Diagnosing and Treating Lower Back Pain

The lower portion of your back, also known as the lumbar portion of your spine, is one of the most commonly injured parts of your body, and for good reason. Aside from being tasked with providing support and stability to your spine, your lower back is also home to a network of spinal structures and nerves that can become damaged or injured. Below, we take a closer look at some of the more common injuries to the lower back, and how to treat them.

Common Types of Lower Back Pain

Here’s a look at some of the most common lumbar spine problems that plague people of all ages:

Disc Problems – Whether you’re dealing with degenerative disc disease (a natural phenomenon as we age) or a bulging or herniated disc caused by stress, disc issues are common in the lumbar spine because stress is often channeled to this area when we sit or have poor body posture.

Pinched Nerves – As we alluded to above, there are a host of spinal nerves in your lumbar spine, and if they become impinged by a disc or due to inflammation, you may notice shooting pain sensations or numbness in the area.

Muscle Strains – Twisting and torquing your spine can also put a lot of stress on the muscle groups in the area, especially if you fail to adequately warm up before activities.

Facet Joint Dysfunction – Behind each spinal disc are two facet joints, and if they break down or become irritated, lumbar pain is sure to follow.

Spinal Stenosis – Spinal stenosis is categorized by the abnormal narrowing of your spinal canal, which then puts pressure on your spinal nerves. Stenosis can happen at any level of the spine.

Trauma/Fractures – Another common way that people injure their lower back is through trauma. Whether they fall off a ladder, suffer a contusion during sports or suffer a high-energy injury during a car accident, trauma to the lumbar spine can lead to bruise, fractures or spinal cord injuries.

Treating Lower Back Pain

The key to treating lumbar spine pain begins with an accurate diagnosis, because if you don’t know what you’re dealing with, you might not treat the underlying cause of pain. Dr. Chang has provided countless patients with an accurate diagnosis, and he can do the same for you. From conducting a physical exam, asking questions about your symptoms and medical history, to confirming his suspicions with imaging tests, Dr. Chang has numerous ways to pinpoint the source of your spine pain.

Treatment varies depending on the condition you are dealing with, but in the vast majority of cases, we prescribe a combination of conservative care treatments before progressing to a potential operation. Common non-operative treatments include rest, ice/heat, anti-inflammatories, stretching exercises, physical therapy and corticosteroid injections.

If six weeks of non-operative methods fail to produce results, Dr. Chang can walk you through your surgical options. He’ll be able to explain the procedure, chart your rehab and he’ll be with you every step of the way to ensure your experience is positive.

To learn more about treating lower back pain, reach out to Dr. Chang’s clinic today.

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