Consider this: around 80% of US adults deal with some form of lower back pain at some time, and 20% of people who have an acute problem in their lower back go on to develop chronic pain. Taking a broader view, disability due to back pain worldwide has grown by 54% between 1990 to 2015.
The reason we present these staggering statistics is to illustrate the fact that lower back pain is prevalent, but not without solutions.
Dr. Michael Ware Hennessy and the team of spine specialists here at Texas Spine Consultants have extensive experience helping our patients get back to full function on the heels of lower back pain.
To give you an idea of the many ways we approach lower back pain, here we take a look at some of the more common causes of lower back pain and your treatment options.
Behind lower back pain
Given that your lower back plays such a critical role in supporting your body and providing mobility and range of motion, it’s little wonder that lower back pain develops so often.
At the heart of your lower back is your lumbar spine, which is surrounded by supporting tissues, such as muscles and ligaments, which are primary sources of acute lower back pain (pain that lasts less than 12 weeks). For example, lower back muscle strain or ligament sprains top the list when it comes to acute, soft-tissue problems in your lower back.
Separating the five large vertebrae in your lumbar spine are intervertebral discs, which provide crucial cushioning and range of motion in this area. If there’s a problem in these discs, which largely stem from progressive issues like degenerative disc disease, it can lead to herniated or bulging discs. Making matters worse, lumbar disc issues can lead to both local and radiating pain (usually down one side of your lower extremities).
Other degenerative problems, like lumbar spinal stenosis, facet or sacroiliac joint dysfunction, and spinal osteoarthritis are also common causes of lower back pain.
Rounding out the list of common culprits when it comes to lower back pain is trauma to your lower back.
You do have options for lower back pain
If you’re struggling with lower back pain, our first order of business is to identify the source of the discomfort, which will dictate your treatment options to a large degree. To start, we review your symptoms and then turn to advanced imaging to get a closer look at the structures inside your lower back.
Whatever we find, our goal is to first relieve the discomfort, and we prefer to start out conservatively with one or more of the following:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories
- Corticosteroid injections
- Physical therapy
- Nerve blocks
If your lower back pain persists, we may recommend a more aggressive and sustainable approach to your lower back pain, such as our innovative XLIF® lateral lumbar interbody fusion, in which we remove a problematic disc using the most minimally invasive approach possible. We also offer the Intracept procedure, which targets the basivertebral nerve to relieve lower back pain.
As you can see, we offer a wide range of treatment options for your lower back pain and we work tirelessly to find one that meets your goals. To learn more, contact one of our two locations in Addison or Plano, Texas.