Back and Neck Pain

Relieving Back and Neck Pain

Many patients who come to my office with back and/or neck pain have been misdiagnosed and improperly or under treated.  Some of the most common causes of back and neck pain are as follows:  muscular irritation or tightness, bulging or herniated discs, pinch nerves, osteoarthritis, disc disease or narrowing, fibromyositis/fibromyalgia, spinal stenosis, ligament or tendon inflammation, abnormal body mechanics and postural problems.  In many cases there is more than one cause.  This can cause many doctors to become confused and misdiagnose and improperly treat patients.

For example a herniated or bulging disc can cause the overlying muscles to become irritated & spasm.  This can lead to abnormal body mechanics of the back and neck causing compensating and uneven stress and forces in certain areas of the neck and back.  This can lead to increased pressure and herniation of the discs and more muscular problems.  Over time the muscular condition can cause fibromyalgia/fibromyositis of the back and abnormal posture.  Another example is a primary muscular spasm or irritation resulting in abnormal body mechanics leading to uneven and compensating pressure of the disc and possibly causing bulging or herniation.

Many cases can be properly diagnosed by a thorough musculosketal and neurological examination of the back, neck and extremities (even if there are no symptoms of the extremities).  In complex cases or those not responding to treatment, MRI or CT scans and electrodiagnostic studies (especially if, a pinched nerve is suspected) can be helpful.  Often tests that are negative or inconclusive can within a few month change and reveal the cause of the pain, especially if symptoms are becoming worse over time. 

Combinations of anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, back and neck supports, and physical therapy successfully treat most cases.  When these methods fail or are just partially effective, many cases of back pain can be successfully treated with using other alternatives.  For example cold laser or light therapy, kinesio taping, aquatic therapy, iontophoresis and freeze spray and stretch have all been effective in successfully treating many patients with neck & back pain unresponsive to previous treatment and therapy.