Back and neck pain is one of the most common reasons to see an orthopedic specialist in the United States. From poor postures to degenerative health conditions like osteoarthritis, many things can cause back and neck pain.
In many cases, back and neck pain goes away on their ownwithout any orthopedic intervention. Whilein other cases where pain worsens with time or does not respond to at-home treatments, orthopedic care is needed.
Let’s discuss some common orthopedic approaches to diagnosing and treating back and neck pain And where you can go for effective neck and back pain management in San Antonio, TX.
Neck and Back Pain Diagnosis
To diagnose neck and back pain, an orthopedic doctor will take the detailed medical history of the patient and perform a comprehensive exam, which involves checking for numbness, tenderness, and muscle weakness. You might also be asked to rate your pain on a scale of zero to 10 and how your pain is affecting your daily activities.
During the initial assessment, your orthopedic doctor will also determine whether you have muscle spasms and how much you can move before the pain forces you to stop your movement.
To pinpoint the underlying cause of your neck and back pain, your orthopedic doctor will perform certain diagnostic tests, which may include:
- Imaging tests, like X-rays, MRI, or CT scans,to determine any structural abnormality that might be causing neck or back pain
- Blood tests to determine whether an infection or other condition might be causing pain
- Nerve studies, such as electromyography, to measure the electrical impulses produced by the nerveand muscle’s response to these electrical impulses.
Neck and Back Pain Treatment
As mentioned above, most back and neck pain improves through home treatments such as rest, icing, and over-the-counter pain relievers. However, the pain lasts for months in many cases, requiring non-surgical or surgical interventions.
Non-surgical orthopedic interventions to relieve neck or back pain include medications (e.g., over-the-counter pain relievers, muscle relaxants, topical pain relievers, antidepressants, and narcotics), physical therapy exercises, braces, cortisone injections, and lifestyle modifications.
On the other hand, surgical treatments are recommended only when non-surgical options fail to provide adequate relief from neck and back pain. These may include procedures like discectomy (removal of a part of a herniated disc), laminectomy, or spinal fusion.
Ways to Manage Neck and Back Pain
Before performing surgery, an orthopedic doctor recommends certain procedures to treat painin the neck and back. These Include:
Epidural Steroid Injections
Epidural steroid injections involve the injection of corticosteroid medications into the space around the spinal cord and the spinal nerves, called epidural space. These injections are effective at alleviating pain and inflammation of the neck and back. Anorthopedic doctor can also use fluoroscopy (a type of real-time x-ray) to inject corticosteroid medication into the epidural space near the affected nerve root.
Radiofrequency ablation is a procedure in which a fine needle is inserted through the skin near the area causing the pain. The needle passes the radio waves to damagenearby nerves, thereby preventing the nerves from sendingpain signals to the brain.
Implanted Nerve Stimulator
Otherwise known as neuromodulation devices or neurostimulator, implanted nerve stimulator involves the surgical placement of a device into the body totarget specific nerves or areas of the nervous system. The device sends electrical signals to the targeted nerves and helpsrelieve pain.
Orthopedic Doctor in San Antonio, TX
Whether you have neck pain or back pain and are seeking a lasting solution, our board-certified orthopedic doctors at the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine have you covered. Our orthopedic doctors can perform a comprehensive assessment to determine the underlying cause of your back pain and neck pain and develop a personalized treatment plan to help relieve your pain and restore your range of motion and mobility so that you can resume your active lifestyle.
To schedule a consulttation with one of our orthopedic doctors or surgeons, please contact our staff today at (210) 692-7400 or fill out our online appointment request form.