Tension Myositis Syndrome

Spine Docs

How A Spine Doc Treats Back Pain

Diagnosing and treating spinal pain sometimes is not a simple process. Before a medical doctor or chiropractor can even diagnose the issue of spinal pain, the spine doc will have to take x-rays. Primary physicians will probably send the patient with spinal pain to a spine doc or a chiropractor to assure that they receive the best spine health. The doctor will have to test range of motion and pain sites in order to determine what is causing the back discomfort. This can also be a referred pain, meaning that the problem could be a foot or neck or other areas of the body causing the spine pain.  Sometimes it can even be a mental issue like tension myositis syndrome.

The spine doc will have to rule out any other possible causes, such as, an infection or injury. An x-ray will only give the doctor an idea of bone involvement. If it is soft tissue causing the pain then he may ask that you get an MRI or a CAT scan. There could be muscle or nerve damage that is causing the spine pain and he might order an EMG. The doctor will not know until he performs certain tests that are geared to your symptoms. The important thing to remember is that understanding this pain is a necessary issue.

The treatment for spinal pain is as wide and varied as the diagnosis of the pain. The basic goals of a spine doc is the relief pain and help the patient increase mobility. Depending on the diagnosis sometimes an ice pack is helpful, and sometimes the ice is alternated with heat.

There are spine docs that prescribe non steroidal medication or an anti inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen or aspirin. If there is inflammation involved, then heat will help to decrease the pain. Heat is known to bring comfort to sore muscles and surrounding tissues thus increasing spine health.

New Findings

Doctors are finding that slow progressive non-strenuous exercise with possible physical therapy, massage therapy, ultrasound, heat, cold and whirlpools can have tremendous benefits to the spine health of a patient.

If a patient slowly strengthens the back and abdominal muscles it will keep the spine more stable. The spine doc may recommend exercises that call for slight stretching. Physical therapists educate the patient with spinal pain, the proper techniques for lifting and teach the person how to carry their body using improved posture.

Some doctors may feel that a combination of medications in a pain pill will help the patient more, such as found in Vicodin. Generally a good muscle relaxant is helpful in decreasing pain. Most of these prescription pain killers can be habit forming and the back pain patient should be aware of this contraindication.

Researchers have found in the last few years that antidepressant medications such as Cymbalta work well on chronic pain. A specialist in spinal pain issues may order steroid injections or some sort of anesthetics. There are some pain conditions that warrant surgical intervention, such as would be seen in a herniated disc or pinched nerve.

Even though most of the old tried and true treatments are successful, there are other treatments that have been discovered to be more effective and one of these is called radiofrequency ablation.

In some cases a tens unit is tried where electricity is delivered right into the pain site. Sometimes, the spine doc may feel that it is necessary to sever a problem nerve.
Many doctors feel that the chiropractors play a major role in the patient with chronic back pain through manipulation of the spinal area. Many doctors feel that if a chiropractor intervenes early enough his manipulation treatment will ward off other problems from gaining a foothold.

Other spine doc treatments for back pain could include some of the following:

• Cognitive behavioral therapy
• Stress management
• Education
• Relaxation exercices
• Biofeedback
• Pilates
• Yoga
• Aquatic exercices
• Spinal manipulation
• Acupuncture
• Chiropractic treatments and spinal manipulation

However, it is wise to consult with a spine doc, but be sure not to rule out TMS as many doctors may not consider it.