Managing Lower Back Pain

Managing Lower Back Pain

Low back pain stemming from sciatica, spinal stenosis or other causes is a common debilitating condition. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), it is also the most prevalent cause of work-related disability. Lower back pain is not just uncomfortable, though. If left untreated, it can lead to potentially serious medical problems. Don’t put off having a qualified NJ orthopedic surgeon address your low back pain to determine its cause—and the best course of treatment for your symptoms.SCIATICA: Sciatica is a type of low back pain found most commonly in adults between the ages of 30 and 50 years old. Sciatic pain can be chronic and tends to affect one or both legs as well as your back. Sciatica is the result of sciatic nerve compression. The affected nerve runs from the lower back, past the buttocks and down through each leg. Symptoms of sciatica can include:

  1. Long-lasting pain intensified by sitting
  2. Tingling, burning or numbness
  3. Weakness in the affected leg

A herniated disc in the low back is a common cause for nerve compression. Bulging or herniated discs are often just a sign of aging, but can result from trauma such as a car accident. Sciatica that is related to disc problems can be treated non-surgically through rest, physical therapy and medication. In some cases, surgery is required to manipulate the disc into its proper position and provide pain relief. Expert NJ back surgeons can repair herniated discs and guide you in post-surgical rehabilitation exercises to strengthen core muscles. Stretching and exercises can alleviate and prevent low back pain in many people.SPINAL STENOSIS: Another possible cause of low back pain is spinal stenosis. Your spinal cord is surrounded by a number of protective structures, including vertebrae, muscles and ligaments. Spinal stenosis is the narrowing of these structures; picture a tunnel that has suddenly grown smaller inside. The primary cause of this spinal stenosis is arthritis. During arthritis, the discs in your back lose fluid and harden. This reduces the diameter of the space surrounding your spinal cord while causing symptoms similar to sciatica. These include:

  1. Burning or tingling in the buttocks, thighs or lower back
  2. Weakness in the legs and feet
  3. Low back pain that increases upon standing or walking

The experts at Kayal Orthopaedic Center may suggest a variety of treatment options for spinal stenosis. All are designed to relieve your low back pain and to increase your daily level of function. Lumbar traction and other forms of physical therapy can manage your symptoms and decrease associated nerve compression. Anti-inflammatory medications reduce swelling around the spinal nerve, and may be taken orally or through a series of steroid injections. Alternative therapies such as acupuncture may also be beneficial to spinal stenosis patients, and your Kayal Orthopaedic specialist can provide information about these options.Kayal Orthopaedic Center surgeons often perform laminectomy and fusion procedures to correct severe cases of spinal stenosis. During a laminectomy, your NJ back surgeon removes fragments of bone and soft tissues that are causing nerve pain. Back fusion permanently attaches two or more vertebrae together to create a stronger spinal structure. This may offer pain relief when alternative therapies have not been successful.Don’t let low back pain interfere with work, family and activities! Call Kayal Orthopaedic Center today at 201-447-3880 to schedule an appointment with our NJ orthopedic specialists.