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MI Back Pain

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Back Pain

In 60 seconds MiBackPain doctors give an overview of back pain and how this website can help you make informed decisions.

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Back Pain Basics

  • Surgical Approach

    Only about 10% of patients need surgery to alleviate back pain. If back pain is not alleviated by non-surgical treatments and has continued for a few weeks or months, it may be time to see a spine surgeon. If the pain is severe and medication isn't working then it may be advisable to consult with a spine surgeon sooner.

     

    Some types of back surgery are less invasive than others. A microdiscectomy is minimally invasive and does not change the anatomy of the spine, whereas most types of lumbar spine fusion surgeries are more invasive and do change the anatomy of the spine. Minimally invasive approaches heal within a few weeks and have around a 90% success rate. Invasive surgeries, such as fusion surgery, take several months to heal and have a success rate between 70 and 90%.

     

  • Chiropractic Approach

    A chiropractic approach to treating low back pain is to find the source of the back pain and correct it, not just treat the symptom; this ensures that the body can heal naturally. Low back pain often responds dramatically to the correction of vertebrae positioning and the restoration of normal motion. Chiropractors use spinal manipulations or adjustments to precisely apply a directed force to the vertebrae that is out of position.

     

    The doctor may either use their hands or specialized tools to apply a quick thrust or slower pressure to the misaligned joint. Additionally, your chiropractor may suggest adding exercises, hot or cold compresses, or massage to compliment your adjustments. It may also be helpful to consider some lifestyle changes such as healthier eating and stress reduction techniques.

  • Physical Therapy Approach

    A physical therapist can teach you exercises that strengthen and stretch the muscles in the affected area to relieve pressure on the nerve. They may also recommend modifications to activities that aggravate the nerve. They can show you positions and exercises designed to minimize pain. A physical therapist may also recommend applying heat or ice, traction, an ultrasound, electrical stimulation or short-term bracing for the neck or lower back.

  • Massage Approach

    Massage therapy is beneficial for many chronic conditions, including low back pain. Massage offers a drug-free, non-invasive and humanistic approach to combating back pain based on the body's natural ability to heal itself. Structural relaxation massage techniques both work well to remedy chronic low back pain with few side effects. Massage helps those with back pain function better even after six months, which can help support their ability to work, take care of themselves and be active.

     

    For those who use massage as a preventive measure to back pain or to manage daily back stress, one massage a month is common. Weekly massage sessions may be necessary for injury relief or to relieve chronic neck or back tightness that interferes with daily life. If this is the case, weekly sessions are essential in order to build on each week's improvements in healing until the desired results have been achieved.

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Herniated Disc

In less than 45 seconds Dr. DiMartino gives an overview of a herniated disc.

  • Surgical Approach

    A small percentage of people with herniated disks eventually need surgery. Your doctor may suggest surgery if conservative treatments fail to improve your symptoms, especially if you continue to experience numbness or weakness, difficulty standing or walking, or loss of bladder or bowel control.

     

    In many cases, surgeons can perform a less invasive surgery and remove just the protruding portion of the disk. Rarely, the entire disk must be removed. In these cases, the vertebrae may need to be fused together with metal hardware to provide spinal stability. Your surgeon may suggest the implantation of an artificial disk, though it is uncommon.

     

  • Chiropractic Approach

    Chiropractors use manual therapies, such as spinal and manual manipulation and mobilization, which can be effective for the treatment of herniated discs. Spinal manipulation, or chiropractic adjustment, applies pressure to the disc and is meant to improve functionality, reduce nerve irritability, and restore range of motion in the back. Mobilization moves and stretches the muscles and joints in order to increase the range of motion.

     

    This approach, as with all back pain treatments, is to prevent chronic back pain. Actively caring for your body through exercise and a healthier lifestyle is emphasized to prevent chronicity.

     

  • Physical Therapy Approach

    Physical therapists can show you positions and exercises designed to minimize the pain of a herniated disk. A physical therapist may also recommend applying heat or ice to the area affected by the herniated disc, spinal compression therapy, ultrasound therapy, electrotherapy and/or short-term bracing for the neck or lower back.

  • Massage Approach

    Massage is not absolutely contraindicated for disc herniation; treatment methods should be used cautiously. The transverse processes protect the nerve roots from further compression during most massage techniques, but minor vertebral movements that occur from pressure applied to the region could aggravate symptoms.

     

    Massage is helpful to decrease muscle tension in the area and may reduce compressive loading on the disc. However, this massage also should be performed carefully and only once the extent of the disorder has been clarified.

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Pinched Nerve

In less than 50 seconds Dr. Dean gives an overview of a pinched nerve.

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Pinched Nerve Basics

  • Surgical Approach

    If the pinched nerve doesn't improve after several weeks to a few months with conservative treatments, your doctor may recommend surgery to take pressure off the nerve. The type of surgery varies depending on the location of the pinched nerve.

     

    Surgery may entail removing bone spurs or a part of a herniated disc in the spine, for example, or severing the carpal ligament to allow more room for the nerve to pass through the wrist.

     

  • Physical Therapy Approach

    A physical therapist can teach you exercises that strengthen and stretch the muscles in the affected area to relieve pressure on the nerve. They may also recommend modifications to activities that aggravate the nerve.

     

  • Pain Management Approach

    Exercises may strengthen the back or core muscles and decrease or eliminate pressure on a nerve root. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen could be helpful. Injections of corticosteriods may also be beneficial for many types of pinched nerves. Resting the affected area is often very effective, especially in cases of injury caused by repetitive activities.

     

  • Chiropractic Approach

    Pinched nerves are usually caused by either a bony impingement, meaning there might be a joint that is pressing on the nerve, or, in many cases a bulging disc, herniated disc, or tight muscles. Chiropractic treatment relieves pressure off the nerve and offers relief from pinched nerve pain. A pinched nerve doesn't only have local pain. One in the neck can radiate down the arm, or another in the low back may radiate into the leg. Chiropractors can help relieve these pains by repositioning the bones, relaxing the muscles, and reducing the pressure on nerves.

     

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Disclaimer: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for care from a qualified health professional.

 If you have or suspect you may have a health problem, you should immediately consult your health care provider.

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