Neurology Specialists located in West Ashley, Charleston, SC, Mt. Pleasant, SC & Goose Creek, SC
Back pain is one of the most common health challenges in adults, but it’s not just for older adults. It affects 40% of adults aged 18 to 44. The experts at Tidewater Neurology have extensive experience determining the cause of your pain and providing treatments that ease your symptoms and help you get back to your active life. To get personalized care for back pain, call the office in Mt. Pleasant, Goose Creek, or the West Ashley area of Charleston, South Carolina, or book an appointment online today.
Back Pain Q & A
What causes back pain?
You can pull a back muscle or ligament while lifting a heavy item. Or you could end up with back pain due to a sports accident or more often, from an overuse injury.
Overuse injuries develop when you frequently repeat the same movement. The repetitive motion creates small tears that may gradually turn into a full rupture.
As you get older, the structures supporting your spine gradually deteriorate and weaken. These degenerative changes cause painful back problems such as:
- Herniated discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Slipped vertebrae
Any condition or injury that involves your spine can also easily pinch the spinal nerves.
How does radiculopathy relate to back pain?
Back pain seldom appears alone. The conditions responsible for your pain also cause stiffness, limited movement, and muscle spasms.
Pinched nerves, a condition called radiculopathy, add another layer to your symptoms. They cause pain, tingling, or burning sensations that follow the nerve and travel down into your legs.
Sciatica is one of the most common examples of lower back (lumbar) radiculopathy. A pinched sciatic nerve leads to low back pain and intense, electric-shock pain that suddenly shoots down one leg. In severe cases, a damaged nerve causes muscle weakness and numbness.
How is back pain diagnosed?
Your Tidewater Neurology provider talks with you about your symptoms and completes a physical exam. Then they may order blood tests and diagnostic imaging or run specialized tests to determine the exact cause of your pain.
When your symptoms suggest nerve compression, your provider performs an electromyogram (EMG) and nerve conduction study (NCS). These tests reveal problems in your muscles and the nerves that trigger muscle contractions.
How is back pain treated?
Your initial treatment for back pain includes conservative measures such as limiting activities that irritate your back, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy.
If your pain doesn’t improve, your Tidewater Neurology provider may give you an epidural steroid injection or an epidural nerve block. These injections effectively relieve your symptoms because they target the specific nerves causing your pain.
When you still have pain despite all other treatments, your provider may recommend minimally invasive surgery to repair the underlying problem. Examples of surgery to relieve back pain include removing herniated discs, decompressing nerves, replacing damaged discs, and performing spinal fusions.
If you need relief from back pain, call Tidewater Neurology or book an appointment online today.