Common Causes Of Chronic Back Pain
Chronic back painis usually age-related, but can also result from a prior injury. The mostcommon causes include:
- Arthritis of the spinethe gradual thinning of the cartilage inside the spine
- Spinal stenosisnarrowing of the spinal canal that may lead to nerve pain
- Disc problems, such as a herniated or bulging disc
- Myofascial pain syndromeunexplained muscle pain and tenderness
In some cases, its difficult to pinpoint the cause of chronic back pain.If your doctor has exhausted all diagnostic options, its time to seek asecond opinion from a back pain specialist, recommends Nava. Itsimportant not to make rushed decisions or undergo extensive medicalprocedures until the origin of the pain is found. Not only may they nothelp they could make the pain worse, warns Nava.
If the source of the pain is not known or cant be treated, your bestoption may be to work with your doctor on reducing the flare-ups and makingthe pain manageable with nonsurgical treatments.
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What Is Back Pain
Back pain is muscle aches, shooting, burning or stabbing in the lower, middle or upper back. It can also involve sciatic pain, or shooting nerve pain. The back contains joints, ligaments, muscles and 33 bones called vertebrae. The vertebrae stack together to form the spinal canal and protect the spinal cord. Nerves that run between the neck and the lower back make up the spinal cord, which carries messages to and from the brain. The muscles in the back surround the spine and promote good posture.
Back pain can be either acute or chronic, depending on the injury and its intensity. Acute back pain is short-term and usually lasts a few days or weeks. Chronic back pain continues for 12 weeks or longer. One in 5 of those who experience acute low back pain will develop chronic low back pain with persistent symptoms.
Signs You Should See An Orthopedic Spine Specialist
At Comprehensive Spine Institute, we know that chances are youve experienced back pain at least once in your life.
According to the Global Burden of Disease, lower back pain is the worlds leading cause of disability. In a single year, half of working Americans will fall victim to the Back Pain Monster.
While it may seem like an everyday occurrence, there are times when this discomfort shouldnt be ignored.
But when does enough become enough? When is it time to visit an orthopedic spine specialist?
Read on to find out.
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How To Find An Orthopedist For Lower Back Pain
Your primary care physician may recommend a leading orthopedist in your area. You can also ask your friends who they recommend, and search the website of the American Orthopedic Association or the AAOS. Once you have found an orthopedist, you’ll want to reach out to them to get more information on their specialty, experience, and background. If they are an orthopedic surgeon, it’s important to inquire about their training and experience all of which can be done through a consultation.
Why Go To An Orthopedic Doctor
There are a variety of medical doctors who treat specific sets of conditions. Because it is impossible for one physician to treat all types of conditions and injuries that affect the human body, doctors specialize in subfields of medicine. Through this specialization, a physician becomes an expert in a distinct subfield of medicine and can diagnose, treat, and prevent issues within that subfield. One such field is orthopedics.
An orthopedic physician is an expert on the musculoskeletal system . Because back pain is most often caused by injury or damage to one of these components in the back, orthopedic physicians are often referred to for diagnosis and treatment.
Using advanced education and training, orthopedic physicians can pinpoint the exact cause of the back pain. Back pain can be caused by a variety of reasons, including a fracture, herniated disc, muscle strain, or damage to connective tissue. Orthopedic doctors can correctly diagnose the exact cause of the back pain and recommend effective treatment for it.
Orthopedic physicians have access to state-of-the-art and advanced medical technology and treatments that are proven to be effective for musculoskeletal issues. Because of this, when a patient has back pain, orthopedic physicians can offer treatments that will give fast and effective results. Using various methods for pain reduction, which include injections, medication, and physical therapy, orthopedic physicians can offer long-term relief from back pain.
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What Is A Pain Treatment Clinic
A pain treatment clinic, such as Pain Treatment Specialists, is exactly what it sounds like. A group of diverse medical professionals who are dedicated to relieving your chronic pain, no matter the cause. This way, you do not have to search for different doctors that specialize in back pain, they are all in one facility for your convenience. At Pain Treatment Specialists, we focus on pain relief that does not involve large surgeries or addictive painkillers, but options that target the source of your pain in the least invasive way possible.For example, instead of spinal surgery, we like to try methods such as Sacroiliac Joint Injections, to treat back inflammation and numb the corresponding pain. We have a number of different doctors that specialize in back pain, as well as other types of pain. We work directly with you throughout the whole journey, to come up with a diagnosis and treatment plan that you are comfortable with.
