Author Archives: Omair Ali

A model of human spine highlighting the are of thoracic spinal pain

What Causes Pain in Thoracic Spine and How to Treat it?

As with all kinds of back pain, diagnosing the cause of pain in thoracic spine can be a little tricky. Thoracic back pain is felt in the upper and middle parts of the spine. Reasons can vary from a minor sprain to a major vertebral fracture. In what follows, we will be explaining the causes of pain in thoracic spine and their possible treatments.

Where is the Thoracic Spine Located?

A human spine has 24 vertebrae in total. The thoracic region is the middle part of the spine and it is made up of 12 vertebrae labeled from T1 through T12. It is located at the back of the chest, just between the cervical and lumbar spine. 

Causes of Pain in Thoracic Spine

Research shows that the thoracic part of the spine is relatively safer than the cervical and lumbar as it bears less stress. This makes it the least vulnerable spinal area to injuries. Having said that, discussed below are some of the factors that can cause pain in thoracic spine.

1. Muscle Inflammation

One of the most common causes of pain in thoracic spine is muscle inflammation which is the result of overuse or strain on one’s spine. There are a lot of things that cause muscle inflammation including poor posture, weight lifting, carrying heavy backpacks regularly, sitting at a computer for long hours, etc. Muscle inflammation causes muscle spasms and pressure on surrounding structures such as ligaments, tendons, joints, and disks. As a result, the patient experiences pain, joint stiffness, and tenderness in the body.

2. Injuries

A sudden injury for example during a car accident can also damage the thoracic spine. Injuries can break one of the spinal discs or make them slip (a condition known as a herniated disc). This leads to extreme pain around the injured area. People who play combat sports are more prone to such injuries.

3. Wear and Tear

Over time, the human spine degenerates due to age-related wear and tear. Some factors can increase this process of degeneration for example family history, smoking, and Obesity. Degenerated discs cause back pain, numbness, tingling, and other similar problems.

4. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a bone disease that is characterized by the weakening of the bones in a body. It can make the vertebrae fragile and soft, increasing the chances of spinal fractures. Osteoporosis itself is not painful but under severe conditions, it can lead to cracks in the bones resulting in pain.

5. Poor Posture

Poor posture is found to be one of the most important causes of pain in thoracic spine. Nowadays, people spend a lot of time working on their laptops which can cause structural damage to the spine if proper care is not taken.

Treatments of Thoracic Spinal Pain

The treatment for pain in thoracic spine varies depending on the cause and severity. In most cases, the first step is evaluating the patient and determining which type of pain he/she is experiencing. Then, the doctor decides on a treatment plan that helps in managing symptoms and preventing further injury. Following are some of the treatments given to treat pain in thoracic spine;

1. Physical Therapy

Physical therapies can be very handy in treating thoracic spinal pain as such pain is mostly due to a spasm or a muscle pull. Therapies can improve mobility by working on the limited range of motion. Consistent physical therapies considerably reduce the pain in thoracic spine and help patients rehabilitate from the condition. 

2. Medication

Medication is used if the pain in thoracic spine is due to a muscle spasm or other minor reasons. The most common type of medication used to treat pain in the thoracic spine is an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug). NSAID blocks certain chemicals from being released from body cells, which reduces inflammation and allows you to heal more quickly. To avoid the adverse effects, you are advised to only take the prescribed medicines.

3. Surgical Treatments

If the pain in thoracic spine is due to an injury or damage, your healthcare proivder will recommend you surgical treatments. The doctor will run diagnostic tests to look for a spinal injury and will come up with the appropriate surgical treatment accordingly.

4. Lifestyle Changes

Modifying your habits cannot only help you treat pain in thoracic spine but also prevent you from getting it in the first place. To help you out with your thoracic spinal pain, we recommend making the following changes. 

  • Sleeping Position – Sleeping in an improper position is one of the major reasons for back pain. You can adjust your sleeping position with a little effort. Use a comfortable mattress and the right pillow for sleeping.
  • Exercise – Stretching and exercises can also improve your posture and overall health. In case of thoracic spinal pain, you can engage in dedicated exercises to improve your condition
  • Posture maintenance – Always use ergonomic furniture for your office work. Sitting in a comfortable chair allows appropriate alignment of the shoulders, spine, and hips.
  • Other Activities – Bend your knees whenever you are to lift anything heavy. Similarly, avoid carrying heavy backpacks when you go on vacation trips. Last but not least, whatever you do, always remember that a straight spine keeps you fine.

Talk to a Neurosurgeon Now!

If you have been experiencing pain in thoracic spine and don’t know what is causing it, we would recommend you consult a specialist. Here at Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery, Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe provides medical treatment to patients suffering from spinal diseases. She is an experienced neurosurgeon who has treated hundreds of patients over the years. You can read her patients’ reviews on Yelp and Healthgrades. To schedule an appointment, you can fill out the contact form or call us at (213) 369-4583. 

surgical

Surgical vs Nonsurgical back pain Treatments: All You need to know

You might have been experiencing some pain in your back lately and are not sure how bad it is and what back pain treatment you need to go for. Treating back pain can be a little tricky as there could be various reasons for its occurrence. These reasons can be as minor as pulling a muscle to as serious as rupturing a spinal disc. Depending on the cause of back pain, there are different back pain treatments one can use.

In this article, we will educate you on some of the most effective back pain treatments available (both surgical and non-surgical) that would put you in a better position to decide which spine treatment is better for you.

Surgical Back Pain Treatments

Surgical back pain treatments involve the usage of invasive techniques to treat severe back-related issues. Medical professionals who perform these surgeries are normally Neurosurgeons with a specialty in spinal surgeries.

Who Qualifies for Surgical Spine Treatments?

In general, patients who have chronic severe pain or a serious disability from their back condition qualify for surgical treatment. The type of surgery you might need depends on what type of back problem you have, how severe your symptoms are, and how long they’ve been present. Following conditions are treated using surgical spine treatments;

  • Herniated Disc
  • Degenerative disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal Deformities

Types of Surgical Spinal treatments

Choosing surgery as a back pain treatment option can be a major decision. In addition to the benefits and risks of the surgery, there are several factors that affect the decision to have surgery. Your surgeon will help you decide which treatment is best for your particular situation. Given below are some of the most common surgical back pain treatments;

Spinal Fusion Surgery

Spinal fusion surgery is a surgical procedure in which the bones of the spine (vertebrae) are moved together and joined with a bone graft. It is one of very few back pain treatments which have a high success ratio. In this procedure, a damaged disc is removed and replaced with bone graft material. The bone graft material is taken from a part of the patient’s body or the bone bank. It is then placed where the fusion is required. The new bone grows and joins the vertebrae together.

