Back Pain Relief & Treatment in Princeton & Staten Island
What is Back Pain?
Back pain is one of the most common reasons for visiting a doctor. Pain may be due to a wide range of causes, including damage or overuse of the muscles, bones, nerves, joints, or other structures in the spine. Many spinal injuries are caused by strains in the soft tissue or the improper movement of a vertebra. The underlying cause of back pain can be narrowed down based on factors including the location, duration and severity of the pain you are experiencing. Our caring back pain doctors and specialists at New Jersey Spine Surgeons are equipped with the expertise and state-of-the-art technology required to treat your back pain. Learn more below, or schedule a consultation in Princeton, NJ or Staten Island, NY for back pain relief.
Location of Back Pain
Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is most often experienced in the lumbar area of the spine. Pain in this area may be the result of conditions including spinal stenosis, foraminal stenosis, spondylolisthesis (slipped disc), bulging disc, pinched nerve, herniated disc, or degenerative disc disease and may cause a nerve-related sensation called sciatica. For pain that occurs in the tailbone (the coccyx area of the spine), this may be the result of a coccyx fracture or injury.
Upper Back Pain
Upper back pain is experienced in the cervical or thoracic area of the spine. Pain felt in the upper back may be the result of spinal stenosis, foraminal stenosis, spondylolisthesis (slipped disc), bulging disc, pinched nerve, herniated disc, or degenerative disc disease, and can cause nerve pain called radiculopathy. Upper back pain may also be associated with shoulder pain, in some cases.
Severity of Back Pain
Acute Back Pain
Acute back pain is the most common type of back pain and can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Generally, this type of back pain comes on suddenly and may result from an injury or accident.
Chronic Back Pain
Chronic back pain refers to pain that develops gradually and generally lasts longer than a few months. This type of back pain usually requires treatment from an experienced spine specialist in order to achieve relief or long-term pain management.
What are the symptoms of back pain?
Symptoms of back pain vary from patient to patient and depend on the underlying cause of the pain. Many patients with back pain experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Muscle aches
- Pain that radiates down the leg (sciatica)
- Limited range of motion
- Sharp or stabbing pain
- Pain performing normal activities, including walking and standing
When should I see a doctor for back pain?
Many cases of back pain will improve with rest and subside within a couple weeks. When symptoms persist longer, you should consult with a spine specialist at New Jersey Spine Surgeons. Other situations that may warrant a doctor’s visit include:
- Sudden, severe pain
- Pain that radiates through the legs or arms
- Weakness or numbness in legs
- Back pain with sudden, unexplained weight loss
In some situations, it is important to seek medical assistance right away. These situations include any time when back pain is accompanied by:
- Bowel or bladder issues
- A traumatic injury to the back or neck
How is back pain diagnosed?
Our New Jersey spine specialists will evaluate your symptoms and provide an accurate diagnosis following a physical examination, medical history, and any necessary diagnostic tests. During a physical examination, your back pain doctor will likely assess your ability to move, walk, sit and lift your legs.
When needed, our physicians may recommend one or more of the following diagnostic exams in order to accurately diagnose your condition:
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Computerized tomography (CT scan)
- Blood scan
- Nerve testing
- Bone scan
These tests enable your doctor to rule out or point to a specific underlying condition that may be causing your back pain.
What does back pain treatment involve?
To treat minor back pain, our spine doctors will typically advise conservative treatment methods. Treatment options depend on each patient’s needs and symptoms, and may involve:
- Avoiding painful positions and activities that cause pain
- Taking pain medications, either over-the-counter or prescription medications depending on the level of pain
- Undergoing physical therapy
- Getting a cortisone injection
If symptoms are severe, worsen over time, or don’t respond well to conservative therapies, a surgical procedure may be recommended in order to fix the underlying source of your back pain. Surgical options to correct conditions that relate to upper and lower back function may include:
Cervical Back Pain Surgery Options
- Cervical disc replacement
- Cervical fusion
- Minimally invasive laminotomy, foraminotomy
Lumbar Back Pain Surgery Options
- Minimally invasive transforaminal lumbar interbody fusion (TLIF)
- Minimally invasive posterior lumbar interbody fusion (PLIF)
- Anterior lumbar interbody fusion (ALIF)
- Oblique lumbar interbody fusion (OLIF)
- Extreme lateral interbody fusion (XLIF)
- Axial fusion
- Sacroiliac (SI) joint fusion
If you are suffering from back pain, the first step is scheduling an evaluation with an experienced spine specialist. At New Jersey Spine Surgeons, we are dedicated to the preservation of motion and function through the latest minimally invasive spine procedures and treatments. Call (844)-7-NJSPINE today or fill out the form on this page to request a consultation at our offices in Princeton and Staten Island.