It is surprising to realize just how much we rely on a strong and functioning back, and we often do not think about it until it becomes injured. Roughly 80% of adults experience lower back pain at some point in their lifetime, and those living in New York are especially prone to back issues. Whether you consider the fast-paced lifestyle, the fact that we sit for extended periods of time during work or while commuting, or the need to carry heavy bags for many blocks, our backs rarely get a break. Understanding the cause of your back pain is the first step toward a more active and healthy lifestyle.
Muscle strains and spasms
One of the more common causes of back pain, a strain or spasm can occur for a range of reasons. Most often they are the result of sudden lifting or bending, yet can also be attributed to resting for a long period of time in an improper position. As a defense mechanism, the muscles around the spine tend to seize up and become tense in an effort to avoid further injury.
A painful condition that typically requires medical management, a herniated disc occurs when there is an injury to a specific portion of the spine. In between each of our vertebrae are discs that act as fluid-filled cushions. Sharp movements may cause a tear in the disc and leaking fluid then irritates the surrounding spinal nerves. Unless a herniated disc is addressed, individuals could experience ongoing pain that interferes with their daily activities.
Have you ever felt a shooting pain that begins in the lower back and extends down your leg? This is due to sciatica, and while most think of it as a pinched nerve, it is actually caused by an irritation in your lower spine. Sciatica can include pain, burning, or tingling and can often be triggered by another back issue. While some instances of sciatica resolve on their own, recurring episodes may require medical care.
OTHER BACK PAIN
Sometimes an instance of back pain is not as clear-cut, and the team at Manhattan Pain & Sports Associates will work with you to determine what is causing your symptoms. In some cases, it could be due to arthritis, an inflammation of the joints that leads to a narrowing of the space within the spine. Others may experience osteoarthritis, a degenerative version of arthritis. Normal wear and tear of the spine’s discs may also lead to degenerative disc disease.
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Often times the top priority of our patients is to resolve their neck and back pain quickly, allowing them to return to their usual quality of life. At Manhattan Pain & Sports Associates, we take a comprehensive approach to diagnosing your back symptoms. In order to create an appropriate treatment plan, it is crucial that our team has a full understanding of your specific back issue.
Your appointment will include an in-depth conversation that details your medical history, your current symptoms, and elements of your lifestyle that will help us to determine the best course of treatment. We will perform minor functional tests to determine the location of your back pain and to evaluate your current range of motion.
In some instances, our physicians may order X-rays or an MRI to uncover the source of your pain, and these tools can help us to distinguish if you are dealing with a herniated disc, soft tissue problem, or a bone fracture. Nerve damage can be assessed using an electromyogram, and we may even use a steroid injection to identify the affected nerve and aid in treatment.
Chronic back pain can be the result of a sports injury or could be the symptom of another condition, so it is essential that we take the time to completely diagnose your issue. The team at Manhattan Pain & Sports Associates understands that living each day with back pain can greatly reduce your quality of life, and it is our goal to provide lasting relief. Our approach to pain management is comprehensive, efficient, and keeps your individual needs at the top of our priority list.
If you visited your primary care physician for help with your back pain, there is a good chance that you were sent home with muscle relaxing medication and were told to take it easy. Rather than using a one size fits all approach, the pain doctors at Manhattan Pain & Sports Association view pain management as a collaborative partnership. After a thorough diagnosis of your concern, we will present a variety of treatment options that will improve your health and get you back to feeling like yourself again.
Taking a conservative and minimally-invasive approach to chronic and acute back pain, our team may recommend a range of options. Common conditions including muscle spasms or strains may respond the best to alternative treatments including acupuncture, massage, or trigger point injections. Physical therapy can also help to strengthen the muscles within the back, and this use of sports medicine can be beneficial even if you are not an athlete. These options have shown to be very effective while remaining minimally invasive, allowing you to find relief fast.
More complex concerns including herniated discs, facet joint pain syndrome, and sciatica can be treated with the use of steroid injections. Acting to reduce inflammation in the spinal nerves, they can be coupled with lidocaine to offer even more pain relief. Lastly, radiofrequency ablation can also help to block pain signals from the nerves and provide a better quality of life.
While the team at Manhattan Pain & Sports Associates makes every effort to develop treatment options that are minimally invasive, some instances may call for surgery. Patients can find tremendous help through the use of spinal cord stimulators that utilize electrical currents to reduce pain. Others rely on intrathecal pumps that deliver medication directly to the spine.
Depending on the exact treatments that will garner the best results, you may find that visiting another physician may be necessary. In this case, we are happy to coordinate your related care, however most patients embark upon their treatment plan within our own accredited facility. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with a comprehensive list of options that will relieve your chronic back pain and help you get back to daily life.
EXPLORE AN INTERACTIVE 3D ANATOMY OF BACK PAIN
Patient Praise For MPSA
At Manhattan Pain & Sports Associates we strive to provide the best possible experience so our patients have the best possible outcomes. Here are what some of our recent back pain patients have to say.