Benefits of spinal fusion surgery include:

  • Minimizing pain and disability
  • Preventing further injury to the spine
  • Removing pressure on nerves and blood vessels in the back
  • Reducing the risk of complications from further degeneration

Read in-depth: All You Need to Know About Spinal Fusion

After 2 to 3 days of the surgery, doctors will discharge you. However, complete recovery after spinal fusion surgery will take 3 to 6 months. During this time, you will visit physiotherapists regularly, have the prescribed medicine, and take all the precautionary measures to ensure a smooth recovery.

Lumbar Laminectomy

It is a surgical spine treatment that is used to treat conditions like spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spinal canal. Such a condition is normally caused by a herniated or bulging disc in the lower back area which puts pressure on the spinal nerves causing pain to the person. What the surgeon does is that he/she makes an incision near your lower back and removes the thin lamina to make space for the spinal nerves. It takes off the pressure from the nerves and relieves pain.

After Lumbar Laminectomy you can expect;

  • Pressure relief from spinal nerves
  • Improvement in the functionality of the lower back and legs
  • Reduction in the pain
  • Less numbness and tingling in the legs
  • Recovery of strength

Read more: Lumbar Laminectomy Surgery: Procedure, Risks and Recovery

It can take a couple of months before you can go back to your normal routine. The recovery period requires special attention for a complete and comfortable rehabilitation. Patients are advised to regularly visit their doctors to ensure a smooth recovery.

Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery

As the name suggests, artificial disc replacement surgery is the process of replacing a damaged or degenerated disc with an artificial one. The discs we have in our spine might get damaged due to an accident or wear and tear over the years. A damaged disc causes pain and extreme discomfort to a person. The surgeon makes an incision in the back and replaces the damaged disc with an artificial disc.
Artificial disc replacement is preferred over other surgeries because it allows the person to move, bends, twist, and flex his spine like before.

Read more: Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery: All You Need to Know!

The patient can resume desk work after one week of the surgery, however, to go back to the same life as before, it might take 3 months, give or take a few days. Physical therapies and regular visits to the doctor’s office are recommended.

Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery

Minimally invasive spine surgery involves the usage of endoscopic instruments for surgeries. In this method, the surgeon makes a very small incision through which an endoscopic instrument can pass into the body. Once the instrument is in, the rest of the surgery is performed with the help of a camera and micro tools it carries inside. The surgeon views the interior of the body on a computer screen.

Read more: Getting A Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery In Los Angeles

Minimally invasive spine treatments have many benefits;

  • The recovery rate is faster
  • The patient doesn’t have to go through a lot of pain
  • A small incision means little
  • Fewer complications
  • Less postoperative care required

Nonsurgical Back Pain Treatments

At times, treatments for back pain do not require the patient to go through an invasive surgical procedure. If the back pain is due to a muscle pull, strain, or sprain, it is recommended that you try nonsurgical back pain treatments. However, you need to make sure that the pain is not due to a major spinal injury. You can do that by conducting diagnostic tests for spine injury. We have discussed some of the most effective nonsurgical back pain treatments below.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can help strengthen muscles around the spine, improve flexibility and range of motion, and ease nerve pain. You can seek the help of a physical therapist for guidance. A physical therapist’s job is to help you get back on track. They’ll work with you to develop a routine that will improve your overall health and well-being. A physical therapist will also teach you exercises that can help control pain and prevent injury.

Other than physical therapies, you can also treat your back pain with the help of heat and ice therapies.

Heat & Ice Therapies

  • Heat therapy is often used as a back pain treatment. This type of treatment involves applying heat to the sore or injured area to help it recover faster and reduce pain. Heat therapy can be used alone or in combination with other back pain treatments.
  • Ice therapy is another treatment option that can be used to relieve symptoms of back pain. You can place ice packs directly on the painful area to reduce swelling and inflammation, as well as ease pain by relieving stiffness and pressure. Ice packs can be applied for 15 minutes at a time for 10 to 15 minutes on each side of the body every hour or every other hour as needed, depending on your specific needs and aches and pains.

Back Pain Treatment with Massage

Massage is another useful nonsurgical back pain treatment. It is extremely helpful to reduce inflammation in your back and relieve muscle tension; it also improves blood flow to the affected area of your back. If you have severe lower back pain or osteoarthritis, massage may be able to reduce some symptoms of those conditions as well. It is better to have a person help you with massage but no worries if you don’t have anyone available. Self-massage tools are easily available online.

Exercises for Back Pain Treatment

Regular exercise can help prevent or relieve chronic lower back pain by strengthening muscles around your spine and improving flexibility in your hips and shoulders. Exercises such as walking, swimming, biking, or dancing are all examples of low-impact activities you can perform at home without equipment or special shoes.

Many forms of yoga are also effective forms of exercise to improve your overall health while reducing symptoms of chronic back pain. There are different yoga positions you can try to target your back muscles. For example;

  • Cat/Cow
  • Planks
  • Sphinx
  • Bridges
  • Lateral stretches
  • Forward fold

Changing Lifestyle for Back Pain Treatment

Back pain is often due to poor posture and a lack of movement. This is one of the most overlooked causes of back pain. Before trying any other nonsurgical back pain treatments, it makes sense to make sure that you are doing the following things right;

  • Maintain a good posture (standing up straight and keeping your shoulders back) and get some exercise throughout the day, even if it’s just walking around your office building.
  • If you’re overweight, losing weight can help reduce pain and improve your overall health.
  • Try to avoid tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine — all of these substances can make your symptoms worse.
  • Avoid sleeping in the same position all night long. If you sleep on your stomach, try sleeping on your side instead. You can also use a pillow between your legs or elevate them off the mattress to help alleviate any pressure on your lower back while sleeping.

Medication for Back Pain Treatment

Medication is also one of the nonsurgical back pain treatments that doctors often recommend. In case the back pain becomes unbearable, you can try some over-the-counter medicines. It is highly recommended that you use only the prescribed medication for the reason that self-medication can be dangerous when used to cure back pain. Generally, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reduce inflammation in your back and may help relieve some of the pain you feel from an injury or from chronic back pain. If NSAIDs don’t provide enough relief, you may want to try medications that have stronger anti-inflammatory effects such as COX-2 inhibitors or acetaminophen (Tylenol).