Our team of pain treatment specialists are highly trained in many different causes and treatments of back pain. All of our back pain doctors were trained at Ivy-League schools, and work out of state of the art facilities. At Pain Treatment Specialists, we are constantly researching new and improved methods of treatment, to ensure that our patients receive the finest care. We operate as part of the VIP Medical Group, who are some of the top pain treatment institutes in New York and New Jersey.
Best Doctors For Back Pain
Since you shouldn’t try to diagnose your own back pain, make your first call to a professional who can assess your problem, such as a primary care physician or a chiropractor.
Both can serve as an entry point for back pain.
Generally speaking, your primary care provider will only offer pain medications or injections designed to reduce pain, but not necessarily correct the issue.
Chiropractors on the other hand, have much more training when it comes to addressing back pain.
A chiropractors training contains over 150 more hours of education in biomechanics, while medical students learn more about pharmaceuticals.
Chiropractors use posture exercises and hands-on spinal manipulation to relieve back pain, improve function, and help the body heal itself.
According to Harvard Health, the most positive research on chiropractic therapy has focused on spinal manipulation for low back pain.
Here’s a few quotes including the scientific journal reference discussing chiropractic care for back pain:
âFor patients with chronic low back pain, clinicians and patients should initially selectnon-pharmacologic treatment with exercise, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, acupuncture, mindfulness-based stress reduction , tai chi, yoga, motor control exercise, progressive relaxation, electromyography biofeedback, low-level laser therapy, operant therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or spinal manipulation .â
American College of Physicians
Goertz et al. , Spine
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If Surgery Isnt Recommended A Pain Specialist Is Your Next Stop
If, despite the treatments youve tried, pain persists, consider making an appointment with a pain management physician, which is a doctor with specialized training in the assessment, diagnosis and treatment of pain. Some may further specialize in particular types of pain, such as back pain.
The pain management doctors in the of HSS are board-certified in pain management and have completed additional graduate training. Their first step is to do a thorough evaluation, discuss how your pain is impacting your everyday activities and life goals, then develop a customized approach to treatment. This might include physical therapy and at-home exercises.
The HSS team recommends prescription medications only when medically necessary and even then, they aim to prescribe as small a dose as possible for as short a period as possible to help prevent dependency problems. Its important to describe your symptoms, goals and concerns and find a pain management team that treats you with compassion and respect.
Types Of Doctors That Might Treat Your Back Pain
Back pain seems to be a problem that plagues so many, so it can be easy to operate under the assumption that treatment is relatively interchangeable. There are actually many different types of doctors that specialize in more specific areas of treatment when it comes to back injury or chronic pain.
It is important that you seek help from the correct type of doctor if you want your pain addressed in the most expedient and thorough fashion. Here is a more in-depth look at the most common types of spine doctors and how they might be able to help you with your pain.
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Types Of Doctors That Specialize In Back Pain
HARVARD TRAINED PAIN DOCTORS | VOTED #1 PAIN CENTER | PAIN TREATMENT SPECIALISTS
If you have back pain, there are a number of different specialists that can help. Back pain can be caused by a number of different reasons, and as a result, there are a number of different doctors that specialize in treating back pain in different ways. It can be difficult to know which type of doctor to see, so we have compiled a list of some of the most common back pain specialists, in order for you to make a more informed choice about your future treatment.
If you are experiencing severe pain and feel ready to find the best back pain doctor and book an appointment today, you can jump straight ahead to the bottom of this article and submit a contact form, or give us call at 767-3227. One of our team members will help you identify the best back pain doctor near you.
How Do I Make An Appointment
We have multiple locations throughout New York and New Jersey, enabling you to find one that is convenient. To book an appointment with one of our clinics, simply fill in the online form, or give us a call at 767-3227 . We look forward to hearing from you, and helping you to live a life without back pain!
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Informed Choice Can Help You Choose A Trustworthy Provider
There are as many choices as there are colors in the rainbow. There are a number of distinct physicians within the medical world that you have a choice from. Internists, family physicians, orthopaedists, neurosurgeons, spine surgeons, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists, neurologists, anesthesiologists, and even some psychiatrists that treat lower back disorders. There are places that have multiple specialists who treat these disorders as a group.
There are a number of distinct physicians within the medical world that you have a choice from. Photo Source: 123RF.com.
There are many types of nonmedical practitioners to choose from, and they vary greatly even within their own specialty. You can go to a chiropractor, physical therapist, massage therapist, athletic trainer, acupuncturist, Feldenkrais or Pilates practitioner, personal trainer, or even an aroma therapist.
