Discover the root cause of your back pain and get lasting relief through regenerative medicine techniques.
Back pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical attention. At any given time, nearly 31 million people in America are suffering from back pain. Depending on the cause of your back pain, your symptoms can be mild to incredibly severe and debilitating. While it is common to seek help for back pain, it’s an unfortunate fact that gaps in the modern healthcare system prevent many patients from getting the pain relief that’s possible. This can be frustrating and lead people to misbelieve they are broken beyond repair or things like arthritis and disc disease are life-sentences. Fortunately, regenerative specialists often have greater insight (and success) in treating back pain.
Why X-Rays and MRIs Don’t Always Reveal the Cause of Pain
Doctors want to get a better picture of what is going on beneath the surface. Thanks to technology, like X-ray and MRI, we can see skeletal structures like never before. This is both a good thing and a bad thing.
Advanced imaging is great because it enables doctors to see what is happening with each patient’s bones and nerves. This can obviously help further examine and discover the cause of pain.
However, not all the structures in the spine are visible in X-rays and MRIs. This can lead doctors to focus solely on the things they can see (like bone, joints, and discs) in areas where you are experiencing pain. As a result, X-rays and MRIs can lead to a misdiagnosis rather than revealing the root cause of your back pain.
The Spine is a Complex Structure
If you have ever seen an image of the human spine, you can see right away that it is a complex and intricate structure. The spinal anatomy is divided into three main sections, which are the cervical (upper), the thoracic (middle), and the lumbar (lower) spine. Each of these sections is made up of individual bones, called vertebrae, which stack on top of each other to form a flexible and strong column of support.
The vertebrae are each made up of several parts as well which provide support and stability to each main section of the spine, as well as protection to the spinal cord and nerves. Between each vertebrae, there are intervertebral discs that provide a cushion between the bones. There are also a great number of tendons, ligaments, and muscles in the back and spine that help provide even more support and stability.
With so many interwoven parts, it should be clear to see how the potential for spinal injuries and severe pain is so high. How can you know what is causing your back pain? That’s the real question.
What Causes Back Pain?
Because the focus is often on discs and nerves, it leads to a common misconception that bulging or herniated discs are the main cause of back pain. However, the leading cause of back pain is often something that can’t be seen on an X-ray.
As mentioned before, there are many tendons and ligaments in the spine. There are also tendons and ligaments in your ankle. If you have ever rolled or sprained your ankle, you know how painful that can be. Even though the bones themselves are not broken, the acute tissue damage can feel quite severe.
Like your ankle, it is possible to sprain the tendons and ligaments in your back. In fact, it is the most common reason for the initial onset of back pain. For example, it is very easy to sprain your back by using poor lifting techniques or even natural aging processes that weaken our underlying support systems. Our bodies have a natural tendency to protect and support the spine. So when something is injured, it can cause other muscles and tissue to tighten up and overcompensate for the weakened area. This causes a gripping or cramping sensation, which can result in even more intense pain and set off a domino effect that culminates in damaged discs and arthritic joints.
What’s Different About the Regenerative Medicine Approach?
While regenerative specialists also look at the “hard structures” in the spine, we also look closely at the soft structures. The Wellward team uses ultrasound machines to see these muscles and ligaments. This enables us to more accurately assess any damage that might be present in the spine. Ultrasound enables us to find the root cause of your back pain so we can create the right treatment plan for your recovery.
For example, we may need to rebuild, hydrate, or address tears in a disc. We may have to look at joints to see if they are arthritic or unstable. We also closely examine all the soft tissue that isn’t present on other imaging to see if there are any instabilities that need to be corrected.
Once we know what is causing the problem, then we can employ the right regenerative therapy. Some common treatment options for back pain are Prolotherapy, Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), and Stem Cell-based Injections.
Another common cause of back pain is spinal stenosis. This is a condition that causes the narrowing of the spinal canal, which puts pressure on the spinal cord. It can cause immense pain often extending into the legs. In the past, invasive back surgery was the only treatment option for lumbar spinal stenosis. Today, the Wellward team can evaluate your condition and offer a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that can cure the pain caused by spinal stenosis without surgery, stitches, opioids, or intense therapy. Most patients recover and return to normal activities within 24 hours.
Isn’t it time for you to get relief from back pain? Contact us today to get set up with an appointment so we can help you recover.