Deciding between Surgical and Nonsurgical Back Pain Treatments

Diagnosing the cause of back pain should precede the decision of choosing the suitable spine treatment. Surgical back pain treatments are preferred when the spine is damaged due to an injury that resulted in the deformation of spinal bones. In such a situation, there is no point in using nonsurgical back pain treatments as it will only worsen the situation by lingering. On the other hand, nonsurgical treatments are effective to cure mild back pain arising out of muscle pull and stress.

See an Expert for Back Pain Treatment

We hope this article helped you understand what surgical and nonsurgical treatments are and which treatment is preferred in a given situation. However, in order to reach the decision about choosing the right back pain treatment, it is vital that you consult a doctor.
Here at Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery, we have Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe who is one of the best spine specialists in Los Angeles. You can read her patients’ reviews on Yelp and Healthgrades. In order schedule an appointment, fill out the contact form or call at (213) 369-4583.

A man standing in his house showing signs of back pain

Home Remedies for Lower Back Pain

The lower back is a complex system that supports all of your body’s movements. It consists of several bones, ligaments, and muscles that work together to support your spine and keep it in good alignment. If you have lower back pain, it can be difficult to know exactly what is causing it and how to treat it. You may have tried several over-the-counter pain relievers or even visited your doctor’s office only to be told that scans don’t show any signs of injury or damage to your back. In such a situation, you wonder if there are any home remedies for lower back pain you can try.

Fortunately, there are many home remedies for lower back pain that can help reduce discomfort and help you with your back healing.

Ice and Heat Therapy

A person with heating bag pushed against his back

Using heat or ice therapy is one of the most effective home remedies for lower back pain only if you know how to do it appropriately. Ice and heat therapies are given for the following lower back conditions;

  • Back pain due to Injury
  • Soreness in Back Muscles
  • Stiff Back
  • Back Spasm

Ice therapy

It is recommended to apply ice therapy first to reduce swelling and inflammation. Ice also creates a numbing effect that alleviates the pain and gives relief to the patient. Ice applications are usually done in the form of an ice pack wrapped in a towel or cloth, which you place directly onto your skin for 30 minutes at a time. You can also use an ice bag or ice pack made specifically for this purpose.

Heat Therapy

Once the inflammation and swelling are gone, now is the time to use heat. Heating the injured area can increase blood circulation and expedite the healing process. You can visit any drugstore to get therapeutic heating pads that contain either water-filled gel packs or electric heaters that are powered by battery packs. These pads typically cost less than $20 each and can be used on any part of your body except your head and face since they may burn these areas if left on too long.

Exercises for Lower Back Pain

In most cases of normal back pain, your spine is safe and the cause of pain is excessive stress on the back muscles. This causes strains and sprains that can be recovered with specific back exercises. Following are some of the exercises you can perform at home without anyone’s assistance to get rid of your back pain;

Bridges – Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly raise your hips off the floor while keeping the abdominal muscle tight until your hips are aligned with your knees and shoulders. Hold the position for 15 to 25 seconds.

Chair Exercises – There are a lot of exercises you can do while sitting in a chair to help you with lower back pain.

  1. Fold Forward – Sit in the chair and just pretend that you are tying your shoelaces. Keep your back straight while you do it.
  2. Seated Twists – Sit in a chair with your thighs crossed over one another. Gently twist from left to right.
  3. Knee to Chest – Sit in a chair with both feet placed on the floor. Grab your knee and move it as close to your chest as possible.

Other Exercises
A healthy spine lies in a healthy body. You can swim, walk, jog, run, or do any cardiovascular exercise to keep your body in shape. Engaging in physical activity automatically works your back and keeps the pain away. Just make sure you keep a proper form while performing any exercise.

Massage and Yoga

A guy using a massager for his back

Despite being extremely effective, massage is one of the most overlooked home remedies for lower back pain. Massages can do wonders when it comes to treating back pain. It is possible to do a little back massage yourself, however, having someone help you can be a great advantage.

Yoga

Yoga is also one of the home remedies for lower back pain you can rely on. These exercises are designed to help you build strength and flexibility in your body, which will help improve your posture and reduce your chances of injury.

1. Side Plank
Lie on your side with your top leg stacked on top of your bottom leg. Flex your top arm and extend it toward the ceiling, stretching to touch your toes. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch sides and repeat for a minute total.

2. Cat/Cow

Place your hands on the floor under your shoulder and feet under your hips. For cow pose, drop your belly and look upwards while stretching your back. For cat pose, push your hands into the floor and try to see between your thighs while bending your torso.

A girl doing cat/cow pose as one of the home remedies for lower back pain

3. Sphinx Pose
Lie down flat on your belly with hands resting on the floor making an angle of 90 degrees with your elbows. Slowly push the floor lifting your torso and head upwards while keeping your back straight. Do as many reps as you can in 2 minutes.

Young woman in sphinx pose

Posture Maintenance

Poor posture is observed to be one of the primary causes of back pain. If you don’t maintain your posture, the pain is never going to leave and there are chances of it developing into a serious back issue. Before trying the home remedies for lower back pain mentioned above, consider the following guidelines to fix your posture;

  • Always sit upright with your shoulders relaxed and your back resting against the chair.
  • Stand with your weight evenly distributed on both feet and your hips tucked in.
  • Always bend your knees and not back when lifting anything off the ground.
  • Use ergonomic furniture at your office for maximum comfort and support for your body.

Related readings: How to Prevent Lower Back Pain?

Home remedies for lower back pain might not be effective in all situations. Sometimes, the back pain is due to a spine injury that requires immediate medical treatment. In such a situation, it is better to see a doctor and get yourself checked so you can get timely treatment.

Consult Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe

If you are in Los Angeles, you can see Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe at Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery for your back pain. You can schedule an appointment by filling out the contact form or calling (213) 369-4583.

A girl helping a patient with recovery from spinal fusion surgery

Road to Recovery from Spinal Fusion Surgery

Spinal Fusion Surgery is the process of connecting two or more vertebrae of a spine. It is carried out to stabilize your spine or treat back issues like scoliosis. Since it’s major surgery, it has a lengthy recovery period that requires the patient to follow strict guidelines for complete rehabilitation. In what follows, we will walk you through the complete process of recovery from Spinal Fusion Surgery.

Learn about how Spinal Fusion is Carried out: All You Need to Know About Spinal Fusion

Road to Recovery from Spinal Fusion Surgery

Complete recovery from spinal fusion surgery means that the bone graft placed has fused into the spine and has become a part of it. It takes between 4 to 6 months to fully recover. The process can be divided into three stages based on the time following the surgery.

