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Category: From the Doc

When to See a Doctor for Back Pain

When to see a doctor for back pain

By Justin Field, M.D.

For many people, back pain feels like a normal part of life. It’s estimated that 75% to 85% of Americans experience back pain at some point. Back pain appears in different forms, ranging from a dull ache to shooting pain. Most back pain occurs in the lower back, known as the lumbar region. Half of patients with low back pain episodes will experience recurrent episodes in a year.

While most back pain resolves on its own and isn’t a sign of something serious, it should be looked at by a doctor in some cases. Your back consists of a spine, muscles, tendons and nerves, so it can be hard to figure what’s causing the pain on your own. If you don’t know what’s causing the pain, you won’t know how to treat it.

By going to a doctor for back pain, you can take steps toward feeling better again. A doctor who specializes in spinal conditions can determine the cause of your pain and initiate an effective treatment. They can also treat a condition that might otherwise get worse with time.

So, how do you know when you should see a doctor about lower back pain? Let’s look at common causes of back pain and symptoms that call for a professional examination.

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Back Pain Management During Pregnancy

By Joshua Abrams, DO

Pregnancy can be one of the most joyful experiences, but it can also come with aches and pains. Lower back pain, in particular, is a common part of pregnancy for many women. For example, according to a review, over two-thirds of women experience lower back pain during pregnancy. Pregnant women may also experience pain close to the back’s center or at the tailbone.

Fortunately, pregnancy-related back pain typically gets better after childbirth. In the meantime, you can do many things to give yourself a break from an achy back. This post shows you how to manage back pain while pregnant with tips for preventing and reducing discomfort.

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7 Tips for Relieving Headaches Caused by Neck Pain

7 Tips for Relieving Headaches Caused by Neck Pain

By Mark Wang, MD

You know the signs of a headache, such as a dull ache or a feeling of tightness creeping up your neck and across your forehead. Headaches are among the most commonly occurring ailments in the world. More than half of all women report having tension headaches at some point, and one-third of all men report the same. In the U.S., 20% of women and 10% of men said they had a severe headache at some point in the past three months. Multiple factors can trigger a headache, depending on the type. In some cases, a headache is due to neck pain.

Learn more about the connection between pain in the neck and headaches below and what to do for headaches caused by neck pain.

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Modern Advances in Minimally Invasive Microscopic Laminectomy

Laminectomy

By Nima Salari, MD

Lumbar laminectomy surgery is one of the most common decompressive spine surgeries performed daily in operating rooms across the world. However, not every laminectomy surgery is performed the same way by each surgeon. There are various developing techniques that we spine surgeons use to treat patients who suffer from back and leg pain. In my practice, I have listened countless times to how life-altering this pain can be on their work and active lifestyle. In the lower back, (lumbar spine) the spinal cord or dura within the spinal canal can become compressed causing significant pain. This is often referred to as spinal stenosis.

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Tips for Caregivers

Image from 'Baby Blues' comic strip by Rick Kirkman

By Nima Salari, MD

When caring for a patient with neck or back pain, the caretaker faces emotional and at times physical challenges. It is difficult to watch a loved one experience pain symptoms. Many times being unsure of how to provide help can generate further anxiety about the situation. Know that as a caregiver you are not alone. In fact, statistically a broad majority of long term care for patients in the United States is provided by their family members. Know that you are appreciated and here are some tips to perhaps make the journey a bit lighter.

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Tips from a Spine Surgeon to Avoid Neck and Back Pain

Nima Salari, M.D., FAAOS - Desert Institute for Spine Care

By Nima Salari, MD

I have the privilege to see, evaluate, and treat patients from all walks of life. Despite the difference in sex, age, and every category imaginable, they all present with similar questions and concerns. Why do I hurt? What is the cause of the pain? How can I alleviate it? How can I prevent it?

I try to spend as much time with my patients to answer these questions. The reasons for the pain can be related to a multitude of sources. The treatments can vary just as much and we make every effort to customize our treatment plan to the individual patient.

Some answers remain universal, however. Those answers relate to steps patients can take on their own to either prevent neck and back pain or help improve their symptoms.

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7 DOs and DON’Ts After Spine Surgery

Becker's Spine Review

By Nima Salari, MD

Having surgery is a major step for any patient. Even with the shortest and simplest of surgeries, patients should follow instructions as discussed with their surgeon. This is a time to focus on healing and completing the plan set out with your care provider.

Every patient receives a packet with information about their planned surgery. I highly encourage you to look through the packet as it may answer many questions or raise others. Here is a list of DOs and DON’Ts to consider as you go through your recovery process.

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Preoperative Surgical Planning and Evaluation of Customized Instruments and Implants

By Nima Salari, MD

As surgeons we are always looking for ways to improve the care we provide. An often overlooked yet equally important factor are the steps taken prior to even setting foot in the operative suite. Pre-operative planning is a factor that was stressed heavily during residency and fellowship, but as technological improvements are made in the implants and instruments, seldom has anyone sought to improve the way in which pre-op planning is performed. As trends have shown, patients today want individualized care, customized implants, and concierge medicine.

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New guided approach to instrumented lumbar fusion evolved from earlier methods

Nima Salari, M.D., FAAOS - Desert Institute for Spine Care

By Nima Salari, MD

The recent introduction of 3-D-printed and patient-matched pedicle screw guides has modernized spine surgery planning and procedures. The process for this patient-matched approach provides for an efficient and effective technique that reduces radiation exposure and can save hospitals and health systems on expenditures for capital purchases, such as navigation systems or CT-scanning technology. In addition, surgeons are less reliant today on free-hand techniques than they once were.

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Physical Therapy and Improved Health

By Nima Salari, MD

Often patients ask me whether physical therapy is necessary before or after surgery. Although some conditions that cause severe debilitating pain may not respond to therapy right away, patients find a degree of relief in most cases. We typically do not exercise enough and when we do, many of us use poor form or do not do the correct exercises.

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