Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people see their doctors. The spine comprises a series of vertebrae and discs that enable movement while also protecting the spinal cord. The back has various muscles that support the spine.
For diagnostic and treatment purposes, the spine is divided into the cervical region (neck area), thoracic region (mid-back), and lumbar region (lower back). It is very complex, so there are many possible reasons why you are feeling back pain.
How Can a Doctor Fix My Back Pain?
An orthopedic specialist determines what’s wrong and treats the pain by taking the following steps:
Evaluating Your Back Pain
Providing useful information to your doctor will help them with the diagnosis. An accurate diagnosis is essential to effective treatment.
Your doctor will ask you questions about your back pain and when it became worse, such as the following:
- When did your back pain start?
- Were you exercising, playing sports, working, or engaged in other physical activities prior to your back hurting?
- When is the back pain at its worst?
- Does it interfere with sleep?
- Describe the pain: Is it dull, sharp, or throbbing?
- Is the pain intermittent or constant?
- On a scale from 1 to 10, with 10 being the worst, how bad is it?
- Do you have other symptoms such as stiffness, weakness, numbness, or tingling?
- What at-home treatment methods have you tried?
Conducting a Physical Examination
During the physical exam, the doctor will likely palpate the part of the back where it hurts. The physician may also check how you sit, stand, and walk, and ask you to move until the pain begins to bother you. After the examination, if your doctor has reason to suspect that you may have a particular condition, they may ask that you undergo an imaging test.
Ordering Diagnostic Imaging
The doctor may request that you undergo one or more imaging tests, such as an X-ray – which will reveal any damage to the bones, such as arthritis. The physician may also order an MRI, which will reveal any issues with the spinal cord, nerves, and discs. An MRI can show a pinched nerve or a damaged disc. Plus, the doctor may request an electromyography (EMG) test, which can confirm nerve compression, or a bone scan to look for hairline vertebral fractures and vulnerable areas.
Treating Back Pain
Treatment for your back pain will be based on the doctor’s evaluation and the results of diagnostic testing. There are a variety of procedures used to address problems in the back and spine, and a reputable doctor will try noninvasive or minimally invasive methods first.
From least-invasive to invasive, the main treatments for back pain include the following:
- Physical therapy
- Wearing a brace
- Pain-relief injections
Best Orthopedic Surgeon in West Jersey
If you are suffering from back pain, have our orthopedic specialists at Orthopedic Associates of West Jersey examine your condition and provide treatment that works. To schedule a consultation with an outstanding orthopedic surgeon here in Dover, New Jersey, call our friendly staff at (973) 989-0888 or fill out our convenient online form to request an appointment. We look forward to helping you find pain relief once and for all!