Question #: When To Consult A Back Pain Doctor In Nj
The next question back pain sufferers usually have is when to consult a back pain doctor. Chronic back pain isnt something you can self-diagnose, due to the intricate components of the lumbar, thoracic, and cervical spine. Many diseases and conditions also cause back pain, or even referred pain from other parts of the body. So, if your pain has lasted more than a couple of days and doesnt respond to rest or home remedies, its time to call a back pain specialist in NJ.
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Question #: For Back Pain Which Doctor To Consult
Back pain is often complicated. The spine is your central support system, bolstering the head and neck and facilitating movement throughout your body. Since your back is comprised of not only the vertebrae but also surrounding muscles, ligaments, tendons, discs, nerves, tissues, and organs, its not always easy to identify the cause of back pain. Thats why the #1 question to ask is which doctor you should consult for back pain. They are not all created equally or equipped to treat all forms of back pain. The best choice is an interventional pain specialist whos board certified in pain medicine.
The Mri Will Likely Be Looked At By A Surgeon
Often, a like Dr. Dowdell will review a patients MRI results and come up with the next step in their treatment, which may or may not be surgery.
My job as a spine surgeon is not only to do surgery but to diagnose people properly and get them to the right doctor if surgery isnt going to be helpful, he says. Some patients are frustrated when I say surgery wont help them, but it would be worse if I did surgery, and it didnt help or made things worse.
Dr. Dowdell says that surgeons sometimes recommend non-surgical treatments, too, such as injections, which not only can provide relief but help them determine where the pain is coming from.
Even if surgery is the recommended next step, know that you may be able to have a minimally invasive procedurethat is, one that results in less pain and complications and a quicker and easier recovery.
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Working With A Pain Specialist
Bring a copy of all your medical records, including any X-rays, to your first appointment. Also have a list of all the medicines you take, including any herbs and supplements. It can help to keep a pain diary, where you write down how you feel each day.
The doctor will examine you and talk to you about your pain. They’ll want to know:
- Where it hurts
- How it feels
- When your pain first started
- How bad it is
- What you think may have caused it
- Any medicines you take for it or other treatments youâve tried
- What makes it worse or better
Causes Of Sciatica Pain
The majority of sciatica pain is caused by the nerve becoming pinched due to compression of the lower back. This can occur by either a herniated disc, bone spur or even a tumor compressing on the nerve. Only a medical doctor or specialist can make a qualified diagnosis. If you suspect you have a damaged sciatic nerve, which type of specialist should you seek out to treat your sciatica pain?
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What Happens When I Visit A Back Doctor
We gather a full medical history of your back problems and perform detailed physical examinations, said Dr. Guo. That includes checking for tenderness, spine range of motion, strength, sensation, and reflexes. Depending on your symptoms, we may perform provocative tests to find out what triggers your pain. We may order imaging studies, such as X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans. We may order electromyography and a nerve conduction study, which assess whether you have muscle and/or nerve problems that may cause your symptoms. We use all the information to help identify the cause of your back pain and associated symptoms, and provide the most appropriate treatments for you.
Types Of Specialists Who Treat Sciatica Pain
There are several specialties of medicine that have the ability to treat and prevent future sciatic nerve pain. The type of specialist best fit for your case will depend on the severity of your sciatica and the cause. Let’s look at six different types of doctors who specialize in treating sciatica and which one may be right for you.
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Guideline Updates Issued For Treating Low Back Pain
This year, 2017, the ACP issued guideline updates for Noninvasive Treatments for Acute, Subacute and Chronic Low Back Pain. The most recent previous version came out in 2007. Keep in mind that there are other specialties devoted to diagnosis and treatment of back problems, but often people who have an onset of low back pain will first seek help from their internist, who will evaluate the cause of the pain. If the internist can treat it, they will. If not, they will refer the patient to another type of specialist .
For internists who are the first point of contact, and often initiate treatment, here is a summary of what the ACP recommends to its members for treating low back pain that is unrelated to the spinal nerve root:
- The first line of treatment should involve non-drug therapy: exercise, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, and lifestyle methods to ease stress and tension such as yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, meditation and stress management.
- Additional noninvasive approaches include motor-control exercises for core strengthening, biofeedback assisted muscle relaxation, progressive muscle relaxation, low-level laser therapy, spinal manipulation, and cognitive- behavioral or operant therapy.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, followed by drugs such as tramadol or duloxetine .
- Opioids should be used only as a last-resort therapy, and patients should be warned about the potential risks vs. benefits.
What Causes Lower Back Pain And When Should I Get Help
Orthopedic back and spine treatment usually starts with conservative approaches that include pain management, physical and occupational therapies, and rehabilitation. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reminds us that chronic back pain can get worse if left untreated, so it’s important to visit a doctor early on who can start you with the right treatment.
Some of the most common causes of lower back pain include:
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