Effective non-surgical spine care pinpoints the source of a patient's pain. The orthopedic physician reviews the patient's history, performs a physical examination and studies information from diagnostic tests such as X-rays, CT-scans, MRIs, bone scans and nerve conduction studies. Then he or she outlines a treatment plan which may include education, physical therapy, medications, and interventional treatments. At Doylestown Hospital, patients can work with pain and imaging specialists and physical therapists to treat acute and debilitating pain.
Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is one of the most common patient complaints in the United States. An estimated eight out of 10 adults experience back pain at some point in their lives, and it is the one of the most expensive causes of work-related disability. It's also the third most expensive medical condition in terms of healthcare dollars spent, surpassed only by cancer and heart disease.
Age-related degenerative disc and facet disease and muscle- or ligament-related injuries are the most common causes of back pain. The discs act as shock absorbers for the spine. The facet joints are responsible for movement of the spine. And the muscles and ligaments function to help move and stabilize the spine.
Arthritis and degeneration make these structures more susceptible to injury and inflammation. The discs can tear or herniate and the facet joints, along with the muscle and ligaments, can be strained. It is the inflammatory response to these injuries that is usually responsible for pain. Osteoporosis-related vertebral compression fractures are also a significant cause of back pain. Both men and women develop osteoporosis, but it typically appears 5 to 10 years later in men than in women.
Types of Treatment
Orthopedic pain is treated beginning with the least invasive and less potent measures first. These may include physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and medications. If these basic approaches don't work, then interventional treatments should be considered.