27 Apr From Pain to Relief: How We Treat Back and Neck Pain
If back and neck pain is something you struggle with, you already know that it can lead to many bad days where the pain keeps you from working, socializing, or having fun. According to a research study, between 60% and 80% of adults will endure back pain and 20% to 70% will go through neck pain at some point in their lives.
Spine specialists, from orthopedic surgeons to pain management doctors, can help you get control over your back and neck pain by identifying the source and treating the cause with the least invasive approach possible.
Schedule an appointment with our spine specialist in New York to start on the path to managing your pain.
What Causes Neck and Back Pain?
Spine specialists aim to locate the exact cause of your neck and back pain, which could be an injury, age-related changes, poor posture, or an underlying medical condition.
We list some of the most common causes of neck and back pain below.
Injuries Associated with Neck and Back Pain
- Muscle strain or sprain
- Spine injury
- Muscle or ligament tears
Conditions Associated with Neck and Back Pain
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated disc
Symptoms of Back and Neck Pain
When you have back and neck pain, you probably experience common symptoms like dull, burning pain, stiffness, aching, numbness, or tingling.
In some cases, such as minor injuries, your neck, and back pain symptoms can clear up with a little at-home treatment. However, it’s crucial to let your doctor know about any severe symptoms you might have, such as the following:
Severe Symptoms to Tell Your Doctor About
- Worsening pain when walking, standing, lifting, or bending
- Radiating or shooting pain in the neck, back, arms, or legs
- Neck or back pain with a fever or headache
- Pain after a fall
- Numbness or tingling in the arms or legs
- Loss of bladder and bowel control
Locating the Source of Neck and Back Pain
A spine specialist has several ways to pinpoint the source of your pain, including the following:
Your doctor will likely do a physical exam, checking your spine and pressing in certain areas to see if it causes pain. They might also ask you to move or bend in different ways to test specific areas of your neck and back.
In order to narrow down the possibilities for what’s causing your pain, your physician will take into account a number of personal factors, such as your medical history, age, genetics, overall health, and occupation.
One of the ways doctors can diagnose spinal conditions and locate sources of pain or discomfort is by taking a peek inside your body with imaging tests, such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), or computed tomography (CT) scans, to look at your bones and the surrounding tissues.
How We Treat Neck and Back Pain
The goal of spinal specialists is to provide relief from neck and back pain symptoms with the least invasive treatment possible. Therefore, surgery is usually the last option when the more conservative treatments aren’t cutting it.
Spinal specialists typically take one of the following approaches when treating neck and back pain:
To help reduce your neck and back pain symptoms, a physical therapist can guide you through various exercises with the goals of doing the following:
- Increase your range of motion
- Strengthen your neck and back muscles
- Relieve pain
- Prevent pain from returning
If you’re one of the 23% of adults who suffer from chronic pain in their lower back or have other ongoing conditions causing pain, your doctor might suggest steroid or cortisone injections to relieve pain and inflammation. The therapeutic effects of these shots can last several months.
U.S. surgeons perform around 500,000 lower back surgeries every year, and 20% of surgery patients experience persistent post-surgical pain (PPSP). Due to the risks, we only recommend spinal surgery when it’s essential for improving your quality of life.
Post-surgery, your spinal specialists will ensure you get ongoing treatment, including pain management and physical therapy, so you can heal as quickly as possible and avoid recurring pain.
In certain situations, such as if you have strained muscles in your neck or back, you can find relief by treating your pain at home. A few types of self-care for neck and back pain include:
- If you feel pain, take a rest and let your muscles relax
- Use ice to relieve pain and slow swelling and inflammation
- After ice, use heat to increase blood flow and relax muscles
- Take over-the-counter pain medicine, such as ibuprofen or aspirin
Meet with an Experienced Neck and Back Pain Doctor in New York
At New York Spine Specialist, we provide interventional treatment for spinal issues, including back and neck pain. We’ll work with you to understand your symptoms, needs, and medical history so we can deliver an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan that gets your pain under control with as little intrusion as possible.
You can browse our website to learn more about our pain management for back pain and other treatments to help you achieve a better quality of life.
Our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection).
When should I worry about neck and back pain?
You should contact your doctor if you have neck and back pain and experience numbness, tingling, worsening pain, lack of bladder control, weakness, unexpected weight loss, or fever.
How do you relieve neck and back pain?
If you have neck and back pain, you can try to get relief by resting, alternating ice and heat packs, taking over-the-counter pain medicine, and massaging your muscles.
What does it mean if your neck and back hurt?
Common causes of back and neck pain include overuse, injury, age-related degeneration, poor muscle tone, and muscle strain.