By Dr. Louis Jenis
Reliant Medical Group Orthopedics
Most of us have experienced back pain at some point in our lives. Back pain can be very severe and make even the simplest motions and tasks extremely difficult. Fortunately, if the pain is caused by a strained muscle, it will usually go away after a few weeks with rest and at-home treatment. Sometimes, however, back pain can be the result of a problem with your spine and result in chronic pain. This type of pain, which does not go away after at-home treatment, can be caused by an injury as well as conditions such as osteoporosis, spinal stenosis, and herniated discs. These problems need to be addressed by an orthopedic physician who specializes in care of the spine. Consider talking with your primary care provider about seeing a spine specialist if any of the following conditions apply to you:
- You experience back pain that is chronic – lasting longer than 12 weeks.
- Your range of motion is limited and you are unable to bend over, twist sideways, or stand up straight without pain (for a prolonged time).
- The pain is altering how you live your life – such as missing work or avoiding leisure activities you enjoy.
- You have pain, numbness or weakness in your foot, leg or hip. (This can be a sign of a disc herniation or a compressed nerve.)
- You suffer from fever along with other symptoms such as weight loss and severe discomfort in the back and spine. (This can be an indication of cancer or a bacterial infection that has spread to the spine.)
Seeing a spine specialist doesn’t mean that you will have to have surgery for your problem. Most treatment plans for back pain begin conservatively, using physical therapy, lifestyle modifications, and injectable treatments to reduce pain. If you don’t have success with these treatments, your specialist may suggest surgery to improve your symptoms. Most spinal surgeries today are performed using minimally invasive techniques that result in faster recovery times than traditional surgery. Your doctor will always discuss the risks and benefits of surgery with you, so you can make the best decision concerning your health.
At Reliant we have an excellent team of board-certified spinal surgeons who see patients in our Southborough and Worcester offices.
About Louis Jenis, MD
Dr. Louis Jenis was always fascinated by human anatomy and how it functions which eventually led him to medical school and a career as an orthopedic surgeon. “My first clinical rotation as a medical student was on the spine service at Boston University. Witnessing the tragedy of young people suffering spinal cord injuries and seeing how the surgical teams stabilized the patient to get them functional again, really stimulated me to go into...View profile View posts by this doctor