1st Stage of Recovery from Spinal Fusion Surgery

When the patient wakes up after the surgery, he/she experiences pain and drowsiness that lasts for a couple of days. You will also find it hard to sit and adjust your posture due to pain. The doctor encourages patients to walk after a couple of hours of surgery so they can see the signs of any complications.
The doctor will administer pain medication regularly to manage the pain. These medications are normally given with an injection into the arm or leg. Sometimes, patients are also given a PCA pump with which they can control the quantity of pain medication going into their bodies. Blood samples are also taken after regular intervals to make sure that the oxygen level in the blood is well-maintained. You can expect to be discharged from the hospital within 2-4 days of your surgery.

Early Mobilization

Once you are discharged from the hospital, you will be required to see a physiotherapist immediately to learn how you can perform routine activities like getting dressed, getting in and out of the bed, sleeping, sitting, etc. These activities must be performed according to the guidelines given by the physical therapist so as not to put any amount of stress on your spine while it heals.

Diet

Patients are not given anything to eat for the first 24 hours of the surgery. This period can be prolonged to 48 hours if needed. You will slowly switch from liquids to solid food when your stomach is ready.

Medications

The pain during the first few days is extremely intense and therefore the doctor will have you take high potency painkillers and sleeping pills.

2nd Stage of Recovery from Spinal Fusion Surgery

The initial period of recovery from Spinal Fusion entails the most care and precaution. A couple of weeks following your surgery, your doctor will allow you to walk without any aid but will restrict you from bending, lifting weights, and standing for a long time. For a smooth second stage of recovery from spinal fusion, you are recommended to take the following measures;

  • Keep an eye for any infection that might arise in the incision site. If you suffer from fever, increase in pack pain, and redness at the incision site, contact your doctor immediately.
  • Following two weeks of surgery, your surgeon will remove the stitches and staples. If the wound is properly healed, you will be allowed to take a full bath.
  • You can also expect to switch from opioids to relatively safe and effective painkillers like Acetaminophen.

3rd Stage of Recovery from Spinal Fusion Surgery

After 3 months of the surgery, you can safely say that the incision site is healed. Now you can engage in exercises to regain your back strength. It is important at this stage that you do not overdo anything that can put stress on your back. Go by the following guidelines for a smooth recovery from spinal fusion surgery;

  • Vigorous exercises are discouraged even after your wounds are recovered. You are advised to see a physical therapist who can teach you exercise you can perform without harming your back
  • Therapists usually put patients on a controlled and progressive exercise program that lasts 2-3 months. You will need some help in the beginning but after a couple of weeks, you can do it yourself at home.
  • Only after an MRI scan will the doctor declare you a completely recovered patient. After that, you can fully go back to a normal routine and perform all the activities just as a person with a healthy spine would do.

Which factors can affect the Rate of Recovery?

Things need to go smoothly for the recovery from Spinal Fusion Surgery. Regular checkups with the doctors help ensure that you are making progress. However, there are a few things that can impede your recovery;

  • Lack of Care
    A careful attitude ensures smooth recovery from spinal fusion surgery. The incision site needs to be cleaned carefully to avoid any infection. Similarly, putting extra pressure on the spine before it is completely recovered can slow down the recovery process.
  • Smoking
    There is extant literature available that shows a negative effect of smoking the rate of recovery from Spinal Fusion surgery.
  • Bending and Twisting
    Bending and twisting pose a great threat to the recovery process as they can displace the screws that are placed to keep the spine in place.
  • Staying Immobile
    This is one of the most common reasons for a slow rate of recovery from spinal fusion surgery. Patients are often seen to not follow the therapies prescribed to them which slows down the healing process.

Book an Appointment with Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe

Here at Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery, we provide top-quality healthcare services to patients suffering from spine and brain diseases. You can get in touch with our Neurosurgeon Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe who is a well-known spine surgeon in Los Angeles with years of experience. You can read her patients’ reviews on Yelp and Healthgrades. Book an appointment right away by filling out the contact form or calling (213) 369-4583.

Picture of a Spine with disease

All You Need to Know About Spinal Fusion

We all have endured back pain at some point in our lives. Mostly, the back pain can be managed using medications, chiropractic treatments, and other physical therapies. However, sometimes the back pain is due to an injury to your spine that requires surgical treatment. One of such surgical treatments is Spinal Fusion.

Who Qualifies for Spinal Fusion?

People experiencing chronic back pain that last more than a month are normally considered for surgical treatments. However, your doctor will only recommend a Spinal Fusion surgery once he/she has diagnosed the source of pain. Diagnosis is conducted using scans like MRI and CT.
Given below are some of the common medical conditions that are treated with Spinal Fusion surgery;

  • Degenerative Disc – Our spine has rubbery cushions (known as discs) in between the bones to safeguard us from external jerks and injuries. These discs can degenerate over time, however, an early degeneration can also happen due to an injury.
  • Scoliosis – It refers to a condition in which a person’s spine is curved abnormally. It is more common in adolescents and teenagers.
  • Stabilizing Spine – People who have an unstable spine due to any medical reason are recommended Spinal Fusion.

Types of Spinal Fusion

There are different kinds of Spinal Fusion surgeries that are performed by surgeons. Factors like the severity of the damage, location of damage, patient’s overall health condition, age, etc. are considered when deciding which method to follow. Generally, Spinal Fusion is classified into two types of procedures;

  1. Anterior Fusion – In the Anterior approach, the surgeon reaches the infected area from the font. It means if the surgery is to be performed on the neck, the incision will be made in front of the neck (Cervical Fusion) and if the surgery is to be performed on the lower back, the incision is in the lower abdomen (Lumbar Fusion).
  2. Posterior Fusion – If the doctor decides to approach the infected area directly from the back, it is referred to as posterior fusion.

Minimally Invasive Spinal Fusion – This technique is developed recently and it uses endoscopic instruments to do the spinal fusion. In this technique, the surgery is performed with smaller incisions and hence the recovery rate is faster.

Related article: Getting A Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery In Los Angeles

Procedure

The patient is given anesthesia before the surgery to make the process less painful. The patient is also advised not to drink or eat anything 6-8 hours before the surgery. Given below is a brief procedure on how the surgery is carried out.

Incision

The surgeon will start the operation by making an incision to gain access to the damaged part. It can be done with any of the approaches mentioned above.

