Although often caused by a specific condition or injury, the general ailment of back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical attention in the United States. Back pain can manifest in many ways, and determining its specific cause is essential to helping patients find relief. Back pain affects up to 80% of people at one point or another in their lives. It can either be acute and come on suddenly or chronic and last for months or years. If you experience back pain that does not resolve after a few days, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with an orthopaedic spine specialist at OrthoGeorgia. Proper treatment for back pain depends on its cause, so working with one of our physicians will ensure that you can take the right next steps for your health and find relief from your pain. Learn more below about back pain, how it affects those of all ages in the U.S., and how we treat this common complaint at our orthopaedic centers in Central GA.
What are the Symptoms and Causes of Back Pain?
Back pain symptoms can vary widely depending on the underlying condition or injury. Patients often experience shooting, burning, or stabbing pain in the back that may radiate into the legs. Pain may be constant or come and go. Some patients notice that pain increases when performing certain activities, such as lifting or bending, while others note that their pain is worse when sitting or resting. In some cases, patients report feeling stiff in the morning, with the pain lessening as the day goes on. Other symptoms and complications, including numbness or weakness in the legs, fever, or unexplained weight loss, can accompany back pain. Countless conditions and injuries can cause back pain, not all of them being orthopaedic. Some of the many ailments that can result in back pain include:
Sprains or strains
Degenerative disc disease (such as arthritis or spinal stenosis)
Scoliosis or congenital spine issues
Ankylosing spondylitis (inflammatory arthritis of the spine)
Spine or back tumors
Determining the Cause of Your Back Pain at OrthoGeorgia
As the causes of back pain vary, several different steps may be taken at OrthoGeorgia to help our team members determine what exactly is causing your pain. To start, your spine specialist will examine your back and assess your ability to perform normal movements. They will ask about your daily pain levels and how the pain affects you, along with discussing your medical history and any conditions you may be aware of that could be causing your pain. The exact cause of back pain is often pinpointed using imaging tests. X-rays are used to identify broken bones or arthritis, while MRI and CT scans are ideal for revealing issues with the muscles, tissues, and tendons, along with herniated discs. If an infectious cause is suspected, blood tests may be ordered. Your doctor will tell you the reasoning behind all testing decisions made during your diagnostic process. At OrthoGeorgia, we are proud to provide state-of-the-art digital imaging services at our locations throughout Central GA. Patients can access digital x-rays at all of our locations, with MRI scanners in Macon and Warner Robins and CT scans in Macon. Our registered radiologic technologists prioritize patient comfort every step of the way.
Back Pain Treatment in Central Georgia
Treatment for back pain varies widely depending on its cause; many cases of back pain improve over time with home treatment and rest. Additional treatments or therapies may be recommended for those with pain that does not improve on its own. Your doctor may recommend medications such as over-the-counter pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medications, or muscle relaxants to help with pain relief. Treatment often extends beyond medication, with many options available.
Nonsurgical Treatment for Back Pain
There are a wide variety of nonsurgical treatment options for back pain. Applying cold and heat to the back can help to increase blood flow and promote healing, while healthy habits like exercise, regular sleep, and a healthy diet can also help relieve pain. Another common nonsurgical treatment option for general back pain is physical therapy. Physical therapy for back pain is focused on strengthening the muscles that support the back and improving mobility, posture, and positioning. Physical therapy plans at OrthoGeorgia are personalized for each patient and are supported by state-of-the-art equipment. Your physical therapist can also provide insights into how to lessen back pain during a flare-up and how to make regular movements more comfortable. Patients have access to physical therapy services at our locations in Macon (Buildings A and B), Warner Robins, and Kathleen.
Surgical Treatment for Back Pain
Just like nonsurgical treatment options, surgery for back pain depends on the cause of the pain and the specific patient’s needs. Several surgical procedures can be used to treat back pain and its associated causes. Some orthopaedic examples include laminectomy, discectomy, microdiscectomy, spinal fusion, and disc replacement surgery, all of which are utilized to address various causes of back pain. In general, though, surgery is not often needed for back pain. Some painful conditions, such as a herniated disc, are more likely to require surgery than others. This is especially true when a condition like a herniated disc causes nerve compression and, in turn, muscle weakness. If your spine specialist at OrthoGeorgia believes that you may benefit from spine surgery, we will ensure that your options are clear and that any questions you have are answered. Our surgery centers in Macon, GA have been designed to provide our patients with first-class surgical care supported by the latest technological advances in surgical equipment. OrthoGeorgia’s Ambulatory Surgery Centers are Licensed by the State of Georgia, Certified by Medicare, and Accredited by the Accreditation by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC).
Other Spine and Back Conditions We Treat at OrthoGeorgia
At OrthoGeorgia, our orthopaedic spine specialists work with patients of all ages to identify and address all manner of spine, back, and neck conditions and injuries. Back pain is a common complication of many of the spine issues listed below, and no matter the cause of your pain, our team will work to help you find relief. Neck and back conditions we treat at OrthoGeorgia include: