Back Pain Treatment Options
Back pain is one of the most common reasons Americans visit their doctors, and it’s the world’s leading cause of disability. One in 10 people will experience lower back pain in their lifetime.
Sometimes, the cause of pain is clear. It starts with an accident, a strain from lifting something heavy, or a sports injury. But for many people, the cause of back pain and its associated symptoms isn’t so clear.
Fortunately, pain specialists have made many advances in providing back pain relief. One of those lower back pain treatment options could be right for you. If you are near Ann Arbor, MI, Ypsilanti, MI, or the greater southeast Michigan region, The Heilman Center for Pain and Spine Care may be able to help.
Common Back Pain Symptoms
At first glance, the symptoms of back pain seem obvious. Your back hurts: plain and simple. Yet pain in your back is often accompanied by other symptoms. With some back disorders, pain is minimal or even nonexistent.
- Sore back muscles
If you’ve strained your back by lifting something heavy, engaging in a repetitive activity or twisting it into an extreme position, the muscles of your back might feel tight and painful.
- Limited motion
Many people feel a lot of discomfort when they try to bend, twist, lift, or perform even non-strenuous activities.
- Shooting pains
Shooting pains in the back that sometimes radiate through the buttocks, legs, and even feet may be a sign of changes in the back. Upper back pain is less common, but it can cause similar stabbing pains in the shoulders and arms.
- Tingling and numbness
Some people, especially those with a pinched nerve, experience tingling sensations or numbness in their legs and feet. Pinched nerves in the neck and shoulders can cause tingling and numbness in the arms and hands.
If you’ve injured your back in a fall or had a heavy blow to your back, schedule an appointment with an experienced Pain Specialist to get a complete diagnosis of the impact it has had on your spine. The Heilman Center in Ypsilanti, MI has appointments open each week for new patients so they can quickly start finding solutions for their pain.
If you have problems controlling your bladder or bowels following a back injury or after experiencing back pain, go to the nearest emergency room. These symptoms indicate potentially serious problems, and need immediate attention.
Causes of Back Pain
Most injuries and muscle strains are minor and clear up within a few weeks. But if pain continues for more than a month, it may be a sign there’s another cause of your lower back pain. Other, more serious conditions can cause back pain. These disorders need to be evaluated and treated by an experienced pain specialist:
- Slipped or herniated disc
The discs in your spine have a tough, rubbery outer membrane and a jelly-like interior. If something ruptures the membrane, the jelly-like interior can leak or become displaced. The displaced discs can put pressure on spinal nerves.
- Degenerative disc disease
Your spine experiences a lot of wear and tear. It’s natural for the discs to become more brittle as you age. Most people don’t experience symptoms with these changes, but some people have a lot of back pain.
- Back Arthritis and Spinal Stenosis
The joints between the vertebrae in your spine may become inflamed, particularly as you age. Left untreated, osteoarthritis can progress into spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column. Pinched nerves can happen as spaces in the spine narrow and trap nerves.
Many people lose a great deal of bone density as they age, especially women. When bones become more brittle, the vertebrae may develop tiny fractures. Over time, vertebrae may start to collapse which puts pressure on the discs and nerves in and around the spine.
Our Back Pain Treatment Options
Most episodes of pain don’t require surgery, and symptoms often disappear within a few days or weeks. If your symptoms persist for more than a month, it’s important to check with your doctor to find out what, exactly, is causing your pain. You don’t have to live in pain. You have multiple options for lower back pain relief.
To get started, you will have a consultation with one of our pain specialists, a physician assistant who will listen closely to learn as much as possible about your pain and get your medical history. Our pain specialist will order the tests the doctor needs, in addition to your history, to reach a complete diagnosis.
Our pain specialist will answer all of your questions during your consultation about the types of procedures our doctors may recommend to get your pain under control.
After a diagnosis has been reached, your pan specialist will review the diagnosis with you and help you understand the treatment options available for your unique pain. The pain doctors at The Heilman Center have expertise with dozens of interventional pain management treatments. You will get a plan tailored to your unique pain and goals to get long-term relief for your pain.
Your treatment plan may include:
When supervised by a certified pain specialist, a limited-time medication regimen can bring temporary relief from back pain symptoms while you recover.
Exercises to strengthen your back and core muscles will help you get stronger and improve your range of motion.
Before exploring surgery, our Michigan Pain Specialists will often see whether treatments like nerve blocks, radiofrequency therapy, electrical stimulation, or other modern pain procedures will bring back pain relief.
The latest advances in surgical back pain treatment allow many patients to have minimally invasive outpatient procedures without general anesthesia or lengthy hospital stays. Our micro surgeries can deliver positive results with short recovery times that range from days to a few weeks. One example is Vertiflex Superion®, a treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis that starts providing pain relief in as little as one week.
Talk to Our Pain Specialist
Back pain is common and treatable. When you get a complete diagnosis of your pain with a pain doctor who pinpoints the cause of your pain, there are multiple treatment options for most people that provide long-term pain relief. Start experiencing relief now.