain in the muscles, tendons and ligaments, and frequent causes are strains and sprains from lifting too much weight or falling. These are referred to as acute pain because they come on suddenly and may go away on their own.
Other conditions that last longer than two months are referred to as chronic pain. Any type of ongoing pain that spreads to other parts of the body or worsens and causes problems like numbing, tingling and weakness requires a doctor’s care. These types of conditions may include vertebral disks pushing on major nerves, stress and compression fractures, and more rare conditions such as infections, tumors and growths around the spine.
The best way to prevent back pain or reduce chronic pain is to stay active, keep your muscles strong and maintain a healthy weight. Include fitness in your day with stretching exercises, walking and light weight training.
An accurate diagnosis helps us give our patients the right treatment for their pain from the very beginning. You will initially see the director of the NCH Back and Spine Clinic and receive a full evaluation and exam. Some of the most useful information comes directly from our patients, who describe the location and duration of their pain. Sometimes, an X-ray is necessary to determine if there are any broken bones. More sophisticated imaging, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT), might be performed if there’s a need for more anatomical detail.
Based on the results of imaging studies and the diagnosis, our treatment options are personalized for you. At a minimum, medication and home-therapy remedies may be discussed. Other therapies range from hands-on, soft-tissue manipulation to surgical remedies. We treat the most common back pain issues with physical therapy, stretching and strengthening exercises. For chronic pain that is resistant to less invasive treatments, we also offer advanced treatment options such as steroid injections and surgical implants to block pain receptors.