Neck and Lower Back Pain
Occasional or chronic pain in the neck or lower back can make it challenging to enjoy even the simplest daily activity. The spine specialists at Orlando Health Neuroscience Institute understand the frustration of living with this pain and will work with you to develop a treatment plan for your unique needs.
Our multidisciplinary approach offers state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment for a full range of cervical and lumbar issues, including disc herniations, scoliosis and degenerative disorders. If surgery is needed, our fellowship-trained surgeons offer the most advanced noninvasive and minimally invasive treatments through the Orlando Health Neuroscience Institute Spine Care Center, a spine center of excellence, the region’s only Joint Commission-certified spine surgery program.
Lower back or neck pain can begin gradually or can come on quickly, particularly if the cause is an injury. You may know what happened to spark the pain, or you may have no idea what caused it.
Stiffness: You may find it difficult to stand up straight after being seated or driving your car. It may take some walking or moving around to loosen up your back. Your range of motion may be limited.
Posture: Standing up straight may be a challenge. You may stand crooked, with your torso leaning to one side or the other. Or your lower back may appear flat rather than curved.
Muscle spasms: These may occur after a strain or injury. Your muscles spasm or contract, causing significant pain. This can make it difficult, if not impossible, to stand or walk.
Stiffness: In particular, it may be difficult to move your head from side to side.
Sharp pain: The pain may be centered in one spot and may feel like a burning or stinging sensation.
Sensitivity: Even mild pressure applied to your neck may hurt.
Headache: Irritation in your neck can affect nerves and muscles in your head.
Numbness or tingling in your arms: You may have trouble lifting or gripping things.
Tension: You may feel tightening in your neck muscles.
Diagnosis starts with a physical examination and an exploration of your medical history. Your doctor will want to know about any accidents or events that may have contributed to your condition. Further diagnosis may include:
Radiation is used to create images of the bones in your neck or back.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
These machines use powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of bones, muscles, tendons and tissues.
Computed tomography (CT) scan
These scanners use multiple X-ray images compiled with the help of a computer to create highly detailed 3D images of your bones and soft tissues.
Before a CT scan, a dye is injected into your spinal fluid. The dye can help identify spots where herniated discs are applying pressure to your spinal cord or nerves.
This procedure evaluates your nerves and the muscles they control to look for signs of damage that may be causing tingling or numbness in your limbs.
Blood and urine tests
These may be used to look for other medical causes for your pain. Kidney stones, for example, can cause severe pain in the lower back.
Painful symptoms often will improve with rest, ice and over-the-counter pain relievers. Staying active will increase blood flow to the injured area and help you heal. For more severe cases, a range of treatment options are available. We make every effort to avoid surgery, utilizing advanced pain management physicians and physical therapy.
Sometimes surgery is considered the best alternative. Our specialists are trained in the latest minimally invasive procedures and the most advanced surgical techniques, including robotic assisted surgery, computer navigation and 3D in-house printing. Our fellowship-trained physicians have performed thousands of spinal procedures, making the Orlando Health Neuroscience Institute Spine Center of Excellence the top provider of spinal surgeries in Central Florida.
Treatment options include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or pain relievers may be prescribed for pain relief. Other medications may be used to relax your muscles and stop back spasms.
A therapist will work with you on exercises designed to stretch and strengthen the affected muscles in your neck or back. Improving your flexibility can help prevent additional injuries.
The injections into the troublesome area can reduce inflammation and relieve pain while the area heals.
Massage, osteopathic manipulation and chiropractic adjustments may be an option for some patients.
Microdiscectomy and discectomy
These surgeries remove the damaged portion of a spinal disc. They are commonly used for patients with pain shooting down the arms or legs as a result of a compressed nerve. Microdiscectomy uses smaller incisions and often has a faster recovery time.
This surgical procedure enlarges the spinal canal to relieve pressure on your nerves or spinal cord. Your surgeon will remove a small piece of the back of one (or more) of the small bones that make up the spine. For people with arthritis in the spine, small bony overgrowths (bone spurs) in the spinal canal can create pressure on nerves.
This surgical procedure is used only on the neck. It increases the space within the spinal canal by opening up the back part of the spinal bones, which are bridged with metal hardware.
This surgery is generally used in more severe cases of spinal degeneration, including scoliosis. The damaged section of the spine is removed and replaced by a bone graft and hardware to support it. The procedure can improve stability, reducing the risk of abnormal movement damaging nerves. Most patients will wear a brace to give the spine time to heal.
This surgery is an alternative to spinal fusion. It uses an artificial disc to replace one that is diseased or damaged. It has the advantage of preserving motion in the affected area of the spine and often has a quicker recovery time.
Our team participates in clinical trials that can offer our patients early access to promising treatments, therapies and surgeries for lower back and neck pain.
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