Back pain is one of the most frequently cited reasons for missing work, and it’s also a top cause of disability around the world. Every year, millions of people see their doctors for back pain. In fact, pain in the back or neck is by far one of the most common reasons for people to visit the doctor, which is why Dr. Hyun Bae and the team of expert surgeons at The Spine Institute are committed to using the most innovative, state-of-the-art techniques to help patients find permanent relief from back pain and return to living happy, active lives.
You can often find relief for back pain by using over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications such as acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as ibuprofen. Alternately applying heat and cold to the area may also reduce pain.Rest can help, but it’s also important to move to ease stiffnessand prevent your muscles from getting weak.
If your back pain doesn’t improve in a few weeks with treatment at home or if it’s so severe as to be debilitating, you should see aback specialist. Los Angeles patients should consult a back and neck doctor if any of the following conditions apply:
• Your back pain is severe and rest doesn’t provide relief
• Your pain radiates down one or both legs, especially if it spreads to the area below the knee
• You have tingling, numbness, or weakness in one leg or both legs
Some causes of back pain are easy to identify, such as pain that results from lifting a heavy object incorrectly or experiencing a fall. At other times, though, it’s more difficult to pinpoint the cause. Our physicians will work with you to make sure you receive the proper diagnosis. This process may involve several tests, includingX-rays and other imaging tests, to find out exactly what’s causing your pain. Some common conditions associated with back pain include:
• Strained ligaments or muscles – Repetitive lifting or sudden movements can strain ligaments and muscles in the spine.
• Discs that are bulging or ruptured – If the soft material inside a spinal disc breaks through the disc’s outer shell, it can compress or irritate a nerve.
• Arthritis – Osteoarthritis can be present in the lower back. Arthritis in the back can also result in spinal stenosis, which happens when the space around the spinal cord becomes narrower.
• Osteoporosis – Vertebrae can develop compression fractures if the bones become brittle and porous.
If your back pain isn’trelieved by rest and self-care,our physicians may recommend one or more of the following non-surgical treatments:
• Medication – If your pain hasn’t responded to OTC medications, you may require a prescription NSAID, a narcotic medication (for short periods), or muscle relaxants.
• Acupuncture – This procedure consists of inserting fine needles at specific points to stimulate muscle and nerve tissue and help the body release pain-relievingendorphins.
• Physical therapy – This may involve the application of heat and ice, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and/ormassage of the muscles and soft tissues surrounding he spine. As your pain begins to subside, exercises to strengthen and increase flexibility in the muscles of the back and abdomen may be introduced.
If one or a combination of non-surgical methods doesn’t relieve your back pain, our spine specialists may recommend surgery. Our team of industry-leading surgeons uses the most advanced techniques to provide effective pain relief and promote optimal mobility, and we specialize in minimally invasive surgical procedures for a variety of spinal conditions.
The procedures we perform most often at The Spine Institute include:
• Spinal decompression – This surgical procedure is performed to alleviate chronic back pain, muscle weakness, and/or numbness, and it successfully relieves symptoms in 80 percent of patients.
• Fusion procedures – Cervical spinal fusion joins selected bones in the neck, and lumbar spinal fusion is designed to treat low back pain.
• Fusion alternatives – These techniques are less invasive, generally result in less pain, less muscle damage, and a shorter hospital stay, and allow you to enjoy increased mobility following surgery.
You don’t have to continue to suffer with severe or chronic back pain. Our team of pioneering spinal experts is here to diagnose and treat your pain so you can get back to living your fullest life and enjoying the activities you love. Find out how we can help you get on track to a pain-free life by calling The Spine Institute Center for Spinal Restoration at 310-828-7757.