There are so many causes of back pain it’s a little like saying somebody has “abdominal pain”. Abdominal pain could be caused by problems of the large intestine, stomach, gallbladder and so on. Each cause is very different from the next. The point is that the term "back pain" is very non specific and could mean any number of things, all of which require different types of treatment. As such it’s important that somebody who experiences back pain understand some of the different sources of pain and get a distinct and reliable diagnosis from a healthcare professional before exploring treatment.
Step 1: Finding out What is Causing Your Back Pain
While low back pain is very common, no two cases are exactly identical. Muscle strains, disc herniations, spinal arthritis, scoliosis, joint injuries and even simple stress are some of the varied causes of back pain. Each of these distinct causes requires very different treatment approaches. This is why the most important first step in treating back pain is clearly defining the diagnosis or source of the pain. This means performing a complete history, physical examination and many times imaging studies like X-Rays or MRIs. Our office specializes in the advanced diagnosis of back pain. We utilize the latest in techniques and a battery of testing to identifying the source of back pain, making the next phase of care that more effective.
Step 2: Reviewing Your Options for Care
Once our team has determined the source of your pain, the next step is to review your options for care. Our philosophy is that we want you to understand all of your options for treatment not just those that we offer. We sit down with each patient and review the results of their tests and what treatments will work for best in their case. We feel the quick five-minute approach to patient education is a plan for failure. Unless patients clearly understand the reasons for their pain and what they should do, they won’t truly partner in the process of getting better. They will often do things that sabotage their improvement and loose motivation if the results are erratic. It’s important to sit down with each patient and thoroughly review their condition and what our recommends are. If more than one specialty is called for, the patient will often be seen in a group consultation with several doctors and a therapist, each reviewing some aspect of the proposed care.
Step 3: Begin Your Treatment
Once we have designed and reviewed your treatment program the next step is to rid you of your pain as quickly and safely as possible. This may involve the use of medications, exercises, physical therapy, manipulation or any number of tools at our disposal. This is one of the advantages of having a number or different independent specialties located within the same facility. Each has a large arsenal of weapons against back pain that often work even better when used together. The result is that our success rates in improving most types of back pain are extraordinarily high.
One of our most innovative and effective treatment programs for low back pain, especially disc injuries, is our spinal decompression treatment program.