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Treatment overview and more!
Lower back pain is a common occurrence that can affect anyone. Many people can experience lower back pain from time to time, and for others, lower back pain can be a daily occurrence.
If lower back pain becomes chronic, it may be time to contact a specialist. The specialists at Pain and Spine can determine the cause of your pain, the type of pain you're experiencing, and the best treatment options. Resolving these questions will allow you to pursue an effective plan of care that will effectively mitigate and manage your pain over the long term.
To learn more about lower back pain and treatment options, explore the resources listed below, covering our procedures, diagnosis steps, and many other frequently asked questions. If you're ready to speak with one of our board-certified pain specialists, please use our contact form or give us a call to schedule your new patient consultation.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this office. I was helping my mom find a place for her arthritis pain, and I explained to them how bad it was. They were able to schedule me the same week! That's almost impossible at any doctor's office...and then add COVID..... I was thrilled. I took my mom, and everyone was absolutely so sweet and kind
- Donyasha B.
Dr. Rao. I can't find the words to tell you how much he has meant to me. I followed him from an old practice to his very new high tech office. They offer so many different areas of assistance to those with issues from nutrition to spinal surgery...and much more. His office is professional.
- Mom To2
Dr. Roa is such an amazing doctor! During my first visit he never tried to rush through my appt., he genuinely listened to all my concerns and then took his time to explain to me in detail all his recommendations and how they would help me.
- Nikki Walker
In the 3 years as a patient of Dr. Rao, it is my opinion that he is a phenomenal and extraordinary doctor. He keeps up to date with the latest treatment options, will sacrifice time no matter how many are in the waiting room to listen and explain. Dr. Rao has treated multiple patients with rare illnesses, and shows more empathy than any Dr. I’ve met.
- Mom To2
I have now been with Dr. Rao for 13 years. He is the most caring Doctor I have ever been to! Dr. Rao makes you feel very comfortable at all times. I would not want to go to any other Doctor... I go to the Hagerstown location, everyone is very nice
- Theresa R.
The entire staff from the folks at the front desk to the Nurse, to the Physicians Assistant to the scribe that records the visit for the doctor - (great idea so the Doctor can focus on the patient!!!)
- NVA F.
Completely the best care you could want the staff is so pleasant and caring and the doctors have true heart for healing, love being a patient here would give 10 stars if I could & absolutely the most caring during my procedure with Dr B
- Cathern C.
Always friendly, courteous, and efficient service. From the ladies, who work the front desk, to the nurses and the doctors. I've always had a good experience with the Harrisonburg office in Virginia.
They scheduled my appointment very quickly so that I can get to help that I needed immediately instead of like most places having to wait two to three weeks to get in I called and was able to be seen the next day
- John H.
After transitioning from a pain and spine doctor in Columbia, MD.. The intake staff member at Pain and Spine Specialist made the scheduling a breeze. They were able to get me in within a week.
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The spinal column is composed of vertebrae that are padded with intervertebral discs. Cushioning each vertebra, these jelly-like discs work as shock absorbers protecting the spinal column and the body (especially during movement).
Located in the lumbar region of the spine, the lower back supports much of your upper body. Within the lower spinal column, there is an intricate network of bones, nerves, and tissue. This complex network is the basis of the body’s ability to move and feel physical sensations. These spinal nerves interpret pain sensations and transmit pain signals to the brain.
Various activities can cause stress and strain on lower back bones, nerves, and tissue, which may lead to pain. Depending on the individual's activity level and lifestyle choices, a person may experience acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) lower back pain.
When lower back pain does not resolve on its own, it is essential to consult a medical professional. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to managing lower back pain, reducing the likelihood of developing chronic conditions. A qualified physician can tell the difference between a short-term injury and pain that requires long-term management. In some cases, further evaluation is needed by a back pain specialists.
The frequency with which lower back pain is experienced will define the type of pain occurring. Lower back pain occurs as either acute or chronic, and these two types of pain may require different treatment methods.
Treatment is shaped by the type of pain felt. But what does it mean? Acute (lower back) pain implies the pain is experienced briefly. The pain symptoms may resolve on their own with little medical involvement. Many individuals may find relief from simple home remedies and over-the-counter medicines.
The pain symptoms can resolve on their own with some rest and care. Chronic (lower back) pain lasts longer than 12 weeks and can escalate in nature. Chronic lower back pain can progressively limit your mobility in your day-to-day life, significantly impacting your functionality.
This type of chronic pain usually requires assistance from a back pain specialist who can evaluate your symptoms and determine a course of action. Chronic lower back pain may be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition or a manifestation of a larger injury.
A skilled lower back pain specialist will review the duration of your back pain and (ideally) diagnose the cause of your symptoms. They will verify your pain history and associated pain symptoms and check your medical history to better ascertain the most beneficial treatment method.
Various things can cause lower back pain. Strained muscles are the most common cause of these pain symptoms. Lower back pain may be a direct result of an injury or an additional medical condition affecting the region.
