Clearwater Back Pain Doctor
If your back hurts, you are not alone. Back pain is one of the leading causes of worker absenteeism, and economic losses from back pain run into the billions annually. With an aching back, you are not thinking about statistics, but about feeling better and returning to normal activities.
If your back pain does not resolve within a few days, or results from an accident, contact a Clearwater back pain doctor for diagnosis and treatment. A skilled doctor can help explain all available treatment options after your consultation.
The spine consists of three major sections. These are:
- Cervical – connecting the spine to the neck, the cervical spine consists of seven vertebrae
- Thoracic – the mid-spine consists of 12 vertebrae and attaches to the rib cage. It is the least likely source of back pain
- Lumbar – the lower spine has five vertebrae. Lumbar issues are the most common sources of back pain, although most of the pain is muscular in origin
Beneath the lumbar spine is the sacrum, which connects the spine to the pelvis and lower part of the body. The sacrum has five vertebrae. The lowest part of the spine, the tailbone, or coccyx, has four vertebrae.
In between the vertebrae are disks, which act as shock absorbers. The 23 disks consist of a soft, jelly-like interior and a tougher outer shell. Cushioning is not their only purpose. Disks help hold the spine together. They are also significant causes of back pain when they degenerate or herniate.
Degenerative disk disease most often occurs in older people. While almost everyone will experience degeneration in their disks, not everyone will suffer pain. Degenerative disk disease can contribute to other spinal conditions, including osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis – a narrowing of the spinal canal – and spondylolisthesis, the result of a vertebra slipping on top of the one beneath it.
A herniated disk occurs when the gel-like interior protrudes through the outer wall, irritating nearby nerves. It is also known as a ruptured disk, slipped disk or bulging disc. Another term is “pinched nerve,” since it is the nerve disturbance causing the pain.
How a Clearwater Back Pain Doctor Can Help
The first step in treating back pain is an accurate diagnosis. The doctor performs a physical examination, and receives a medical history from the patient. Knowing the sort of pain experienced, what exacerbates the pain and particularly painful activities are all part of the diagnostic process.
If the back pain doctor in Clearwater suspects that more than muscle strain is involved, diagnostic tests are performed. These include:
- CT scans
Many patients respond well to conservative treatment, including back exercises, massage and over-the-counter pain relief, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If the back pain does not improve within a few weeks, further testing and/or stronger pain relief is necessary.
Even issues like herniated disks may resolve without surgery. If surgery is needed, many back conditions respond to minimally invasive procedures, which require less downtime for the patient. Other issues may respond to stronger pain relief measures, such as steroid injections into the affected area. In some situations, standard back surgery is the best option for recovery.
Contacting a Clearwater Back Pain Doctor
If you suffer from back pain, call a Clearwater back pain doctor and schedule an appointment for an examination. Their aim is to make you as comfortable as possible and once again able to participate in your normal activities.