Here’s some great news: Back pain – even lower back pain – often goes away on its own in a few days or weeks. Home remedies and rest may be enough to heal you. But if the pain doesn’t go away or you’re not able to do simple movements, it’s time for expert help.
Our multidisciplinary team of physicians specializes in general back and neck pain, lower back pain, spine pain, muscle strains, herniated discs or slipped discs, bulging discs, sciatica, sciatic nerve pain, lumbar stenosis, spinal fractures, spinal tumors and many other back and spine-related conditions.
Your back pain treatment options might include:
Nonsurgical Treatment Options
- Spine physiatry – Spine physiatrists are nonsurgical spine physicians trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation. They have extra training in the diagnosis and treatment of back and spine-related conditions. For some patients, spine physiatry may involve receiving precise spinal injections that are administered under X-ray guidance.
- Pain management – Medication and other pain relieving therapies can improve your quality of life by allowing you to stay active. Through our program, you’ll be connected with specially trained non-interventional pain management physicians and specialists.
- Diagnostic services (imaging, lab)
- Rehabilitation, including:
- Physical therapy
- Spine physical therapy – Spine physical therapists have special training in spine-related conditions. They can help you reduce your pain and recover lost function through assessment, exercise, and education.
- Occupational therapy
- Work specialty therapy ergonomics
- Functional capacity evaluation
- Integrative medicine
- Acupuncture originated in ancient China and is rooted in the biophysical model of health care. At Aurora, our certified acupuncturists insert very fine needles into skin to stimulate the body’s natural healing response, which can help alleviate distressing physical, emotional and mental symptoms associated with back pain. Dry needling is a similar process that takes a biomedical approach, in which physical therapists use acupuncture needles to alleviate the physical symptoms of back pain.
- Chiropractic – Chiropractors with specialized training in spine manipulation can tailor your treatment to your specific spinal condition, helping to reduce or eliminate back pain altogether.
- Craniosacral therapy – This touch-based therapy is used to heal and enhance the craniosacral system, which consists of the membranes and fluid that surround the brain and spine.
- Massage therapy – Massage can alleviate back pain by decreasing stress and muscle tightness and increasing blood flow to the affected area.
- Behavioral health – Because the mind and body are intrinsically linked, mental and emotional stress can trigger physical back problems. Working with a behavioral health and pain psychologist to improve your emotional and mental state can often relieve back pain.
- Interventional pain – When less invasive options aren’t helping, X-ray guided spinal injections given by pain fellowship-trained anesthesiologists can help with chronic spinal pain. For instance, an epidural injection is one type of spinal injection that may provide relief from chronic pain.
- Community-based services, including:
- Tai chi
- Support groups
Surgical Treatment Options
- Spine Surgery
- Microdiscectomy: A minimally invasive surgery in which a surgeon makes a small window in your bone (lamina) to remove the herniated disc causing pressure on a spinal nerve. Removing the damaged portion of the disc helps you feel better.
- Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion: Surgery performed through the front of the neck (anterior) to remove a damaged disc and bone spurs in the neck. After the disc is removed, a spacer is inserted to increase room for your nerves. The bones above and below are fused together with a graft and linked with plates screwed into the bones.
- Laminectomy: A surgical procedure to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. We remove the lamina – a part of the vertebrae – to create more space in the spinal canal. Since this surgery may make the spine less stable, a spinal fusion may be performed at the same time.
- Lumbar Spinal Fusion: Surgery to fuse, or connect, vertebrae in the lower back that are causing pain. The damaged disc between vertebrae is removed and the vertebrae above and below it are fused together for stability.
- Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MISS): Surgery designed to minimize injury to the normal tissue around the spine to allow for faster healing times, reduction in scar tissue and less pain after surgery. There are many types of MISS. Often smaller incisions are made and smaller instruments are used – leading to smaller scars.
- Kyphoplasty: For patients who have suffered a compression fracture, this minimally invasive procedure guided by X-rays can be used to help relieve pain. A balloon is inflated to restore some of the height lost with the fracture. Then the doctor injects bone cement to stabilize vertebrae.
- Vertebroplasty: Surgery where your doctor injects a medical-grade substance called bone cement to stabilize a fractured vertebra. This is designed to help relieve pain from the fracture.
- Robotic Spine Surgery: Surgery that uses robotic assistance to help a surgeon see areas of the spine. A robotically driven arm helps the surgeon precisely place screws into the spine for a fusion procedure.
- CyberKnife®: Innovative treatment that uses highly focused beams of radiation to target cancer cells with pinpoint accuracy while sparing nearby healthy tissue. CyberKnife® can also precisely track moving targets, such as areas in the chest and abdomen that move when you breathe. It can be used to treat lung cancer as well as cancers of the brain, liver, pancreas, spine and pelvis.