Are you forced to miss days of work or the joy of social activities because of back pain? If so, you're not alone. An estimated 31 million Americans are right there with you. The good news is, treatment is available — and it doesn't have to require surgery.
Here at Alate Health in Houston, Texas, Dr. Andrew Doe and our highly trained team offer state-of-the-art interventional radiology care for men and women. Whether your issue involves your veins, fibroids, or pain in another location like your back, we perform minimally invasive procedures that are safer and less painful than traditional surgery. Read on for more information on back pain and how we treat it non-surgically.
Back pain: The #1 cause of disability
With its complicated system of bones, joints, muscles, and ligaments, it's no wonder that back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Discomfort is typically the result of either an injury or the normal wear-and-tear of aging, which lead to inflammation and/or the compression of nerves. Common conditions that cause back pain include a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, sciatica, pinched nerves, and vertebral fractures.
Diagnosis of back pain
In order to determine what is causing your pain, we conduct a thorough medical examination to figure out where the discomfort is coming from and assess your level of mobility in the affected area. Depending on the results, we may order an X-ray, an MRI, CT scan, bone scan, or electromyography (EMG) for additional data to inform your diagnosis.
Treatment options for back pain
Often over-the-counter pain relievers, along with the use of heat, provide relief until the back pain resolves itself within a few weeks. Other people may need stronger medications, like muscle relaxants, narcotics, and antidepressants, as well as physical therapy.
However, if these treatments do not help your back pain, you may need something more. In our Pain Center, we provide relief by reducing inflammation at the source. We accomplish this with injections made possible by imaging guidance, as well as our 30-plus years of collective experience.
Here are three types of injections that can reduce back pain:
Epidural steroid injection
This procedure involves injecting steroids into the area between the bones of the spine and the protective covering of the spinal nerves, known as the epidural space. It reduces inflammation around the nerves and can help with pain in the back as well as the neck, arms, and legs.
Selective nerve root block
Like an epidural, a selective nerve root block involves injecting steroids to decrease inflammation. In this procedure, however, the injection is done where the nerve leaves the spine. This treatment tends to work better if the pain is localized more to one side.
These procedures are performed on individuals with vertebral compression fractures, which can cause pain and lead to a decrease in height. During kyphoplasty, a cavity is created inside the injured bone and filled with cement to maintain the person's original height. Cement is injected into the fractured bone during vertebroplasty to provide pain relief.
If you're tired of back pain impacting your life, call us today to make an appointment with Dr. Doe and find out if an injection is right for you.