Getting Bone Graft

All kinds of spinal fusion surgeries require some kind of bone material to make the fusion possible. The bone can be taken from any part of the body or the bone bank. In case it is decided that the bone will be taken from the patient’s body, the surgeon get it from the pelvic bone by making a small incision and then closing it afterward.

Bone Graft Fusion

The bone is then placed between the vertebrae where fusion is required. Generally, metal plates and rods are used to ensure that vertebrae keep in position while the bone heals. Sometimes, the doctor might also use some substances to expedite the bone growth and healing process.

Risks Involved in Spinal Fusion

Just like any other surgical procedure, Spinal Fusion also carries some risks that could lead to complications. Given below are some of the surgery risks that might occur due to a Spinal Fusion surgery.

  • Excessive Bleeding – Minor bleeding is common in surgical procedures. However, If it is a multilevel fusion surgery, there are chances of occurrence of excessive bleeding. Damage to a major blood vessel can also cause excessive blood loss.
  • Infection – Soon after the surgery is over, the doctor will give you antibiotics to prevent any infection. However, in some cases, an infection might develop near the incision that can go deeper if left untreated
  • Failure to eliminate Pain – It happens when Spinal Fusion surgery does not go right. It fails to eliminate the pain leaving the patient to go through another surgical procedure.
  • Dural Damage – Dura is the outermost layer of the three layers that protect the brain and spine. If damage occurs to Dura during surgery, it can cause spinal fluid to leak. Subsequent surgeries are required to repair it.
  • Bone Grafting going Wrong – There are chances that the bone used for fusion does not heal and thus fails to fuse the vertebrae. Moreover, if the material that is to be used for the bone graft catches bacteria, the graft fails.

Post-operative Care

The success of Spinal Fusion surgery highly depends upon post-operative care. Following are some of the guidelines to be followed to ensure that the healing period goes right;

  • Regular Check-ups – Seeing your doctor regularly is very important to identify any potential complications as early as possible.
  • Exercise – Do the exercises recommended by a physiotherapist for a smooth recovery from surgery.
  • Incision Care – Keep the incision dry for at least two days after the surgery. Do not cover it unless advised by the doctor. Be careful while bathing, sleeping, and moving around to not to put stress on your back.
  • Medication – Only take the prescribed medication by your doctor during the healing process. The doctor will recommend some painkillers to relieve pain and antibiotics to safeguard you from infections.

Consult Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe for Spinal Fusion Surgery

Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe is the primary healthcare provider at Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery for patients suffering from brain and spine conditions. She is qualified to provide complete services from diagnosis to surgery and post-surgical care for Spinal Fusion. She has treated several patients over the years and you can read her patient reviews on Yelp and Healthgrades. To book an appointment fill out the contact form or call (213) 369-4583.

Stressed man leaning against a wall in the living room and catching his breath while rubbing his back and suffering from lower back pain

How to Prevent Lower Back Pain?

From a persistent mild ache to sudden sharp pain, lower back pain comes in all shapes and sizes. One thing is common with all kinds of back pain, they are extremely uncomfortable. It is normal to experience back pain due to an inappropriate posture, strain, sprain, muscle pull, and other minor reasons. However, what you must avoid in all possible ways is an injury to your spine as it can lead to serious medical impairment that can only be treated with surgical procedures. In the following paragraphs, you will learn what measures you can take to prevent lower back pain.

Maintain a Good Posture

Posture is the way you hold your body. It can be classified as Dynamic and Static Posture where the former refers to the way you move, and the latter refers to how you hold your body while sleeping, sitting, and standing. Carrying a poor posture is one of the main causes of lower back pain. However, with a little adjustment to your physical behavior, you can develop the habit of maintaining good posture.

  • Keep a straight back when sitting and distribute your weight evenly on both hips.
  • Get an ergonomic chair that supports the natural shape of the spine and makes it easier to sit for a longer period.
  • Keep your spine stretched while walking.
  • Make sure you wear shoes with reasonable cushioning to support you when you run or jog.
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach as it can be hard on your back.

Exercises to Prevent Lower Back Pain

A woman doing bridges to to prevent lower back pain

Working on your core and back is a good way to prevent back injuries from happening. People who have a weak core put extra pressure on their back resulting in damage to the spine. Following are some effective exercises to strengthen your back and core;

  • Bridges
  • Knee to Chest Stretches
  • Rotational stretches
  • Planks
  • Crunches

Be Cautious While Lifting

You are most vulnerable to developing a back injury while lifting heavyweights in the gym. Maintaining good form during weight lifting is crucial to avoid any unpleasant situation. Getting a professional trainer to watch you while you work out can help minimize the chances of injury to your back.

  • Use the right and safe equipment for workout
  • Master the form before increasing weights
  • Don’t work out with an injury
  • Seek professional help to learn the right posture
  • Use appropriate weight lifting belts

Weight Control

Obesity can be a proximate cause of many medical conditions of which back pain is one. Extra weight makes it difficult for a person to maintain a good dynamic or static posture. People who are overweight strain their lower back by pulling the pelvis forward resulting in back pain. In addition to this, obese people are more likely to get a herniated disc and a pinched nerve as their spine takes the pressure to compensate for the extra weight. 

Maintaining a healthy weight requires both workout and diet control. Young people can be a little careless with their diet in terms of fat intake as they can work out more. However, for older people, getting a balanced diet is crucial as it gets harder to shed weight with age. Following are some ways you can maintain a healthy weight;

  • Food. Eat foods that are low in sugar and calories but high in proteins
  • Increase your water intake
  • Get enough sleep
  • Maintain work-life balance to keep the stress away as it can also increase weight

Other Habits to Prevent Lower Back Pain

There are some other habits that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to safeguard your spine health. 

  • Let go of wrong sleeping positions including your favorite ones. The best sleeping position is on the side with knees slightly bent, however, you can also sleep on your back but make sure you keep your head aligned with the spine and place a pillow under your knees.
  • Stretch your muscles before and after having sleep. It relieves muscle tension and keeps your spine safe.
  • Take plenty of fluids to keep your muscles hydrated.
  • Quit smoking if you do. There is extant evidence available that explains that nicotine restricts the blood flow to the body and reduces the quantity of oxygen in the blood. It results in dryness of the spinal discs making them more vulnerable to cracks and ruptures. 

FAQs

When to worry about your back pain?

Just a momentary pain in the back might be due to a muscle pull or strain and it is most likely to go away in a couple of days. However, if it is accompanied by symptoms like numbness in the legs, and fingers, loss of bladder and bowel control, high fever, and radiating pain, you need to take it seriously and seek medical help. 

