Most people will experience at least one episode of acute back pain during their lifetime. If you suffer from back pain, a spine surgeon can provide a range of nonsurgical and surgical treatments to effectively address your condition – allowing you to get back to your regular activities as soon as possible.
Because the spine is a complex system composed of bones, ligaments, cartilage, nerves, and supporting tendons and muscles, damage to any of these structures can trigger back pain. Symptoms can be caused by a number of reasons, including:
- Direct trauma (fall, sports injury, car accident)
- Poor posture, especially when lifting
- Repetitive movements (bending, twisting, lifting, pulling)
- Spine condition (herniated disc, sciatica, spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, ankylosing spondylitis, tumor)
Smoking and obesity can also increase your risk of developing a spine condition, such as a herniated disc. Regardless of the cause, a skilled spine surgeon can offer treatment that works immediately to reduce or eliminate your back pain.
When to See a Spine Doctor
Back pain usually gets better with time and with conservative treatments. Minor back pain should improve with rest, gentle stretching exercises, and over-the-counter pain relief medicine. If it doesn’t improve, further investigation by an orthopedic spine surgeon is warranted – particularly if the back pain:
- Is severe
- Has lasted for more than a week without improvement
- Continues to get worse
- Is causing significant disruption to daily life
- Is accompanied by other symptoms (such as weakness, numbness, groin pain, hip pain, and/or leg pain)
Diagnosis and Treatment for Back Pain
A spine surgeon can diagnose back pain based on a comprehensive examination. The doctor will review your symptoms and medical history, have you perform simple back and leg movements, and evaluate your muscle strength and range of motion. Diagnostic testing – such as X-rays, bone scans, or MRI scans – may also be required to confirm the diagnosis.
Once the cause and severity of your back pain has been determined, a personalized treatment plan is then developed. Some of the possible nonsurgical treatment options include:
- Physical therapy
- Prescription pain-relief medication
- Nerve blocks
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Steroid injections
- Wearing a supportive back brace
When Is Spine Surgery Necessary?
Surgery may be recommended to you if your back pain and other symptoms fail to improve with nonsurgical treatments, or if there is a structural abnormality in your back that should be fixed. Today, even back surgery can often be performed in a minimally invasive manner for optimum safety.
Types of spine surgeries include:
- Spinal fusion, which involves fusing two or more vertebrae together to strengthen and stabilize a segment of the spine.
- Laminectomy (decompression surgery), which enlarges the spinal canal by removing part of the vertebra – thereby relieving pressure on the nerves and spinal cord.
- Microdiscectomy (micro-decompression), which removes part of a herniated disc and thereby reduces pressure on the spinal nerves.
- Surgery to correct an abnormal curvature of the spine, as in scoliosis.
Back Pain Treatment in Rochester Hills, Michigan
If you’re experiencing chronic back pain, see the spine specialists at Ahlgren Spine. We offer a broad range of treatments to effectively treat your pain once and for all.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation with renowned spine surgeon Dr. Bradley Ahlgren, contact our friendly staff today by calling us at (248) 215-8080 or complete our appointment request form online now. We look forward to helping you enjoy a more pain-free life once again!