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Spinal Pain – What are the Treatment Options?

Heavy physical work, poor posture, and repetitive activities are the main causes of spinal pain. The article discusses treatment modalities for the condition.

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Severe pain in the spinal area affects functional capabilities, hinders ability to work, and affects quality of life. Spinal pain in the lumbar region (lower back) and cervical region (neck) is a common concern. Muscle strain and spasm are the major causes of spinal pain. Heavy physical work, poor posture, bending and twisting, lifting, and repetitive work are the risk factors for spine injuries. Leading pain management centers in Brooklyn, NYC offer specialized treatment for spinal pain using various modalities.

The spine is made up of 33 vertebrae, discs, spinal cord and nerves, ligaments, and muscles. The spinal column is divided into four regions – cervical (neck area), thoracic (upper and mid back area), lumbar (low back area) and sacral (tailbone area). Spinal pain can occur due to heavy physical work, sports injuries and falls, awkward bending or twisting, and poor posture. It can also occur due to medical conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, spinal stenosis, whiplash, herniated disc, scoliosis, and sciatica.

Symptoms

Pain in the spinal region is more severe than pain in the rest of the body primarily because the spine houses major nerves that relay sensory impulses to the brain. Symptoms include –

  • Pain that persists for a maximum of 10-14 days
  • Weakness, slow reflexes
  • Unusual weight gain or loss
  • Stiffness in the low back area, restricting range of motion
  • Numbness and tingling sensation - “pins and needles”
  • Notable loss of motor function such as the ability to tiptoe or heel walk
  • Muscle spasms either with activity or at rest
  • Inability to maintain normal posture due to stiffness and/or pain
  • Fever, chills and sweating
  • Dizziness and headaches
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Bowel or bladder problems
  • Diagnosing and Treating Spinal Pain


If your pain has been present for more than 2 weeks and has not improved as expected, it is important to consult your physician. The first step in diagnosing the condition is a physical examination. The physician will assess your range of motion, areas of tenderness and reflexes and motor skills. Imaging studies such as x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and CT scan may be performed to pinpoint the exact cause of your signs and symptoms. In addition, a bone density scan may be done to check for damage or growths in your spine. Spinal pain management in Brooklyn based healthcare centers comprises a variety of non-surgical treatment methods such as physical therapy, spinal decompression therapy, epidural steroid injections, Game Ready cold therapy system and NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs).

Physical therapy (PT) – Physical therapy includes exercise programs to promote healing, relieve pain, build strength and mobility, and enhance joint function and range of motion. Strengthening, stretching and range-of-motion exercises help strengthen the muscles, and reduce pain and discomfort.

Epidural Steroid Injections – Steroid medications (corticosteroid) injected into the epidural space (the area that surrounds the nerve roots within the spinal canal) will reduce inflammation and acute pain.

Non -steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – Pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), naproxen (Aleve, others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) can ease spinal pain temporarily. In addition, Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline and anti-seizure drugs, such as gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica) are used to reduce pain caused by damaged nerves.

Spinal decompression therapy – This is a nonsurgical traction based treatment that helps relieve pain caused by spinal cord compression. The FDA-cleared treatment works via motorized traction which cycles through various stages of relaxation and distraction, reducing intradiscal pressure and relieving back pain.

Game Ready Cold Therapy System – The Game Ready computer-controlled system combines active compression and cold therapy to relieve pain and swelling, while increasing blood flow and delivering oxygen to the spinal area for faster healing.

Early treatment can minimize damage to the nervous system and restore proper body function. Chronic pain can be difficult to treat. Maintaining a healthy body weight, exercising regularly, ensuring proper posture, quitting smoking, using correct lifting / moving techniques and avoiding activities that strain the back can help prevent this spinal pain in the long run.

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