When is the time to see a spine specialist for my back pain?

Pain in the back doesn’t always indicate a spinal injury. A spine specialist is consulted when you have persistent pain or feel that you have damaged your spine. You can read this detailed article on 5 Signs You need to see a Spine Specialist for more details. 

What are the causes of back pain at a young age?

Back pain is normally associated with aging but nowadays the number of young people with back problems is also increasing. Developing lower back pain at a young age has a lot to do with lifestyle habits that include walking, sleeping, eating, sitting, and more. We have explained the most common causes of back pain at a young age in one of our articles that you can read on the website.

What kind of back pain requires surgical treatment?

Back pain that is an indication of damage to the spine is treated with different surgical treatments depending upon the severity and type of injury.

Read: Spinal Cord Injury: Diagnosis and Treatment

See a Neurosurgeon for Your Back Pain

Meet Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe at Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery for your back pain. She provides top-quality healthcare services to patients suffering from Brain and Spine diseases. You can schedule an appointment with her by filling out the contact form or calling (213) 369-4583.

5 Signs You Need to See a Spine Specialist

While it is quite common to experience back pain due to strains and sprains, backache should not be ignored if it is providing extreme discomfort. Mostly, people associate back pain with issues like muscle pull but it can be a lot more serious than that. But how can you tell if it is just normal pain or if it’s an indication of something rather serious that requires you to visit a Spine Specialist for treatment?

Similar Readings: What are the Most Common Causes of Back Pain at a Young age?

In what follows, we will explain what kind of symptoms indicate a sign of spinal injury. After reading this article, you will be better able to decide if it is regular back pain or if something is wrong with your spine that requires to see a spine specialist.

1. Persistent Back Pain

The most common reasons for back pain include strained muscle, spasms, pulled tendon, and stress. However, the pain caused by these conditions does not last long. The patient is normally recovered in a couple of weeks. If your back pain has been with you for more than 15 days or it keeps coming back after some period, there are chances that you have encountered a serious spine injury. In such a scenario, seeing a spine specialist becomes inevitable as ignorance can lead to serious medical complications later.

2. Mobility Problems

A Spine Specialist is also to be consulted when you experience acute pain while walking, getting in and out of bed, or on a chair. Limited range of motion is a serious indication of spine injury. There could be a lot of reasons for such a condition. It could be due to damage to one of your spinal discs, pinched nerve, or spinal stenosis. A timely diagnosis can make recovery possible and easier.

3. Numbness in Arms, Legs, and Feet

Back pain due to a spinal injury is often accompanied by the sensation of pain in the neighboring body parts of the origin of the pain. The patient feels the pain radiating from his/her back to the legs, arms, feet, and hands. Tingling legs and numbness in hands are common symptoms of spinal injury. People with spinal injury also complain about losing grip and the inability to perform routine tasks efficiently. For example, button-up shirts, writing on a piece of paper, etc. You should consult a spine surgeon within two days of the occurrence of the symptoms.

4. Bowel & Bladder Problems

Irregularities such as the loss of control of the bowel and bladder are not due to normal back pain. These symptoms indicate that there has been serious damage to your back and your spinal cord might be injured. In such a case, the body doesn’t get the right message as the communication between the nerves in the spinal cord that are in control of the bowel and bladder, and the brain gets affected. It leads to bladder and bowel dysfunction. This is a medical emergency and you immediately seek medical help.

5. Fever

Back pain accompanied by a slightly high fever can be a sign of serious damage to your spine. People make a mistake when they ignore fever coupled with back pain thinking it will get better on its own. We have seen a lot of patients come to us later than they should have and the reason for their delayed visit was their ignorant behavior to serious symptoms like this.

What to Expect?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, you should immediately seek medical help. The doctor will start with a physical examination to see for any indication of spinal injury. Afterward, you will be asked to get MRI or CT scans of your back. Once the diagnosis is complete, the doctor will tell you if you need surgery or physical therapy for your back pain. There are different kinds of medical treatments given to patients suffering from spinal injuries depending upon their medical conditions.

Get in Touch With a Spine Specialist in Los Angeles

If you have been looking for a Spine Specialist for your chronic back pain and haven’t been able to find any luck so far, you have just landed on the right page. Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery is a well-recognized and well-reputed healthcare facility in Los Angeles. We provide healthcare services to patients suffering from Brain and Spine diseases. Treatments are available for;

  • Back and Neck
  • Brain and Spine
  • Pain
  • Stroke and related conditions
  • Seizures, tremors, and movement disorders

Hundreds of patients have been given medical and surgical treatment at our facility who now enjoy good health. You can check our patient’s reviews on business listing platforms like Healthgrades and Yelp.

About Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe

Spine specialist Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe

Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe is the primary healthcare provider to patients with brain and spine issues at Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery. She is affiliated with the following hospitals;

  • Good Samaritan Hospital Los Angeles
  • California Hospital
  • St. Vincent’s Medical Center
  • Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital
  • Beverly Hospital

You can read more about Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe medical practice, education, and background on the website.

Book an Appointment with Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe

You can easily schedule an appointment with Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe by filling out the contact form available on our website. You just need to fill out the details as asked and someone from the clinic will call you. The other way you can do this is by calling directly to the clinic at (213) 369-4583 and booking an appointment right away.

Spinal Cord Injury: Diagnosis and Treatment

Sitting inside the spinal column, the spinal cord is a bundle of nerves extending from the base of the brain to the lower back. It is responsible for passing messages between the brain and the rest of the body. It is an extremely sensitive part of the human nervous system and even a minor spinal cord injury can lead to serious medical conditions like paralysis.

In what follows, we will be explaining some of the methods used by doctors for diagnosing spinal cord injury. The article will also educate you on different treatment options available to fix spinal cord injury.

Diagnostic Tests for Spinal Cord Injury

Feeling pain in the back can be an indicator of several medical conditions. It could be a minor issue like a strain in the muscle or it could be as serious as getting Spinal Stenosis which refers to the narrowing of spaces within your spine that leads to extreme pain.

You might also want to read: What are the Most Common Causes of Back Pain at a Young age?

Diagnosis often starts with physical examination like muscle movement and reflex. However, the only way to ensure if the pain in your back is due to an injury to the spinal cord is to run diagnostic tests. Following are some of the diagnostic tests your doctor is likely to recommend;

X-rays

X-ray tests can reveal if there are any fractures, tumors, degenerative changes, or other similar problems in the bones of the spine. However, an X-ray cannot give a detailed picture of the scanned area. For that purpose, doctors use a more sophisticated test i.e., CT Scan.

