Back pain is the leading cause of occupational disability in the world and the most common cause of missed workdays. It is the second most common reason for visiting the back pain doctor (first is the common cold). Studies report that up to 90% of adults will experience low back pain in their lifetime. It is important to understand, however, that “low back pain” is a term that encompasses many different types of anatomical injuries, from ligamentous and muscular injury, to herniated discs, vertebral body joint (facet) erosion, and nerve entrapment. At Capitol Pain Institute, we understand the many different causes of “low back pain,” and our Austin pain doctors will design a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific pain symptoms.
The first step in treatment of low back pain is accurate diagnosis through a methodical and detailed history and physical examination. It is important to narrow down the cause of the low back pain as specific therapies work better for certain pain conditions. For example, a lumbar epidural steroid injection may be an excellent therapeutic choice for nerve impingement as a result of disc herniation whereas a radiofrequency rhizotomy may work best for facet arthropathy, and a lysis of adhesions procedure or spinal cord stimulator may be best served for patients with epidural scar formation post spine surgery.
Although serious episodes of low back pain are as likely to occur following activities of daily living as after moderate/severe trauma, a precipitating event can occasionally help pinpoint a pain source. Sacroiliac joint pain can be most often associated with a traumatic event such as a fall or a motor vehicle accident, whereas a herniated disc may be more likely to cause sciatica, an abrupt shooting “electric” pain down the leg with positional change.
Considering the different origins of low back pain, many different pharmacological medications are available to target your specific type of pain. Moreover, a multifaceted regimen consisting of physical/occupational therapy, interventional procedures appropriate to your condition, and innovative spinal cord stimulation strategies converge to provide you with an opportunity for excellent pain relief and regain of function.
Emerging on the horizon are regenerative treatment strategies designed to reverse or prevent further disc degenerations or erosion and enhance healing. As our practice prides itself on remaining up-to-date on the latest pain therapies, we are excited about the potential regenerative medicine holds for our patients. Regenerative medicine utilizes growth factors, gene therapy, and stem cells to promote healing.
Take home points:
- Most people at some time will experience an episode of serious low back pain
- A history and physical examination will help determine a differential cause of your pain
- We will offer goal directed therapy with the aim to optimize your pain relief and maximally improve your functionality and day-to-day living.
- We will discuss with you your pain condition and create an individualized treatment plan utilizing a multi-faceted treatment regimen.