If you are in this group, and have been trying to avoid seeking relief (maybe you don’t want Back Pain surgery), Jordan Sudberg will be happy to help you. Sometimes, spine surgery is not necessary to treat back pain.
He says that there are many factors involved in back pain. It all depends on the cause. Some types of pain can be treated with surgery while others cannot.
A herniated disc, which is when the tissue between vertebrae shifts out of place, can be treated with surgery. However, arthritis of the spine, which results in the destruction of the cartilage between vertebrae, can often be managed with exercise, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication. You may be able treat your lower back strain by stretching, heat, and anti-inflammatories at home if you lift heavy boxes or do other repetitive tasks that cause strain to your lower back. You should seek emergency treatment if your back is hurt from an accident or fall.
Dr. Dowdell says that there is one thing almost everyone can agree on: which doctor to see first.
Here are his suggestions for where to start, what you can expect, and what might happen next if the pain persists.
Begin with a Physiatrist…
Dr. Dowdell recommends that you visit a physiatrist if you do not need to see a primary doctor for a referral. He explains that a physiatrist can be considered the primary doctor of the back. Because physiatrists focus on non-surgical diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal issues (muscle and bones), they may have greater specialized knowledge than a primary care physician. Even if your family doctor has already diagnosed your back pain, it is a good idea for you to consult a physiatrist if your current treatment plan doesn’t work.
A Physical Therapist is someone who will gladly refer you to one.
For ongoing pain, six weeks of physical therapy is the best course of action. You can also try at-home remedies like the ones mentioned in this article.
A physical therapist can also assess your posture and help you improve your work environment. They can also create a program of movement or exercise that will improve your back.
If you’re still not feeling better, an MRI will likely be ordered.
Your physiatrist may send you for an MRI if your pain persists after you have completed your PT. This test uses a powerful magnet to examine your body. A MRI can be used to determine if a nerve has been pinched, if the cartilage or bone is worn-and-tear, or if another problem might be causing your pain.
A Surgeon will likely examine the MRI.
A spine surgeon such as Dr. Dowdell will often review a patient’s MRI results to determine the next steps in their treatment.
He says, “My job as spine surgeon is to not only perform surgery but also to diagnose patients properly and refer them to the right doctor if they aren’t going along with surgery.” Some patients get frustrated when I tell them surgery won’t work for them. But it wouldn’t be the worst if I did surgery and it didn’t help or made matters worse.
Dr. Dowdell states that surgeons may recommend non-surgical treatments such as corticosteroid injections. These can not only provide pain relief, but also help to determine the source of the pain.
You may be able, even if surgery is recommended, to have a minimally invasive procedure. This means that there are less complications and pain, and you can recover faster.
A Pain specialist is your next stop if surgery is not recommended
You should consider seeing a pain management doctor if your pain persists despite all the treatment options. This is a doctor who has specialized training in pain assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. Others may specialize in specific types of pain such as pain.
HSS’s Pain Management Division has pain management physicians who are board certified in pain management. They also have additional graduate training. The first step is to perform a thorough assessment, discuss how pain affects your daily activities, and then create a personalized treatment plan. This could include at-home and physical therapy.
Prescription medications are only recommended by the HSS team when they are medically necessary. Even then, they try to prescribe as little as possible and for as short a time as possible to prevent dependency problems. It is important to discuss your symptoms, goals, and concerns. This will help you find a pain management group that treats you with compassion.
Talking about it may also be beneficial
Dr. Dowdell states that a psychiatrist can help people with long-term pain. This is a condition that has been associated with anxiety and depression.
“I tell my patients that I don’t believe your pain is just in your head. It’s possible that you are actually feeling it. He says that addressing how it affects your mental health may help you feel better. Everyone experiences pain differently. Some people are more sensitive than others to pain.
It is crucial to understand how pain affects the brain. Therefore, every HSS pain management physician must complete four years of medical school and four years of pain management residency training. Each year, a one-year additional training is required in related fields, including psychiatry.
What is the best time to seek help for your pain?
Dr. Dowdell states that it is rare for anyone to come to him after suffering from pain for more than a week. People who have lived with chronic pain for many months, or even years may finally give up and seek treatment.
The sooner you see a doctor Jordan Sudberg is better than waiting. He says that if you seek help as soon as you feel you are experiencing persistent pain, you may be able prevent it from becoming a long-term battle.
Dr. Dowdell says that having chronic spine pain can lead to pain pathways connecting your brain and back. The pain pathways become more established as pain signals travel back-and-forth, making it more difficult to treat later.
Dr. Dowdell’s final words: When you seek treatment, it is important to understand that the journey may not be easy.
He says, “You are not going to walk in the doctor’s offices and get a quick diagnosis.” It can be difficult to hear that message when you are in pain. However, treating pain can be done slowly.