Back Injury: Introduction
If you’re like most people, you’ve had lower back pain at some point in your life. Back pain is the second most common reason for visits to the doctor’s office, next to upper-respiratory infections. The pain can be short lived, but in many instances, it can be severe and progressive. If you’re near the Monmouth County area, and have been experiencing discomfort for a long period of time, it may be time to contact the spine doctors at AOSMI.
So, what exactly is the lumbar spine? It consists of five vertebrae that connect your thoracic or chest region to your pelvis. It’s made up of vertebrae, in addition to the discs, ligaments and muscles surrounding it. Your spine surrounds and houses your spinal cord, which travels inside it and has openings for nerves, which enter and exit at each level.
- Injury – Trauma, either a single episode that imparts a lot of force to your spine or a repetitive injury
- Degeneration – Wear and tear of the spine, discs and other joints that is common as we age.
- Inflammation – Caused by an autoimmune disorder where the body’s blood cells attack the joints in the spine resulting in pain and stiffness
- Degenerative Disk Disease – The disks become dry and shrinks and the edges of the bones rub on one another
- Spondylosis – Inflammation and arthritis of the joints in the lumbar spine
- Herniated Disk – A disk pushes out of its normal position and compresses the spinal cord or nerves. This can cause pinching of the nerves in the back, referred to as radiculopathy or “sciatica.”
- Stenosis – The joints of the spine become enlarged, and the spinal nerves gets compressed
- Scoliosis – Twisting and curving of the spine
- Spondylolisthesis – Slipping of one spinal bone over another, often caused by trauma or degeneration
When you see the back specialists at AOSMI, we will perform a detailed physical examination usually including X-rays of your spine for a through evaluation. Further studies that may be required to fully diagnose your problem include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography-scan (CT-scan), Electromyography (EMG)/Nerve Conduction studies, discogram and a bone scan. Sometimes your physician will order flexion/extension or bending X-rays of your spine to see how the alignment changes with positioning of your body.
As a back specialist in NJ, AOSMI can provide non-invasive, common treatments for your pain including:
- Medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, pain patches and narcotic pain medication such as Percocet
- Physical Therapy – With techniques such as active release and fascial manipulation, our therapists are experts in making your back feel better
- Massage – Experienced massage therapists can relieve muscle soreness with a variety of manual techniques
- Acupuncture – Proven to help treat spine pain especially when traditional methods do not work
- Epidural Steroid Injections – Very effective in relieving the severe pain that radiates from your back down your legs
If your condition is severe enough where you are resistant to non-operative treatments, surgery may be required.
- Nerve stimulators can be implanted to diminish spine pain
- Microdiscectomy – An innovative surgical approach that can remove a herniated disc and remove the pinching of the nerve without damaging surrounding structures
- Minimally Invasive Lumbar fusion – Removing the disk and causing the bones to bond together which eliminates pain caused from damaged and degenerated disks
- Laminectomy – Relieves pressure on the spinal cord, as in cases of spinal stenosis
- Lumbar Instrumentation and Fusion – Effective for the deformity or twisting of the spine as in scoliosis patients, and can be performed for slipping of the vertebral bodies caused by spondylolisthesis
If you’ve recently had a spinal injury or have unexplained discomfort, contact lower back pain New Jersey specialists at AOSMI. We will thoroughly diagnose your problem and provide the appropriate treatment that will improve your quality of life.