Back Pain article-LV Israelite

According to a recent Mayo Clinic study, back pain is the third most common reason Americans visit their doctors, behind joint disorders and skin disorders.

Before And After: Preventing and Dealing With Back Pain

By Aury Nagy, MD
Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Neurosurgeon

According to a recent Mayo Clinic study, back pain is the third most common reason Americans visit their doctors, behind joint disorders and skin disorders. In fact, 65 million Americans suffer from back pain every day. It can interfere with your daily life and in some cases deplete your energy completely. Whether it’s a persistent ache in the lower back, shooting pains down the legs or muscle tightening, back pain really hurts!
The symptoms of back pain come in different forms, but the problem is frequently the same: a nerve root near the spine is irritated. In about 90 percent of all low back pain cases, a nerve that travels from the spinal cord through the bones of the spine gets pinched or irritated, the muscles tense up and the patient experiences low back pain. The solution depends on why the nerve is irritated in the first place.

The spinal column is an intricate network of nerves, discs and bones. The spinal cord begins in the brain and is protected by the spinal column as it runs most of the way down the back. Every movement and function of the body is controlled by the spinal cord. Motor nerves lead out of the spinal cord to control movement in the body while sensory nerves enter into the spinal cord communicating messages from the body back to the brain.

Together, the motor and sensory nerves form more than 50 nerve roots, which run through holes, called foramina, in the bones of the spinal column. Each one of these nerve roots has the potential to become irritated and cause back pain.

With all these delicate elements, the back is still one of the strongest parts of your body. It supports you whether you are sitting, standing, exercising or even sleeping. With all this work, it’s bound to get tired. Spend a few minutes listening to your body and you’ll be able to tell whether you are developing a back problem.

There are three key indicators to tell if you are developing a back problem: numbness, chronic pain and weakness.

Numbness is felt when nerve impulses aren’t traveling properly from the skin to the brain.
Numbness in areas beyond the back, especially the legs and feet, may indicate nerve damage in the spine or the brain and warrants attention.

Chronic Pain
Chronic back pain is commonly described as deep, aching, dull or burning pain in one area of the back or traveling down the legs. This often impedes regular daily activities as well as work and can be managed with your physician.

Weakness happens when signals don’t travel properly from the brain to the muscles or from problems in the muscles themselves. There are many reasons people experience weakness related to low back pain, but the most common cause of overall systemic weakness is inactivity.

If you’ve experienced these symptoms, it may be time to schedule an appointment with your physician. After all, your back is the one of your body’s most important assets. Treat it with care!

If your back pain is relatively mild, take a few simple steps to improve its health:
#1 – Get up and get moving
The most important thing you can do to keep your spine healthy, and the rest of your body, is to exercise. The best way to start is to think of an activity that you enjoy, and do it!! Your goal should be to exercise at least 30 minutes each day (or on most days of the week).

#2 – See your doctor
Regular checkups with your doctor are really important, no matter what your age. Make a plan to see your physician at least once a year to make sure all your systems are working smoothly.

#3 – Lose weight
More than half of all Americans are overweight. While the spine is designed to carry and distribute the body’s weight, excessive weight can strain it and eventually it will wear out.

#4 – Good posture
You may think that slouching when sitting or standing is relaxing your muscles. But actually, it makes your muscles work harder. Good posture, which involves standing and sitting in a balanced and neutral position, is the best way to avoid straining your spine.

If you’ve tried these things and still have significant back pain, a trip to your doctor is in order. The first things they’ll look at are physical therapy and medication. Often times, physical therapy is all that is required to get you feeling better.

And there are a wide variety of medications to treat back pain. Some drugs relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and relax muscle spasms. Many are available over-the-counter and others require a prescription.
In severe cases, surgery could be the best option. Ask your doctor for a referral to a neurosurgeon to find out your options.

Your back is one of the most vital parts of your body. It literally holds you up! Treat it well and stay healthy…you’ll live a fuller life because of it.

Dr. Aury Nagy is a board certified and fellowship trained neurosurgeon with offices in Henderson, Southwest Las Vegas, Northwest Las Vegas and Bullhead City. In addition to his neurosurgery practice, he serves as Spine Committee Chair and Neurosurgery Section Chief for Spring Valley Hospital as well as an adjunct clinical faculty member for Touro University. He is also a product development consultant and Speakers Bureau clinical lecturer and educator for Integra Neurosciences.

Dr. Nagy is a frequent author on the subject of back pain and has participated in several research programs about spine and brain injuries. He was the first neurosurgeon in Nevada to place an artificial cervical disc in a patient and his deep brain stimulation procedures for Parkinson’s patients are well-regarded.

To schedule an appointment, call 702-737-7753

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