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Neck and Back Pain

What is Neck Pain?

Neck pain is common and can occur anywhere in your neck, from the bottom of your head to the top of your shoulders.Neck pain can also spread to your upper back or arms and may limit your movement of your head and neck.

What Causes Neck Pain?

Most neck pain is caused by activities that strain the neck. Slouching or sleeping with your neck twisted are some actions that can cause neck pain. These kinds of activities can lead to neck strain, a sprain, or a spasm of the neck muscles.

Neck pain can also be caused by an injury or other medical problems.

Common Neck Pain Conditions

  • Neck Pain – Pain located in the neck usually at the back or sides.

  • Cervical Spondylosis – Cervical spine is made up of bones (vertebraes) with cushions (discs) between them. As we grow older, the bones and the discs will degenerate.

  • Whiplash Injury – Whiplash injury occurs when there is a sudden jolt to the head and neck for example in a car accident, which causes either a forward, backward, or sideways movement of the head that is beyond the normal range of motion.

  • Cervical Radiculopathy – A nerve root injury is sometimes referred to as a “pinched” nerve. The medical term for this condition is cervical radiculopathy.

What are the Symptoms for Neck Pain?

You may feel tightness, stiffness, or severe pain in your neck. The pain may spread to your shoulders, upper back, or arms. You may get a headache. You may not be able to move or turn your head and neck as normal. If there is pressure on a spinal nerve root , you might have pain that shoots down your arm. You may also have numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arm.

How is Neck Pain Diagnosed?

During the physical examination, our specialist will check the range of movement of your neck. He will look for signs of tingling sensation or numbness in your arms or hands.

Our neck specialist may refer you for and X-ray or MRI scans to check the neck’s soft tissues, nerves, spinal discs and ligaments. The result of this scans will provide an in-depth view of your neck.

How is Neck Pain Treated?

  • Anti-inflammatory medicine and Muscle Relaxants – First line of treatment for painful neck.
  • Cortisone injection – Helps to reduce the inflammation. Suitable for pain in a localised area.
  • Physiotherapy – Ultrasound and traction can be applied to reduce the neck pain symptoms.
  • Surgery – May be done if your pain is caused by a medical problem, such as pressure on the spinal nerve roots, a tumor, or narrowing of the spinal canal.

About Lower Back Pain

Back pain is very common, with around one in three of us getting back pain every year. It’s usually the lower back that’s affected.

Lower back pain can happen anywhere below the ribs and above the legs. It is possible to hurt your back when you lift, reach, or twist. In fact, almost everyone has lower back pain at some point.

Your back has many interconnecting structures, including bones, joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons. Its main support structure is the spine, which is made up of 24 separate bones called vertebrae, plus the bones of the sacrum and coccyx. Between the vertebrae are discs that act as shock absorber and allow your spine to bend. Your spinal cord threads down through the central canal of each vertebra, carrying nerves from your brain to the rest of your body.

It’s often very difficult to know exactly what causes back pain, but it’s usually thought to be related to a strain in one of the interconnecting structures in your back, rather than a nerve problem.

Symptoms of Lower Back Pain

The symptoms of back pain varies. Back pain may come on suddenly, perhaps after you’ve lifted something heavy, or it may come on gradually over time. Some people with back pain also have pain down one leg, or into the buttock or groin. This is sometimes called sciatica.

You’ll probably find that the pain is worse when you move, and better when you lie down. This may make it hard for you to carry out your usual day-to-day activities, and you may find it difficult to sleep well.

When Should I see a Back Pain Specialist?

See a doctor if the pain is severe or gets worse over time, or if it doesn’t start to improve after a few weeks.

A rare but serious problem called cauda equina syndrome can occur if the nerves at the end of the spinal cord are squeezed. Seek medical treatment if you have weakness or numbness in both legs or you lose bladder or bowel control.

Causes of Lower Back Pain

For most people with back pain, there isn’t any specific, underlying problem or condition that can be identified as the cause of the back pain. However, there are a number of factors that can increase your risk of developing back pain, or aggravate it once you have it. These include:

  • standing, sitting or bending down for long periods
  • lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling loads that are too heavy, or doing these tasks in the wrong way
  • having a trip or a fall
  • having poor posture

There may be other, more serious underlying causes of your lower back pain. They include:

  • COMPRESSION FRACTURE – A weakened spinal bone (vertebra) may fracture and collapse (compress) because of a minor injury or without an obvious injury,due to osteoporosis.
  • A SLIPPED DISC – this is when a disc bulges so far out that it puts pressure on your spinal nerves.

Diagnosis of Back Pain

If, however, your symptoms don’t improve after a few weeks, you may need to have:

  • an X-ray
  • a CT scan (a test that uses X-ray equipment and computer software to create pictures of the inside of your body)
  • an MRI scan (a test that uses magnets and radio waves to produce images of the inside of the body)
  • blood tests

These tests are used to find out if you have a more specific, underlying cause for your back pain.

Treatment of Back Pain

Medicines for Back Pain

Many patients benefit from medication, which relieves low back pain and reduces inflammation or muscle spasms. Specific Medications maybe prescribed for the treatment of the nerve pain as well.

Physical Therapies for Back Pain

We may refer you for physical therapy to help with your back pain. Treatment can involve exercises, posture advice, massage, and techniques known as spinal mobilisation and spinal manipulation. Treatment courses usually last about six to twelve weeks.

Spinal Injection

This spinal injection is a safe and conservative treatment for lower back pain. There is no downtime involve and treatment can be done in the clinic or in the hospital.

Spine Surgery

Back pain, even if it’s chronic, can usually be treated or managed successfully, but about one in 10 people have ongoing problems. Back surgery is really only considered as a last resort if the pain is related to a specific cause.

Prevention of Back Pain

Good back care can greatly reduce your risk of getting low back pain. To look after your back, make sure you:

  • take regular exercise – walking and swimming are particularly beneficial
  • try to keep your stress levels to a minimum
  • bend from your knees and hips, not your back
  • maintain good posture – keep your shoulders back and don’t slouch
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