Common causes of strain-induced lower back pain are:
- Prolonged Sitting: Sitting hunched over or having poor posture while sitting at your work desk all day can contribute to lower back pain. The lack of lumbar support can exacerbate the damage to your lower back.
- Sedentary Lifestyle: Not being physically fit contributes to weak back and abdominal muscles. The lack of strength in your muscles won't properly support your spine, making injury more likely.
- Highly Physical Job: A job that requires frequent twisting or bending and heavy lifting can lead to injury and back pain.
- Strains/Sprains: Often a result of improper lifting, sudden movements, or poor posture, strains and sprains occur when muscles and ligaments in the lower back are stretched or torn.
- Inflammation: Inflamed muscles from injury or overuse. Often triggered by injury or stress, can lead to discomfort and stiffness in the lower back.
- Chronic Conditions: Like arthritis and fibromyalgia.
- Injured Discs
- Nerve Root Pain: Like sciatica.
When there is a disruption in how the back components operate, it can be considered a “mechanical” problem. The functionality can be limited or impacted by conditions that cause lower back pain.
Mechanical Conditions that Cause Lower Back Pain
- Herniated Disc: Also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, a herniated disc occurs when the soft inner material of the spinal disc bulges or leaks through a tear in its outer layer. This can cause pressure on nearby nerves, leading to pain, numbness, or weakness.
- Degenerative Disc Disease: As we age, the discs in our spine may lose hydration, elasticity, and height. This degeneration can lead to chronic pain and stiffness, as well as increased susceptibility to other spine-related conditions.
- Spinal Stenosis: This condition develops when the spinal canal narrows, compressing the spinal cord and nerve roots. Spinal stenosis can cause pain, numbness, or weakness in the lower back and legs, often worsening with prolonged standing or walking.
- Spondylolisthesis: Spondylolisthesis occurs when a vertebra in the lower spine slips out of its normal position, causing misalignment and potential nerve compression. This can result in lower back pain, muscle tightness, and nerve-related symptoms.
- Sciatica: caused by irritation or compression of the sciatic nerve, can also contribute to lower back pain, often accompanied by leg pain, numbness, or weakness.
- Fibromyalgia: This chronic pain disorder causes widespread musculoskeletal pain, including in the lower back. Fibromyalgia is believed to affect the way the brain processes pain signals, leading to increased sensitivity and discomfort. In addition to pain, fibromyalgia often results in fatigue, sleep disturbances, and tender points throughout the body.
- Arthritis: Arthritis refers to inflammation of the joints and can affect various areas, including the lower back. The two most common types of arthritis that may cause lower back pain are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Osteoarthritis: This degenerative joint disease occurs when the protective cartilage between bones wears away over time. In the lower back, osteoarthritis can lead to the breakdown of the facet joints, causing pain, stiffness, and limited mobility.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis: This autoimmune disorder causes the immune system to attack the lining of the joints, resulting in inflammation, pain, and joint damage. Although less common in the lower back, rheumatoid arthritis can still affect the spine and cause discomfort.
The cause of your low back pain can manifest your pain symptoms in various ways. Lower back pain can have a sudden onset or happen gradually. But the symptoms may be very similar.
Symptoms can be experienced when walking, standing, lying down, and many other situations. Your body’s positioning may also determine the severity of your symptoms.
Common symptoms include:
- Dull/aching pain in your lumbar region
- Pain that travels to your butt, legs, and feet
- Increased pain after prolonged sitting
- Muscle spasms in your lower back/pelvis/hip regions
- Finding pain relief after changing positions
The pain symptoms in your lower back will guide your back pain specialist to determine the best treatment method for effective relief.
A lower back pain specialist can review your back pain symptoms and accurately diagnose its source. A lower back pain specialist must evaluate your symptoms to devise a treatment plan for effective pain relief appropriately. Your back pain specialist may recommend a combination of treatments that best fit your goals and lifestyle. Here is an overview of traditional, advance, and alternative treatments for lower back pain:
Non-surgical / Traditional Treatments for Lower Back Pain
Our pain management center offers a variety of non-surgical and traditional treatments to address your lower back pain. These options include medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle changes:
Advanced Interventional Procedures for Lower Back Pain
For more complex cases, we provide advanced interventional procedures to effectively target the source of your lower back pain:
Injection Therapies for Lower Back Pain
Injection therapy can be a successful treatment for lumbar pain as well. With the guidance of a pain specialist, individuals may incorporate this therapy independently or in conjunction with their other pain management treatments. In some cases, spinal injections may even provide longer-lasting results.
Alternative Therapies for Lower Back Pain
We recognize the importance of a holistic approach to pain management and collaborate with our sister company, Shakthi Health and Wellness Center, to provide alternative therapies:
Seeking Professional Help for Lower Back Pain
When dealing with chronic lower back pain, seeking professional help from our pain management center can provide numerous advantages to help you regain control of your life. Our team of experts is dedicated to offering comprehensive care that addresses the root cause of your pain and provides lasting relief.
We are a dedicated pain management practice with board-certified doctors specializing in minimally invasive treatments for lower back pain and other chronic conditions.
Lower Back Pain is often caused by the following conditions.
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