Back pain is one of the most commonly reported ailments in America and among the most common reasons people miss work. If you have experienced back pain or struggle with chronic back pain, you’re among the majority.
But don’t let your back pain keep you down. Contact Dr. Vivek Kushwaha, the back specialist in Houston who will get to the root of the problem, treat your pain and get you back to living your life.
What Causes Back Pain?
There is no single source of back pain. In fact, there are a number of different potential causes of back pain, ranging from muscle strain or arthritis to herniated disc, degenerative disc disease or traumatic injury. Some common causes of back pain may be treated with medication and therapy, while others may require surgery from an experienced spine surgeon.
Dr. Kushwaha, the back specialist in Houston you can trust, provides surgical services to treat the various causes of back pain, including:
Herniated, Bulging or Ruptured Disk
If a disc in the spine slips out of place and becomes herniated, it can put pressure on the nerves in the spine, causing pain and numbness to travel down the back and through the arms or legs, depending on the location of the herniated disc. A disc that is bulging or ruptured may also put pressure on a nerve.
Anti-inflammatory treatments may help relieve pain associated with a herniated disc, but some cases may require spinal surgery. Houston spine doctors commonly treat herniated disc with one of two procedures: lumbar discectomy and lumbar spinal fusion. During the lumbar discectomy procedure, the herniated portion of an intervertebral disc, which is causing pain by bulging into the spinal cord or radiating nerves, is removed. Spinal fusion combines two or more vertebrae with the goal of eliminating the pain caused by abnormal motion of the vertebrae by immobilizing the vertebrae themselves.
Degenerative Disc Disease
When the discs between the vertebrae begin to break down (known as degenerative disc disease), the damaged disc can cause inflammation and instability in the back, causing back pain, muscle spasms and sciatica (lower back pain that travels to the buttock, leg and foot).
Lower back pain caused by degenerative disc disease may be treated surgically with the lumbar spinal fusion technique, or your Houston spine surgeon may recommend extreme lateral interbody fusion, a surgical procedure in which the front part of the lumbar spine is fused from the side. Disc material is removed and a fusion graft is placed into the disc space. The graft is usually bone or a cage combined with bone.
Osteoarthritis is another common cause of lower back pain in Houston. Arthritis literally means “inflammation of a joint,” and inflammation in the spine can lead to a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, a condition called spinal stenosis. This condition puts pressure on the spinal cord and nerves within the spine causing pain, numbness and muscle weakness. It commonly occurs in the neck and lower back.
When medication and other treatments fail to relieve lower back pain caused by arthritis, spine surgery may help. Osteoarthritis can be treated with a procedure called arthrodesis, the artificial induction of joint ossification between two bones.
The human spine is typically straight, but in cases of scoliosis, the spine has an abnormal, sideways curvature to it. This may be a single curve to the left, like a letter C, or a single curve to the right, like a backward letter C. In some cases of scoliosis, the spine has two curves, giving it an S-shape.
For adults, scoliosis can be very painful. Your Houston spine surgeon may recommend lumbar spinal fusion to help straighten the spine and alleviate back pain associated with scoliosis. This procedure is used primarily to eliminate the pain caused by abnormal motion of the vertebrae by immobilizing the vertebrae themselves. Lumbar spinal fusion may also be the treatment of choice for herniated, bulging or ruptured discs or degenerative disc disease.
No matter the cause of your back pain, if you are experiencing pain for any reason, don’t let it continue to disrupt your day-to-day life. Contact Dr. Kushwaha, the back specialist in Houston, today.