Treatment to Relieve Chronic Low Back Pain
Experts estimate that as many as 80 percent of adults experience back pain at some point in their lives. It is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed workdays.
There could be many different causes for low back pain, including an injury, disease or some other problem. Oftentimes, it is very difficult to identify the specific cause of the pain.
Dr. Stephane Lavoie, orthopaedic spine surgeon, discusses the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options for chronic low back pain – pain in the lower back that has been present for three months or longer. People with chronic low back pain often experience difficulty performing daily activities or work duties.
What are the symptoms of chronic low back pain?
Symptoms of chronic low back pain include:
- Pain, lasting three months or longer
- Pain in the form of a dull ache to a sharp, stabbing pain (pain experienced varies from person to person)
- Pain that increases with changes in activity or stress
- Weakness, numbness, and tingling
- Changes in bowel or bladder control
How is chronic low back pain diagnosed?
Because there are many different causes of low back pain, your physician will review your medical history and perform a physical examination to help identify possible causes. Your doctor may also order imaging, such as X-ray or MRI, to assist in diagnosing your pain.
How is chronic low back pain treated non-surgically?
Non-surgical treatment for low back pain focuses on managing the pain and restoring function with conservative care. Non-surgical treatment options may include diet and lifestyle modifications, medication, physical therapy and injections.
What surgical treatment options are available for chronic low back pain?
If conservative treatment is ineffective, surgery may be beneficial. Surgery is reserved only for the cases where everything else has been tried or the pain is so severe that you cannot do the most basic of daily activities.
Spinal Fusion Surgery
Lumbar fusion surgery attaches the damaged vertebral bone to an adjacent vertebral bone so that they grow together into one long bone. A fusion will reduce freedom of movement in the spine by making the fused vertebral bones immobile, but that immobility serves the purpose of reducing pain.
Decompression is a common surgical procedure used to alleviate lower back pain associated with leg pain caused by pinched nerves. A decompression surgery removes herniated discs, thickened ligaments or bone spurs that are pressing on nerves
A laminectomy will typically be performed for someone with leg pain and/or weakness from spinal stenosis caused by changes in the facet joints, discs or bone spurs.
Sometimes a disk, the cushion that separates your vertebrae, can slip out of place, press on a spinal nerve, and cause back pain. In a diskectomy, the surgeon removes part of the disk. This procedure usually requires a relatively small incision, and is considered a minimally invasive procedure.
A surgeon removes the damaged spinal disk and inserts an artificial one between your vertebrae. Unlike fusion, this lets you continue to move your spine. Recovery time may be shorter than for a spinal fusion, too. This is usually reserved for the cervical spine. When the spine arthritis is too severe, the replacement cannot be performed.
This advanced procedure helps repair fractures and reduce pain by allowing surgeons to stabilize the compressed vertebral bone and partially, restore alignment using bone cement.
The Spine Center at Florida Orthopaedic Associates
The Spine Center at Florida Orthopaedic Associates offers patients a comprehensive approach to diagnosing and treating the spine, including cervical or neck pain, thoracic pain, lumbar or lower back pain, spinal disorders or disease, as well as spinal cord and nerve compression.
If you suffer with chronic back pain and would like to speak with one of our Spine Team specialists, call the office or request an appointment through our online form to schedule an appointment today.