Your Spine Health is Essential. Join Dr. Sebastian R. Herrera, MD, who specializes in neurological surgery and the minimally invasive treatment of brain and spine disorders, as he answers common back pain questions. Dr. Herrera is affiliated with Mischer Neurosciences – Houston’s leader in neurological care for both the brain and spine.
If your back pain lasts longer than 2 weeks, your pain is getting worse, your pain is preventing you from getting out of bed, or your pain is traveling down your legs or causing weakness or numbness in your legs, it’s time to see your primary care physician. If necessary, they can refer you to a specialist for further evaluation and treatment.
There are many surgical techniques to treat back pain, including minimally invasive procedures, such as microdiscectomy and fusion or disc replacement. Innovative nonsurgical techniques include spinal cord stimulators and pain blocks, which can enable patients to participate in physical therapy.
Back pain can be caused by several issues, including spine problems, such as fractures or tumors in the spine, disc problems or muscle pain resulting from tension or trauma. Back pain can also be caused by conditions of the kidney (kidney stones or cysts), gallbladder (gallstones) and colon.
Whether your chronic back pain can be cured or just managed depends on the underlying cause of the pain. This might be a disc issue, a fracture, an alignment problem or the result of years of wear and tear. Or it might be a combination of issues. For some, chronic pain may come and go, known as episodic pain. You can check yourself to see if certain movements cause your back pain. Knowing and better understanding this will help your physician tailor a treatment plan that’s right for you.
Patients tell us they prefer certain sleeping positions over others. Generally we don’t tell our patients how to sleep unless there is a fracture or a recent surgery. In fact, most of the time, sleeping is not the problem; it’s how a patient gets out of bed and how they twist when they’re getting out of bed. Patients are taught the proper way to get out of bed through physical therapy.
It is best to avoid exercises that involve bending, twisting and heavy lifting with the back. Jumping jacks, running and squats are not recommended, as those activities put pressure on the back, which can exacerbate back pain. Low-impact exercises, such as isometric exercises, planks or walking in the pool, are recommended. To minimize back strain, avoid standing or bending over to lift something with your back. Instead keep your back straight and bend your legs at the knees when lifting items.
Often, back pain can be relieved with conservative management, which is typically our first line of treatment. This spectrum of activities and treatment might include the use of medications, such as anti-inflammatories, stretching, physical therapy, chiropractic adjustment or injections.
For more information about neurological disorders we treat or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (713) 704-7100 or fill out the form below, and we will contact you.