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The Spine

One of the most common chronic painful conditions that people suffer from is pain of the neck or back. Musculoskeletal pain of the neck can also cause referred pain to areas of the head or shoulder. Back pain frequently refers to the flank, buttock or thigh. If a nerve root is involved, the pain may radiate all the way to the hand or foot. Sometimes, low back pain may originate in the sacroiliac joint. This is a large joint between the tail bone (sacrum) and hip bone (ilium) bound by a very thick ligament that may become strained or inflamed. Sacroiliac injury can mimic sciatica in its radiation to the leg.

Image result for spine painThe treatment of musculoskeletal pain of the neck and back begins with physical therapy to correct the mechanical problems that initially caused the pain. This may be supplemented with anti-inflammatories, topical medications, chiropractic, massage, acupuncture and other alternative therapies. Some prescription medications in the class of antiepileptic or antidepressant drugs may be useful for nerve pain. Behavioral therapies may also be recommended for helping patients cope with the psychosocial burdens of chronic pain.

For persistent pain of the spine there are interventional therapies which may be useful. An epidural injection of steroid can calm an inflamed nerve root and accelerate healing of a compressed nerve. The sensory nerves of the spinal joints themselves can be numbed on a long-lasting basis using electrical energy, provided a patient obtains temporary relief from a local anesthetic on those nerves. There are some individuals with extensive disease or significant disc herniations who could require surgery. There are highly effective therapies for pain of the spine, with or without nerve root injury, that block pain signals from getting to the brain by creating an electrical field in the epidural space with an implanted electrode and battery system.

Please use one of the options to the right to learn more about these modalities.