Don’t belabor Labor Day and enjoy the day off August 29th, 2017 Back Pain, Treatment Amy Crowell DISC Labor Day photo by personal creations.com / CC 2.0o Table of Contents Lower back painUpper and middle back painNeck painPain that is radiating down your legs Labor Day was officially recognized by the federal government in 1894 as a way to recognize the efforts of American workers. Today, we celebrate the national holiday by hanging out with family and friends, barbecuing, having picnics, or getting out of town for the three-day weekend. If, instead of thinking about how great those activities sound, you’re cringing because you fear your back pain may get in the way of your fun, it’s definitely time to head to a Texas spine center. Chronic back pain can be debilitating physically, but also keep you from enjoying your life, and that may be especially evident on holidays that tend to center around family togetherness and activities. If you’ve been putting off seeing the doctor for your back pain, getting in now can help you start down the path to a pain-free life and get back to having fun. With advancements in minimally invasive procedures and techniques, relieving your back pain at an experienced Texas spine center, like DISC Spine Institute, can be easier and faster than you ever imagined. Lower back pain Is it lower back pain that has you cringing? You’re not alone. “About 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work days,” said the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH). Pain in the lumbar spine could mean degenerative disc disease, a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis, just to name a few conditions. Proper treatment will depend on the individual diagnosis and can include everything from massage to over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, all the way to surgery. The good news is that, for most people, lower back pain “is acute, or short term, and lasts a few days to a few weeks,” said the NIH. Upper and middle back pain Less common—but not necessarily any less painful—is upper and middle back pain. This type of pain could indicate a vertebral, disc, or ligament issue. “Upper and middle back pain is not as common as low back pain or neck pain, because the bones in this area of the back don’t flex or move as much as the bones in your lower back or neck,” said WebMD. Everything from a muscle strain to a vertebral fracture to osteoarthritis to “pressure on the spinal nerves from certain problems, such as a herniated disc,” could be the cause of the pain, they said. Depending on the diagnosis, a Texas spine center may prescribe minimally invasive treatment including over-the-counter pain medicines, heat or ice, and massage, Thankfully, “Surgery is seldom used to treat upper and middle back pain,” they said. Neck pain For many people, waking up with a sore neck is a daily reality. While some may be able to manage the pain by getting a new mattress or a more supportive pillow, or by experimenting with different sleeping positions, for many others, medical intervention is necessary to get to the root of the pain. “Neck pain may result from abnormalities in the soft tissues—the muscles, ligaments, and nerves—as well as in bones and disks of the spine,” said the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS). “The most common causes of neck pain are soft-tissue abnormalities due to injury (a sprain) or prolonged wear and tear. In some people, neck problems may be the source of pain in the upper back, shoulders, or arms. Surgery is generally rare for cervical pain, and getting treatment can yield great results from minimally invasive treatments. Pain that is radiating down your legs You may not associate this type of pain with a back issue, but it’s a telltale symptom of spinal stenosis, a condition that “affects 8 to 11 percent of Americans, mostly those over age 50, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons,” said US News. “It usually results from years of osteoarthritis, a thickening of the body’s ligaments that connect the bones to the spine and a deterioration of the cushioning between discs in the vertebrae—all of which cause the spinal canal to narrow. As a result, nerves that travel down to the legs can become pinched near the bottom of the spine, causing pain and an inability to walk properly.” Minimally invasive treatments for spinal stenosis typically also start with anti-inflammatories and physical therapy and can advance to local epidural steroid injections. “As a conservative treatment approach, doctors usually try first prescribing anti-inflammatory painkillers or injecting corticosteroids along with a short-acting the numbing medication lidocaine to reduce inflammation in the nerves,” said US News. “Patients who get enough pain relief from these remedies to increase physical activity might be able to avoid surgery.” If pain persists, minimally invasive surgery “can be performed through a small 3 to 15 mm incision,” said DISC Spine Institute. “A small tubular retractor is gently placed in between the muscle fibers. Special instruments and magnification is used to relieve the pressure off the nerves by making more space for them. This is an outpatient procedure with a tiny suture-less incision.” If you’re tired of suffering and are ready to explore treatments that could put an end to your back or neck pain for good, contact DISC Spine Institute, experts in minimally invasive treatments, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate chronic back pain.