CT Scan

A Computed Tomography scan sends radiation through a patient’s body and returns a computerized 360-degree view of the spine structure. Scans obtained by CT tests provide a detailed view, unlike X-ray scans, subtle fractures and blood clots are also visible. 

MRI

MRI uses strong magnetic and radio waves to take the picture of the spine and reveal abnormalities. It is a more advanced test as compared to CT scan as it can also differentiate between types of tissues and abnormalities in them. Both CT scans and MRI scans are used to diagnose spinal injuries, however, since MRI uses magnetic fields, patients with metal implants are recommended CT scans to avoid any potential implications. 

After diagnosis, the doctor will share reports with you. Spinal injuries are classified based on the  ASIA (American Spinal Injury Association) spine impairment scale. This scale has five categories each representing a different level of injury and thus required treatment.

Treatments for Spinal Cord Injury

Based on the diagnosis, the doctor will assess the severity of your medical condition and recommend different surgical procedures. In the following section, we will be discussing some of the most common spinal cord surgical treatments.

1. Spinal Fusion

Spinal fusion is also carried out to cure degenerative disc disease. Both artificial disc replacement and spinal fusion achieve the same treatment goals and it is the doctor who decides what’s good for you.

Procedure

As the name suggests, in Spinal Fusion neurosurgeons fuse a patient’s spine bones with the aid of a bone graft. Once the spine is healed, two or more vertebral bones fuse into a single bone.

2. Artificial Disc Replacement

Our spinal discs deteriorate over time due to wear and tear. Due to some reasons, some people might get a degenerated disc earlier in their lives. Artificial disc replacement is carried out to replace such discs.

Procedure

The neurosurgeon will get access to your spine by making an incision in your abdomen. The degenerate disc is then replaced with an artificial disc. An artificial disc is carefully designed to support all kinds of motions a normal spine would do.  

3. Lumbar Laminectomy Surgery

Laminectomy surgery is usually performed to treat spinal stenosis in which the spinal canal gets narrow putting pressure on the neighboring nerves. It results in extreme pain in the back going all the way down to the legs. The patient also feels numbness and tingling in other parts of the body like the feet.

Procedure

The neurosurgeon removes a small section of the bone (known as lamina) from your back to create space. It creates room for the spinal nerves that relieve the pressure that was previously put on due to the lack of space. 

4. Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MIIS)

It is not a type of spine surgery, it is rather a technique that can be used to perform any spine surgery mentioned above with minimal invasion. It requires sophisticated endoscopic tools and advanced skills of a doctor to perform minimally invasive surgery.

Procedure

During MIIS, the surgeon inserts a device (tubular retractor) into the patient’s body by making a small incision. This device helps the doctor to reach the affected part by gently pushing the muscle and tissues aside. The device carries a camera with it to view the inside of the body on a monitor. The surgery can be performed once the device reaches the area to be treated.

There are several benefits of MIIS over open surgery;

  • No major muscle cutting
  • Smaller incision
  • Faster recovery
  • The rehabilitation period is small
  • Less pain
  • Less risky

Talk to the Best Neurosurgeon in Los Angeles

Here at Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery, Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe provides healthcare services to patients suffering from spine injuries. She has successfully operated on several patients over the years who now enjoy good health. You can read her patient’s feedback on Healthgrades and Yelp.

Picture of a spine showing healthy and herniated discs

Why do People Get a Herniated Disc?

Your spine is composed of 33 individual bones (known as vertebrae) stacked over each other in the shape of a staircase. The bones are interlocked and have 23 vertebral discs between them that provide cushioning and also work as shock absorbers to protect the spine. These discs are round-shaped with a thick outer layer (known as annulus) and a soft gel-like center from the inside (known as nucleus).
A herniated disc occurs when the soft gel-like structure or nucleus pushes out through the annulus due to a crack or a tear in it. This creates a bulge within the spinal canal. Since the spinal canal has limited room, it cannot accommodate spinal nerves and a herniated disc at the same time. As a result, a herniated disc puts pressure on the nearby spinal nerves causing the patient to feel pain and numbness. This can happen in any part of the spine, however, it is most commonly found to occur in the lower spine.

Pinpointing the cause of a herniated disc is easier said than done. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to the herniation of a disc but it is difficult to know the exact reason why people get a herniated disc. With that being said, in what follows, we will explain the major causes of a herniated disc identified by medical science. You will also be educated on the prevention and possible treatments of a herniated disc.

Herniated Disc due to Aging

With aging, it is natural to experience wear and tear in different parts of the body. The spine is no exception! Over the years, due to use or misuse of the spine, the outer layer of a spinal disc gets brittle making it more vulnerable to ruptures and cracks. There comes a point when it is no longer able to hold the nucleus inside it. With a little pressure, the nucleus finds its way through the ruptured annulus and makes a bulge within the spinal canal. It is common for people to show signs of disc herniation in the age bracket of 30-40 depending upon their physical condition.

Herniated Disc due to an Injury

One of the reasons to develop a herniated disc at an early age is damage to the spine due to some injury. A spine can be injured in a lot of ways;

  • During a Car or motorbike accident
  • While lifting heavy weights in an improper form
  • Athletes who participate in extreme sports like American football and wrestling
  • Involuntary Jerks

These reasons and some others expedite the wear and tear of the disc and thus making patients more susceptible to developing a herniated disc.

Genetics

According to research published in the European Spine Journal, the risk of getting a herniated or degenerative disc can be increased due to genetic predispositions. It means that people can inherit certain traits from their families which make them more susceptible to developing degenerative disc diseases. Families with a history of spinal issues must be more cautious about their spine health.

Physical Activities Causing Disc Herniation

The spine is one of the basic components of our body and we use it in almost every physical activity we perform. These acts, if performed inappropriately, put pressure on the spine resulting in its deterioration. These acts include;

A man riding bicycle showing sign of herniated disc
  • Driving for long periods. Some people drive for hours without rest like truck drivers, courier guys, and chauffeurs. They develop back problems sooner than other people.
  • Being physically inactive for months also causes stiffness of the spine. It also leads to obesity which puts more pressure on the spine than it can bear.
  • Exercising without maintaining proper form. A lot of spinal injuries happen in gyms where people lift heavy weights without the guidance of professional trainers.
  • Walking, jogging, or running on a bumpy and uneven surface also damages the spine
  • According to some doctors, smoking decreases the oxygen supply to the body which makes the spine deteriorate faster.
  • Nature of occupation. Nowadays, most people are required to sit in front of computer screens for hours to do their job. Sitting for long periods in a chair can be problematic for spine health.

