As you have probably already guessed a spine doctor treats problems involving the spine and back. They will try to relieve pain, increase mobility and generally improve the quality of life for their patients.
It is estimated that up to 80% of the US population will face back problems at some point in their lifetime. Indeed 16 million adults suffer from persistent back pain, that is 8% of the population.
What would a spine doctor do?
A spine doctor would focus on non-surgical treatments for back pain. This could include back injuries and spinal conditions. By diagnosing the problem they will look at all the options for finding the cause of the problem and then relieving the pain to help the patient’s day to day existence improve.
Surgery should be a last resort and by using modern techniques this can be avoided while still treating the back pain successfully.
What causes back and spine pain?
There are many reasons for back pain. It could have started with an accident or sports injury. Some back problems are degenerative and others caused by nerves. The most common types of back pain are as follows:
Lower back pain
This is one of the most common conditions in the world and indeed the most common back pain. Lower back pain or lumba pain can be treated with non-surgical pain relief. Symptoms will often include muscles spasms, sciatica, limited range of movement and back ache. There are a variety of reasons that can cause this such as a strain, an injury, overactivity, osteoarthritis, herniated disc or degenerative disc disease.
Middle and upper back pain
This type of back pain is not nearly as common as lower back pain but it can still be very painful. If you suffer from this type of pain you may feel a burning or sharp pain in the middle of your back. Tightness of the muscles in this area and stiffnes are also symptoms of middle to upper back pain.
This is when the spine curves unnaturally and it ranges from very mild and almost unnoticeable to chronically severe. It can become worse in later life for someone diagnosed at an earlier age and cause pain, lack of movement and even decreased lung capacity in severe cases.
Often called a slipped or ruptured disc, this type of back pain is very common. A slipped disc happens when a tear occurs in the outer layer of the disc and the inner part is pushed through the hole. This then puts pressure on your nerves and causes pain across the back, neck, arm and shoulder areas. Very often people do not even realise they have a herniated disc.
They are often caused by degeneration of the disc over a period of time. Injuries from sports and falls can cause them to weaken as can general wear and tear from everyday activities.
This condition can be caused through general wear and tear or from an accident or injury. It is where the spinal canal narrows and then puts pressure on the nerves and spinal cord. Lumbar spinal stenosis causes pain in the lower back and is the most common whereas cervical stenosis affects the neck and is more severe. This type is more likely to be seen in older patients.
Degenerative disc disease
This condition will most commonly cause pain in the lower back and in the neck. This is caused by the discs in the spine degenerating. As we get older our bodies start to degenerate and this condition is one of the most common causes of lower back pain. The big problem with degenerative disc disease is that it can cause other problems if it is left untreated. These include herniated discs, sciatica, stenosis and osteoarthritis. So it is important that any lower back pains are checked out by a professional such as thespineandrehabgroup.com or other qualified spine specialists in your area.
This back pain is caused when the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated. Because the nerve spreads through the buttocks, hips, legs and feet as well the lower back the pain can spread through all these areas. It will commonly start in the lower back and spread down the leg. This condition can sometimes be constant or it may come and go as time passes.
Sitting still or standing for long periods of time can exacerbate the pain and other considerations are obesity, diabetes and lack of activity. Perversely having an active lifestyle may also cause sciatica. Runners for instance can develop this problem through repetitive movements irritating the sciatic nerve. Maintaining a healthy weight and diet can help limit the impact of sciatica.
What treatments are available from a spine doctor?
So you have read the main conditions that a spine doctor will treat but what non-surgical treatments are there available? How do spine doctors treat patients with these painful conditions?
This is available for all forms of back pain from degenerative disc disease to sciatica. Depending on your condition the therapy can take different forms of strengthening and conditioning and plans would be customised for you, the individual.
This can be used to treat pain in patients suffering from sciatica and stenosis and possible degenerative disc disease. The treatment would be carried out by a qualified acupuncturist in the doctor’s office.
This can be used for relieving pain from stenosis or herniated disc pain. This is again a non-surgical treatment carried out in the spine doctor’s office.
Other treatments may include anti inflammatory medication, interventional pain management, alternative treatments, epidural steroid injections and medical massages.
So a spine doctor treats a range of back pains and does so by relieving the pain and discomfort of the patients without the need for surgery. The treatments used are modern, cutting edge and can be carried out in the doctor’s office without the need for hospital visits. They use medications, hot and cold therapy, massages and physical therapy to help manage many conditions and improve the quality of life of patients while reducing or alleviating the pain.