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5 Common Back Injuries and How We Treat Them

Back injuries

80 percent of people suffer from back pain at some point in their lives. And that back pain results in 264 million lost workdays each year.

That’s a lot of pain holding people back from their daily responsibilities but your back pain doesn’t have to prevent you from living your life.

Read on to learn about the five most common back injuries and how we can help them.

1. Herniated Disc

A herniated disc, or a slipped disk, occurs when the central soft portion of your disk (the nucleus pulposus) leaks out of the outer ring of the disc (the annulus fibrosus). This most commonly occurs due to a tear in the outer ring.

Some people have no symptoms associated with a herniated disc, but others may suffer from back pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling.

The cause of a herniated disc is usually general wear and tear related to age. As you age, your spinal discs become less flexible, causing them to tear more easily.

There are a few conditions that make you more susceptible to a herniated disc. These include being overweight or having a physically demanding job.

How We Treat a Herniated Disc

When the pain prevents you from completing your normal daily activities, it’s time to consult a doctor.

Treating a herniated disc is usually as simple as a few days of bed rest and some over the counter medication. If you still experience pain after a few weeks, physical therapy and targeted exercises can help.

If your pain lasts longer than three months, you may require surgery to repair the damage.

2. Spinal Stenosis

Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of the spaces in your spinal canal. This narrowing puts extra pressure on the nerves that run through your spine.

This condition occurs most frequently in the lower back or near your neck, but it can occur in any region of the spine. Symptoms include numbness, weakness, balance problems, and incontinence.

Spinal stenosis is often caused by normal wear and tear, most often associated with osteoarthritis.

The number one risk factor for spinal stenosis is age, this condition is most prevalent in people over 50. Trauma also puts you at a higher risk.

How We Treat Spinal Stenosis

Most cases of spinal stenosis can be treated with physical therapy and over the counter medication.

If your pain lasts longer than three weeks, we suggest epidural steroid injections. These injections target the specific area that is causing you pain.

If your pain doesn’t lessen after injections, surgery is your next step.

3. Degenerative Disc Disease

Degenerative Disc Disease is one of the most common back injuries. It is most often described as chronic pain that can affect any region of your spine. Over time, your discs lose hydration, causing less padding to exist between discs.

If you suffer from degenerative disc disease, you might feel a variety of symptoms. The pain can be sharp or dull, radiating or locational and is often worse when you are sitting, bending, or laying down. Changing positions or walking results in less pain.

This is most commonly attributed to aging. But any trauma, such as a car accident or injuries, can also be a cause.

How We Treat Degenerative Disc Disease

During the beginning phases of degenerative disc disease, physical therapy and awareness of movements can help resolve your pain. Medication and epidural shots can help when the pain becomes severe.

If the symptoms continue without relief from conservative care, surgery may be necessary. Surgery can include removal of excess bone or ligaments. A disc replacement may occur if severe degeneration has occurred.

In the most severe cases, you may need a spinal fusion to prevent further damage.

4. Osteophytes

Osteophytes or bone spurs grow slowly and cause pain if they restrict your movement.

Symptoms include pain in your lower neck or back that spreads to the closest limb. You’ll feel pain or stiffness after a long day or a lot of physical activity. Osteophytes can also affect other areas, such as your hips or knees.

Most commonly, osteophytes are caused by an existing back injury, such as spinal stenosis or degenerative disc disease. The presence of osteophytes can help doctors find the source of your pain.

How We Treat Osteophytes

Treatment first includes medication, physical therapy, and injections.

If your symptoms persist, your doctor may recommend surgery. The most common surgery for osteophytes is laminectomy, which creates space in your spinal canal to relieve pressure. This is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure with high success rates and a quick recovery.

5. Spondylosis

Spondylosis is a term for back pain caused by aging and wear and tear and is a general term often used to describe and include other back injuries, such as osteoarthritis.

It occurs when your spine’s discs break down, lose fluid, and then stiffen. Spondylosis is most commonly seen in elderly patients, but patients who are overweight or have previous back injuries are also at risk.

Symptoms of spondylosis include general pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling. These symptoms can affect your back, neck, or joints.

How We Treat Spondylosis

Spondylosis is commonly treated through physical therapy and restricting movement.

If pain continues after a month, your doctor may recommend epidural steroid injections or a back brace. Surgery to treat spondylosis is uncommon and limited to severe cases.

Get Relief From Your Back Injuries

If any of these back injuries sound familiar, let the team at Comprehensive Spine Institute help you.

CSI uses a comprehensive approach to treat the whole body and resolve the source of your pain. We’ve performed thousands of procedures and have decades years of experience between our team of four doctors.

Our brand new, on-site surgery center in Clearwater, Florida provides convenient and state-of-the-art care.

Stop suffering. Contact us today to make an appointment and feel better tomorrow.

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