Treatments for Herniated Disc

Depending upon different factors like physical health, age, and severity of damage, different kinds of treatment options are available. Mainly, these treatments are divided into surgical and nonsurgical treatments.

Non-surgical Treatments

Healthcare professionals usually start with conservative treatments to heal a herniated disc. Based on the diagnosis, doctors design a rehabilitation program for the patient that includes all or some of the following;

  • Gentle massage of specific body parts
  • Physical therapies
  • Ice and heat therapy
  • Electrical muscle stimulation
  • Pelvic tractions
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Depending upon the severity of the pain, the doctor can recommned you anti-inflammatory medicines.

Surgical Treatments

The doctor keeps the patient under observation during the non-surgical procedures. If the patient does not show any signs of recovery or the pain returns after the treatment, the the doctor puts patient to surgical treatment. There are different surgical treatments available to treat herniated discs.

The surgeon might also suggest replacing the disc through Artificial Disc Replacement Surgery as a permanent solution to the problem.

See Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe in Los Angeles for Spinal Surgery

If you are looking for a neurosurgeon for the treatment of your herniated disc, you don’t need to search anymore. Here at Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery, Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe provides top-quality healthcare services to patients with Herniated discs or any other back problems. She is an experienced neurosurgeon with top-rated profiles on platforms like Healthgrades and Yelp. You can easily schedule an appointment with her by filling out a contact form available on the website or you can directly call (213) 369-4583 and speak to someone at the facility.

Sportsman feeling back pain at a park

What are the Most Common Causes of Back Pain at a Young age?

According to a report published in 2019, 58.9% percent of adults living in the US suffer from pain of one type or the other. Out of these people, the most number of patients are of back pain i.e., 39%. There are a number of reasons why people start experiencing back pain at a very young age. It has to do with their lifestyles, habits, physical activities, disc problems, joint problems, and postures. In what follows, we have explained the most common causes of back pain at a young age.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc refers to the condition in which the material inside the disc herniates or squeezes out putting pressure on the neighboring nerves. As a result, nerves get pinched and patients feel pain, numbness, and weakness near the infected area. 

There are several reasons why people develop herniated disc at a very young age;

  • It can be due to an injury from an accident
  • It can be due to lifting heavy objects or putting stress on the back
  • Being physically inactive is also one of the common causes of a herniated disc in young people

A Herniated disc can occur anywhere along the spine, however, it is most commonly found in the lower back. The back pain due to a herniated disc is usually accompanied by pain in other areas like the calf, thigh, and buttock as well. It is also possible that you do not feel any symptoms at all and still have the herniated disc therefore, the only way to tell if you have herniated disc or not is by conducting an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) of the suspected area. As far as the treatments are concerned, surgery is normally not required and the pain caused by the herniated disc vanishes within a couple of months. However, if you feel that the pain is traveling down to your legs and to nearby body parts, perhaps it is time to see a doctor.

Degenerative Disc

It is also known as Juvenile Degenerative Disc and is often confused with a herniated disc. Degenerative disc disease is a long-term condition in which the fluid in the disc dries out causing a lack of cushioning between the bones of your spine. On the contrary, in the herniated disc the fluid is present for cushioning but it creates a bulge due to injury or wrong movement. Patients with degenerative disc feel as if the bone is rubbing on bone within the spine. It makes the body movement hard and causes persistent lower back pain. 

With aging, people start developing signs of the degenerative disc as the fluid starts to dry out in the early 40s or later 50s. However, young people can also get a degenerative disc due to genetic disposition or wear and tear of the body. Athletes who are involved in combat sports or weight lifting are more prone to degenerate their discs in their early 30s or 40s.

You might also want to read: Is Disc Replacement Surgery Safe?

Back Pain due to Strains and Sprains

A business man suffering from back pain

Strains and sprains are the result of undue pressure on your muscles and overstretching of the ligaments. A strain is different from a sprain in terms of the area affected. If you have overstretched a tendon, it’s a strain whereas, in the case of a sprain, one or more ligaments are overstretched. Another difference is that sprain causes bruises and strain leads to muscle spasms. It normally happens to the people who are involved in exercises that are overly strenuous. Such exercises involve lifting heavy weights or putting sudden pressure on the spine. In such situations, the spine of the person is normally safe, it is the muscle and the ligaments that are injured.

In most cases, surgery is not required and patients can be treated with physical therapies. The doctor may also recommend some painkillers to make the pain go away. Although it depends upon the level of damage, in most cases patients recover within 2 weeks of the injury. During this time period, every kind of exercise that is not recommended by the doctor should be avoided. Surgical treatment is not generally required, however, if the muscle is completely ruptured or the tendon is torn, surgery becomes inevitable.

Poor Posture Causing Back Pain

A business woman sitting in a chair with hand on her back showing signs of back pain

Young people are more likely to develop back problems because of their posture and everyday activities like walking, sitting, bending, lifting, and standing than any other reason. People nowadays spend a big chunk of their time in front of computer screens for their work or study. If a proper posture is not maintained during this time, it can lead to serious back and neck problems. Following are some common poor postural habits;

  • Slouching on an office chair or couch
  • Lifting heavy objects without bending knees
  • Using a laptop while lying in bed
  • Running imbalances
  • Poor form in the gym during weight lifting

These habits lead to all kinds of back problems including herniated disc, degenerative disc, and spondylosis. Back conditions arising due to poor posture are treated with exercises and physical therapies. However, if the required adjustments are not done to the posture, it can lead to a serious medical condition to be treated by surgical procedure.

When You Should See the Doctor

You can try at-home remedies for your back pain if it is not very severe and does not last for more than 3 days. However, if the pain persists and is accompanied by other symptoms like fever, numbness, trauma, tingling, and loss of bladder function, it is perhaps better to consult a doctor. You can go to your doctor for diagnosis and he/she will tell you if you need to see a spine specialist or a neurosurgeon for further treatment.

See Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe for Back Pain

Experiencing persistent back pain at a young age can be a sign of injury to the spinal cord. It is important that you timely see a doctor for early diagnosis to prevent yourself from bigger trouble. Here at Southern California Brain & Spine Surgery, Dr. Moksha Ranasinghe provides healthcare services to patients suffering from Brain and Spine diseases. She is an experienced neurosurgeon who has treated hundreds of patients over the years. You can get in touch with her by filling out the contact form or calling (213) 369-4583