Low back pain is the most common cause of disability and a top reason why patients take time away from work. Since back pain is often caused by pinched nerves, and any problem with your back poses a threat to the spinal column, it takes an experienced neurologist like Nnamdi Dike, DO, at Affinity Neurocare to provide the comprehensive care you need to alleviate the pain and get back to your daily life. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Frisco, Texas, or use the convenient online booking feature.
Back pain is caused by many possible problems affecting the soft tissues, vertebrae, discs, and nerves in your spine. In people up through middle age, back pain is frequently caused by injuries, like sprains and strains.
As you get older, however, back pain is more likely to be caused by degenerative changes that take place over years of daily stress and repetitive movement. Some of the most common degenerative conditions include:
The discs between each vertebra consist of a gel-like center enclosed in a tough outer covering. A disc herniation occurs when the inner material bulges out through a weak or torn area in the covering. This bulging area presses against the nerves, causing pain.
The facet joints that connect the vertebrae and allow spinal movement are susceptible to cartilage deterioration, osteoarthritis, and the subsequent development of bone spurs that press against nerves.
The discs between the vertebrae contain a large amount of water. Over the years, they dehydrate, weaken, and collapse, which reduces spinal mobility and leads to pinched nerves.
Spinal stenosis refers to a narrowing of the spinal canal, which may develop due to thickened ligaments or any of the degenerative conditions listed above.
Back pain alone can be debilitating, but you may also develop additional symptoms caused by damaged nerves. Tingling, electric-like pain, and numbness can occur along the full length of the affected nerve or in random locations along the nerve.
The best example of nerve pain is sciatica, which occurs when the sciatic nerve is pinched. Patients with sciatica experience severe pain and other nerve symptoms that radiate from their lower back, through the buttock, and down the leg.
Treatment for back pain begins with conservative options such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) and physical therapy. The structured exercises and other treatments you receive during physical therapy can strength muscles, improve movement, relieve pain, and help you get back to your normal activities.
When your pain persists despite conservative therapies, Dr. Dike may recommend an interventional treatment. For example, he may inject a mixture of steroid and anesthetic medications near the spinal nerves causing your pain. The anesthetic immediately alleviates pain, while the steroids deliver longer-lasting relief by reducing inflammation.
In most cases, surgery is only considered when your symptoms don’t respond to other treatments. Examples of surgical options include spinal decompression and spinal fusion.
To get help for your back pain, call Affinity Neurocare or book an appointment online.