If you’re plagued by back pain, know that you’re not alone. It is a common problem, which experts estimate to affect up to 80 percent of the adult population in the United States.
Back pain may develop without an obvious cause, but it can also occur due to:
- A muscle or ligament strain – From lifting a heavy object or a sudden awkward movement.
- A herniated (ruptured) disc– Discs in the spine act as cushions between the bones (vertebrae). Damage to the disc can cause the fragment of the disc nucleus (the central portion filled with a lubricating substance) to bulge out of the annulus (the disc’s tough circular exterior) into the spinal canal. When the disc fragment slips out, it consequently puts pressure on the nerves and spinal cord.
- Sciatica– This occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes irritated, compressed, or inflamed. Pain often travels from the pelvis to the feet.
- Osteoarthritis -This causes pain, stiffness, and swelling in spinal joints. It often results from wear and tear, injury, or overuse, which causes the protective cartilage at the end of the bones to gradually wear away.
- Spinal stenosis– This is a degenerative condition that can cause the spaces within the spine to narrow and eventually compress the spinal nerves.
For you to be able to ascertain whether your back pain is the result of any of the abovestated conditions, you need to see a spine doctor, who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of the full spectrum of conditions that cause back pain.
Diagnosing Back Pain
A spine doctor can confirm a diagnosis based on a comprehensive physical examination. This includes reviewing your symptoms and medical history and performing specific movements to evaluate your spine’s strength, function, and range of motion.
Your back pain doctor will likely order diagnostic tests, especially if they suspect that your pain is caused by a spine condition. Your doctor will likely order any or a combination of the following tests:
- An X-ray to check the alignment and to assess any damage to the spine
- MRI or CT scan to identify any abnormalities in the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels in the spine.
- A blood test to check for infection.
- A bone scan to diagnose any problems with the bones, such as osteoporosis
- A nerve conduction study (NCS) or electromyogram (EMG) to assess and measure the electrical impulses produced by the nerves and muscle response. It can identify nerve problems, particularly compression.
Spine Doctor in Rochester Hills
If you’re looking for a highly-skilled spine doctor in Rochester Hills, visit us at Ahlgren Spine. Dr. Bradley Ahlgren offers an extensive range of innovative nonsurgical and surgical treatment options to help you effectively address your back pain, so you can function normally again and enjoy a good quality of life.