Despite being a very common ailment, general back pain is surprisingly complex, with a myriad of causes – from arthritis to nerve and muscular problems. Although many people can manage their pain with medication, some find their symptoms fail to respond to non-invasive measures.
When this occurs, leading back surgeon NJ has to offer, Dr. Rovner, will locate the cause of your discomfort and help you find a long-term solution – one that targets the underlying problem and can save you years of discomfort.
Does your back pain require treatment?
Fortunately, most back pain resolves itself with time. After a little rest and some ice or heat therapy, many people are back on their feet within a few days. If this is your experience, you probably don’t need to see a doctor for your back pain.
However, if your discomfort is severe, constant and not improving with conservative or non-invasive measures, you should take action. This is known as chronic back pain, and it could be indicative of a serious spinal problem that needs to be addressed. In general, you’ll want to seek out a New Jersey back surgeon if:
- Your symptoms persist longer than three months
- Your discomfort is accompanied by leg pain, weakness or numbness
- Your symptoms develop suddenly without an apparent cause
- You have difficulty controlling your bowels or bladder
- The pain wakes you at night
Before taking steps toward a surgical procedure, we will work with you on a non-surgical treatment plan that may include ice/heat therapy or physical therapy. This non-surgical care can be effective, and in some cases, it will address your pain satisfactorily. However, if your back pain persists after proper non-surgical care, we will move toward surgery to fully eliminate the source of the problem.
After a thorough consultation, a non-surgical treatment plan will be created for you that is personalized to your needs. Your non-surgical care will include the treatments below, or often, combinations of these treatments.
- Ice pack or moist heat to the affected area
- Relative rest and modification of activities that worsen symptoms
- Over the counter medications
- Prescription medications
- Topical creams and patches
- Targeted physical therapy
- Environment adjustments
- Chiropractic treatment
- Lumbar support brace (used sparingly for comfort as needed)
- Cortisone injections
- Trigger point injections
- Epidural steroid injections
- Facet joint injections
- Radiofrequency ablations
When is surgery necessary?
When treating back pain, conservative measures are always tried first. Any qualified spine surgeon will recommend time, pain relievers, ice and heat therapy, and physical therapy before turning to a surgical procedure.
However, if your pain persists or worsens with non-invasive treatment approaches, a surgical procedure may be in your best interest. This is especially true if your back pain is associated with discomfort and numbness that affects the arms and legs as well. These symptoms tend to be caused by irritated and compressed nerves – a problem that requires surgery for permanent relief.
What To Expect During Your Appointment
During your initial consultation at our New Jersey office, Dr. Rovner will begin by gathering detailed information about your symptoms.
He’ll ask about their onset and duration, and whether or not certain activities exacerbate them. From there, he will perform a full physical examination to evaluate your condition.
He will also order imaging tests (such as an x-ray, MRI, or CT scan) to visualize your spine and help confirm the diagnosis. He will talk to you about the permanent surgical treatment options that are appropriate for your condition and, as a leading back surgeon NJ has to offer, he will be able to help you determine which one is in your best interest.
Common Causes Of Chronic Back Pain
Your spine is an integral part of your overall health. As such, severe back pain can be a sign of a serious condition that needs to be addressed. Some of the most common causes of chronic back pain include:
With spinal stenosis, the open spaces within your spine narrow abnormally, placing pressure on the spinal cord and its associated nerves. The symptoms tend to occur in the neck and lower back, and may include pain, numbness, muscle weakness and problems with bladder and bowel function.
The condition is commonly caused by changes in the spine due to osteoarthritis. However, it can also develop due to a herniated disc, tumors and spinal injuries. In severe cases, surgery is recommended to create new spaces for the spinal cord or nerves and offer long-term – and often permanent – pain relief.
Spinal discs are rubbery cushions located in between your vertebrae (the small bones that form your spine). They contain a soft center and a tough exterior. With a herniated disc, the soft center protrudes through a tear in the disc’s exterior. When this occurs, the disc can irritate the nearby nerves, causing chronic pain, numbness or weakness.
This condition typically occurs due to normal wear and tear known as disc degeneration. With age, the spinal discs naturally lose their water content which decreases their flexibility and makes a rupture more likely. Initially, a herniated disc will be treated conservatively. However, if the condition does not improve with medication and physical therapy, a surgical procedure known as a discectomy may be necessary.
Congenital Skeletal Irregularities
In some cases, chronic back pain is caused by a skeletal abnormality that was present at birth. For example, curvature of the spine can cause ongoing discomfort and limited mobility. In severe cases, surgery is needed to treat the abnormality, stabilize the spine and provide pain relief.
A global leader in robotic spine surgery
Dr. Joshua Rovner
As one of the best spine surgeons in NJ, Dr. Joshua S. Rovner provides surgical treatment of pain related to the neck and entire back. Dr. Rovner is one of the few providers of spine surgery NJ has to offer that specializes in minimally-invasive spine surgery and robotic spinal surgery . These procedures are safer and more precise alternatives to traditional surgery and are shap ing the future of spinal and orthopaedic medicine. By helping individuals leverage more progressive means of minimally-invasive spine surgery, Dr. Rovner helps his patients undergo a smoother surgery with faster recovery times.