Lower Back Pain Explained
The lower back’s main function is to support movement and protect certain body tissues. Every time you stand, your back is supporting your upper body. Every time you bend or twist at your waist, your back is involved.
Your back is able to move like this and provide your body with the support it needs thanks to the vertebrae that are stacked together. The vertebrae not only allow for movement but also perform the vital role of protecting the spinal cord. The vertebrae also absorb the weight of all tissues above the buttocks. Between each vertebra are discs that provide cushioning and minimize the impact of stress on the spinal column. These discs are soft in the center and surrounded by a hard outer ring. Ligaments are strong soft tissue that securely attaches the vertebrae to one another.
When pain is experienced in the lower back it is often a result of conditions that affect the discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine, muscles of the lower back, and the internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen. The discs that cushion the vertebrae can rupture and this causes irritation to the adjacent nervous tissue.
Lower pain can, initially, be treated at home but for pain that intensifies or for chronic pain it is best to seek professional medical advice.
Common Causes of Back Pain
A lumbar strain occurs when the ligament, tendons, or muscles of the lower back are stretched too far. This stretching causes microscopic tears in the tissue and can be caused by a trauma to the area or overuse. Considered one of the most common causes of back pain, lumbar strain can be an acute pain if experienced for a few days but in some cases, it can last longer than three months and is then considered to be chronic pain. Anyone is susceptible to a lumbar sprain but those over 40 are more likely to experience this condition. The strain can occur in varying degrees and the associated pain can be mild to severe.
Before a lumbar strain can be diagnosed a medical history is taken, the location of the pain is considered and an x-ray is often used to rule out any bone abnormalities.
Once the diagnosis is made the treatment can include rest, heat applications, massage, or appropriate minimally invasive treatments at our West Orange, NJ Pain Center.
Nerve irritation can cause lower back pain and occurs when the nerves of the spine become irritated. This can be as a result of pressure by bone or other tissues. Lumbar Radiculopathy occurs when the discs between the vertebrae become damaged, through wear and tear, When this happens the soft center of the disc can rupture and cause sciatica pain. This pain is characterized by a sharp pain that shoots down the leg from your lower back, it usually only affects one side of the body. This pain will intensify with movements from the waist and when you cough or sneeze.
A diagnosis is made by considering the symptoms and location of the pain. Nerve testing is often conducted to detect nerve irritation and imaging tests can be used to detect the herniated discs.
Treatments can include Epidural Injections, physical therapy, and rest.
Bony encroachment is a condition that results in the movement of the vertebrae that limit the space for the spinal cord and nerve. This condition is caused by a narrowing of the portal that the spinal nerve has to go through from the spinal column out of the spinal canal to the body. Other causes of bony encroachment include the slippage of one vertebra (spondylolisthesis) and the compression of nerve roots by soft tissue or bony spurs found in the spinal cord (spinal stenosis). The pain associated with these conditions can be extreme and often gets worse with movement.
Treatments for these conditions do vary but rest is often recommended as well as some of the treatments available at the pain clinics in West Orange NJ.
Our Team of Harvard Trained Doctors
When you are looking for a doctor to help you manage your back pain, it is always best to seek out a pain medicine doctor. These doctors specialize in diagnosing, treating, and managing painful disorders.
Our Team of Doctors at our West Orange, NJ Pain Center
Dr. George Hanna. Dr. Hanna is one of our pain management specialists who is available to help you find the right treatment for your back pain. Dr. Hanna is a Harvard trained and certified pain management specialist who has years of experience in the management of pain..
Dr. Michael Nguyen. Dr. Nguyen is a world-renowned Pain Medicine doctor who is dedicated to helping his patients to find solutions to their pain so that they can live their lives pain-free. Dr. Nguyen has been instrumental in the development of many of the treatments that are used in the treatment of back pain.
Dr. Shane Volney. Dr. Shane Volney is an accomplished doctor, who is double board-certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine. Dr. Volney is a Harvard trained doctor who takes the care of his patients very seriously. It is important to Dr. Volney that he finds the right solutions for his patients so that they are able to go about their daily lives, pain-free.
Our Harvard Trained Doctors will typically;
- Consider and evaluate your medical history including any tests you may have already had done.
- Perform a physical examination to establish where the pain is and order any additional laboratory tests, neurologic exams, or nerve studies.
- Make a diagnosis and prescribe a course of treatment.
- Perform the most appropriate minimally invasive treatment to relieve your back pain.