Understanding the causes of lower back pain is the first step in finding a solution to relieve the pain. First, know that you’re not alone. Statistics show that up to 80 percent of Americans will have back or spine pain at some time in their lives. Much of the back pain we see at NeurosurgeryOne is in the lower back, in the area called the lumbar spine. The good news is that while there are many causes of lower back pain, it usually gets better on its own or with a few home remedies. Most patients will never have to visit a Denver spine surgeon.
If you have stabbing, shooting spine pain that runs down one side of your lower body, and a feeling of burning or tingling, you may have sciatica. Sciatica is a type of spine pain that typically gets worse when you remain in one position for a long time, and even when you cough or sneeze. It also can make your leg(s) feel numb or weak. In my experience as a neurosurgeon, about half of people will experience mild sciatica at some point in their life — usually after age 30. Most will get sciatica relief within six weeks with self-care treatments such as over-the-counter pain medicines, light exercise, and ice and heat.
When treatments like medications and physical therapy don’t do enough to relieve your spine pain, an epidural steroid injection may help. Injections for back pain deliver powerful medicine at or near the source of your pain and often helps relieve spine pain for months.
Here are answers to some of the most frequent questions patients ask about injections for spine pain.
South Denver Neurosurgery has developed an outstanding reputation among consumers and referring physicians for our high standard of neurosurgery care over the past 15 years. Since its inception, South Denver Neurosurgery has become one of the most experienced and comprehensive neurosurgery practices in Colorado. Our neurosurgeons specialize in spine surgery, brain tumors, aneurysms, trauma, trigeminal neuralgia, epilepsy, and DBS for Parkinson’s disease and essential tremor. We also believe strongly in being an advocate for our patients in an increasingly complex health care environment and offering them the full complement of cranial and spinal procedures, so they can obtain the treatment that best suits their condition, health, and personal goals.
For pain caused by nerve damage, see a neurosurgeon
If you’re bothered by chronic pain in your arms or legs, you’ve probably thought a lot about how to get rid of that pain. You might have wondered what caused it. But you may not have considered that the cause of your pain may offer clues about the best way to relieve your pain.
For example, if your pain is caused by a tight or pulled muscle, or osteoarthritis, your primary care physician or an orthopedic specialist, such as an orthopedic spine surgeon, may well be able to treat and resolve your pain.
Whiplash: Real, painful, and treatable
Television comedies and insurance scams may have given it a bad name, but whiplash is absolutely real. Whiplash occurs when sudden force pushes the neck and head backward and then forward, putting the cervical spine through lightning-quick motion and extreme stress. Whiplash is most often caused by traffic crashes, but football injuries and falls while skiing can also cause the condition.
Addressing concerns about pain medications after spine surgery
Startling statistics regarding opioid addiction have caused some patients planning back surgery to fear taking prescription pain medications after surgery. At the same time, evolving policies and efforts to curb opioid dependence have caused other patients to fear that they might not get the pain relief they need after back surgery.
Is Your Cellphone a Pain in the Neck?
Cellphones have changed our lives in a multitude of ways – many of them good, some not so good. Many neurosurgeons are adding a new item to that not-so-good category: text neck. Doctors report an increasing number of patients complaining of upper back and neck pain, and many are diagnosing it as “text neck”, the result of too many hours spent bent over a screen and texting.
What can I expect during recovery from back surgery?
Just as every patient is unique and every surgery is different, no two patients experience recovery from back surgery in exactly the same way.
One thing almost all patients have in common: questions about their recovery from spine surgery.
Here neurosurgeon Paul Boone, MD, of NeursurgeryONE, formerly South Denver Neurosurgery, answers some of the more common questions patients ask about recovering from back surgery.
Summer means warm, sunny days and, with any luck, a vacation getaway. But for people with back pain, the prospect of hours sitting in a car or on an airplane – not to mention hauling heavy luggage around – can be daunting.
Tips for traveling with back pain
Before you board the plane or get behind the wheel, consider these potentially back-saving strategies.