LOW BACK & NECK PAIN
Most cases of back or neck pain resolve within 2 to 6 weeks and are considered acute pain. The most common cause of acute back or neck pain is a muscle injury, in which muscle fibers are overstretched. Muscle injury may be caused by overuse, such as from heavy lifting, as well as by repetitive motions that put continual stress on the back or neck muscles.
While a muscle injury may not sound like a serious issue, the resulting pain can be severe. Most muscle injuries resolve within 6 weeks using treatments such as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, heat or ice therapy, or stretching exercises.
Changes in the spine’s anatomy and mechanics are usually the cause of chronic low back pain.
Most commonly arthritis is a degenerative condition marked by inflammation in the joints that causes stiffness and pain. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, gets worse with age and is caused by wear and tear over the years.
Joint pain can be discomfort, pain or inflammation arising from any part of a joint — including cartilage, bone, ligaments, tendons or muscles. Joint pain can be caused by injury affecting any of the ligaments, bursae, or tendons surrounding the joint. It is important to identify the cause of the painful joint in order to pursue the correct treatment!
Sciatica is a condition characterized by pain shooting down the leg from the lower back. Onset is often sudden following activities such as heavy lifting, though gradual onset may also occur. Lower back pain is sometimes but not always present and weakness and numbness and tingling may be prevalent in the affected leg.
Nerves are the body’s “telephone wiring” system that carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body. Some nerves carry messages from the brain to muscles to make the body move. Other nerves carry messages about pain, pressure, or temperature from the body to the brain. Injury to a peripheral nerve can cause a wide variety of symptoms such as pain, numbness, burning, weakness, or sensitivity.
Whiplash is a relatively common injury that occurs to a person’s neck following a sudden acceleration-deceleration force that causes unrestrained, rapid forward and backward movement of the head and neck, most commonly from motor vehicle accidents. Common symptoms include neck pain and stiffness, headache, shoulder pain, dizziness, radiating pain to the arms, numbness and tingling, and visual disturbances. Whiplash pain can resolve slowly over time or can persist for many years but it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Peripheral neuropathy refers to conditions that occur when the nerves originating the brain and spinal cord are damaged or diseased. It is important to attempt to identify the cause of neuropathy so that it can be treated effectively. EMG and nerve conduction study testing is one tool that can be used to help identify the cause of a neuropathy.
Exercise is good for us! Injuries that occur while we exercise or participate in specific sports activities are common for many reasons. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t exercise but it is important to warm up properly, stretch, and practice body awareness. Despite this, accidents do happen!
Headache is the symptom of pain anywhere in the region of the head and neck. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that almost half of all adults worldwide will experience a headache in any given year. A headache can be a sign of stress or emotional distress, or it can result from a medical disorder, such as migraine or high blood pressure, whiplash injury, anxiety, or depression.
Fibromyalgia is a medical condition characterized by chronic widespread pain and a heightened pain response to pressure. Other symptoms include fatigue to a degree that normal activities are affected, sleep problems and troubles with memory. It can be difficult to treat effectively. Lifestyle modifications, improving quality of sleep, low impact exercise, Osteopathic manipulation, physical therapy, certain medications, and alternative therapies can be beneficial.
Myofascial pain syndrome is a chronic pain disorder. In this condition, pressure on sensitive points in your muscles (trigger points) causes pain in the muscle and sometimes in seemingly unrelated parts of your body. This is called referred pain. This syndrome typically occurs after a muscle has been contracted repetitively.
Chronic pain is often defined as pain lasting more than 12 weeks. Whereas acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury, chronic pain is very different. Chronic pain persists—often for months or even longer.
Chronic pain may arise from an initial injury, such as a back sprain, or there may be an ongoing cause, such as illness. However, there may also be no clear cause. Other health problems, such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, and mood changes, often accompany chronic pain. Chronic pain may limit a person’s movements, which can reduce flexibility, strength, and stamina. This difficulty in carrying out important and enjoyable activities can lead to disability and despair.
Spinal disc herniation, also known as a slipped disc, is a medical condition affecting the spine in which a tear in the outer, fibrous ring of an intervertebral disc allows the soft, central portion to bulge out beyond the damaged outer rings. It can be very painful causing pain in the neck, thoracic spine, or low back with or without radiating pain to the arms or legs.
COMPLEX REGIONAL PAIN SYNDROME (RSD)
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic (lasting greater than six months) pain condition that most often affects one limb (arm, leg, hand, or foot) usually after an injury. CRPS is believed to be caused by damage to, or malfunction of, the peripheral and central nervous systems.
PERSISTENT SPINAL PAIN AFTER SURGERY
Failed back syndrome( FBS ) or post-laminectomy syndrome is a condition characterized by chronic pain following back or neck surgeries. Many factors can contribute to the onset or development of FBS, including residual or recurrent spinal disc herniation, persistent post-operative pressure on a spinal nerve, altered joint mobility, joint instability, scar tissue, depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance, and spinal muscular deconditioning.