The leading cause of missed work, back pain can easily sideline someone from even the simplest daily activities. Because the causes of back pain vary so widely, however, treatment options also vary. Most patients need only rest, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, and maybe a heating pad. But when back pain is more severe, or persists over time, it may be necessary to seek medical attention. For some patients, the best treatment is minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS).
Obtaining Accurate Diagnosis
Back pain can be caused by multiple medical conditions—some of which have nothing to do with the back muscles or spine. For instance, kidney or gallbladder infection may cause back pain, as could a tumor or an ulcer. Patients who experience sudden, sharp back pain, or dull back pain that doesn’t go away after a few days, need to see a doctor.
The doctor generally conducts multiple tests to determine the cause of each patient’s back pain. These could include diagnostic imaging, such as x-rays, MRI, or CT scans. To rule out other medical conditions, the doctor may also do blood work or other tests. If the pain originates in the bones or musculature of the back and requires more specific treatment, the doctor will often refer the patient to a specialist. Given the complex neurological structures contained within the spine, including the spinal cord and spinal nerves, there are orthopedic and neurological surgery specialists who are trained to perform these spinal procedures.
Surgery Isn’t First Line of Defense
After diagnosis, a specialist usually recommends conservative treatment options first. These may include medication, physical therapy, or visiting a chiropractor. Qualified spine specialists tailor the treatment to address the cause of each patient’s back pain. If these methods don’t work, surgery may be an option. It’s important to remember that not all conditions can be treated surgically. The following conditions can usually be treated effectively with surgery:
- Spinal stenosis
- Ruptured or herniated discs
- Bone spurs
It’s important to remember that surgery is a serious treatment, with definite risks. Some patients may still have pain or suffer from relapse after surgery. However, recent advances in medical technology are improving the outcome for back surgery patients. Minimally invasive spine surgery (MISS) is an excellent option for many patients. MISS allows doctors to address spinal disorders with minimal dissection of the muscles typically resulting in less pain, a shorter hospitalization, and a quicker recovery. That factor means shorter recovery time, less post-operative pain, and reduced risk for complications.
If you have questions about back pain treatment or minimally invasive spine surgery, please contact us at Central Florida Regional Hospital. Visit us online or call our Spine Center at 1-800-445-3392 to schedule a personal evaluation.