Virtually everyone has experienced some form of back pain at one time or another during the course of their lives. Whether from a simple pulled muscle, sports injury or more serious traumatic incident to the back, back pain is a reality for many Americans. Symptoms can range from an intense, localized searing or stabbing pain to chronic irritation and discomfort that affect an individual’s ability to enjoy the daily activities of life. Some people only experience pain when their back is placed under strain or stress, such as while lifting a heavy object or engaging in a new type of physical activity. Others have come to accept moderate back pain as a part of their daily lives. It’s important for patients to understand a number of treatments are available to relieve back pain.
The answer varies from one person to the next, although a good rule of thumb is that individuals should seek medical attention any time that back pain interferes with their enjoyment of normal daily life. If back pain is the result of a sports injury or other source of trauma to the back, it’s always a good idea to have a medical professional perform a thorough evaluation of the spine and surrounding muscle structures. Patients who experience sensations of weakness, tingling or numbness in their arms, legs or groin should also make an appointment to see a professional. The same is true for pain that is accompanied by a fever or trouble urinating.
Physiatrists are medical professionals who are highly trained in diagnosing and treating back pain. Treatment options range from the most current physical therapy techniques to a number of injections that are customized to address specific issues within the spine. Some patients respond well to spinal cord stimulation, which uses carefully controlled volumes of electricity to stimulate areas of the spinal cord that have been subjected to injury or damage. Epidural steroid injections are yet another treatment option available to patients at the Sports and Spine Institute.