Back pain comes in multiple forms and can impact people differently. It can feel like a dull throbbing after sitting all day or a sharp pain from lifting a heavy object. Some people live with back pain throughout the day while others have sudden spasms that leave them unable to move.
Dr. Todd H. Lanman, a leading spinal neurosurgeon in the Los Angeles area, works with patients to reduce their back pain and regain their mobility. As an expert in helping people understand their conditions, he determines the underlying causes of their discomfort and develops long-term solutions.
Degenerative disc disease and other sources of spinal pain are extremely common and ones Dr. Lanman sees every day as he helps the residents of Los Angeles achieve spinal health. Here are a few sources of back pain along with solutions to help you reduce your discomfort.
There are multiple causes of back pain that can affect patients in different ways. The pain can travel to your lower, middle, or upper back and can even spread into your shoulders. The source of the pain comes from lifestyle factors as well as genetic factors that are out of your control. An active, seemingly healthy adult can still experience back pain, no matter how well they care for themselves.
There are two key types of back pain that you may experience:
Understanding the cause of your back pain can help your doctor know whether the discomfort you feel is acute or chronic. From there, you can identify why you are in so much pain and the best course of action to resolve it.
Poor posture places added stress on your spine. When you sit with your shoulders hunched and your head down, your spine becomes curved. This places an additional burden on the spinal discs that separate each vertebra. Unfortunately, many Americans are prone to poor posture. They sit at desks for several hours each day, slouched in front of computer screens. Even kids and teens can experience back pain from staring down at their phones, a condition known as Text Neck or Tech Neck.
If your job requires a lot of heavy lifting, moving objects, and staying on your feet throughout the day, you may experience back pain that occurs when you lift items that are too heavy or when you lift them improperly. By lifting with the legs, instead of the back, it’s possible to reduce the strain on your back.
Job-related factors can also lead to muscle overuse, which happens when repeated motions or prolonged strain wear out the back muscles. A common example is a pitcher who wears out an arm muscle from throwing too much without proper rest.
Standing throughout the day can also place stress on the spine, especially if you don’t have footwear with the right support.
People who are less physically fit are more likely to experience back pain than those who exercise regularly. This is because exercise helps build up back muscles that support the spine and improve posture.
The type of exercise that you do can also impact your likelihood of back pain. People who are sedentary during the week and then work out to extreme levels on the weekends are more likely to feel pain or injure themselves than people who perform moderate levels of exercise throughout the week.
Everyone ages differently, and you may notice that back pain starts to become more common as you get older. Many people start to notice chronic back pain between the ages of 30 to 50, with the pain worsening over time.
Age alone doesn’t cause back pain. As you get older, your bones become weaker and you may develop osteoporosis which can lead to fractures. Your muscle elasticity and tone decrease, causing soreness. Loss of fluid in your intervertebral discs can cause them to crack or wear, leaving you in pain.
Some people are more predisposed to back pain than others. There are genetic conditions, like degenerative disc disease or ankylosing spondylitis (a form of arthritis) that can limit mobility and make movement painful, and these conditions can affect both young and old people.
There may be one leading cause that contributes to your back pain, but it’s more likely that multiple factors affect how you feel. For example, age, coupled with poor posture, can create chronic back pain that remains long after you get up from your desk at work.
There are multiple ways to treat back pain, which Dr. Lanman will review with you. The first step is to get to the source of the issue. If the problem is related to a poor chair at work or a lack of movement during the day, Dr. Lanman will recommend making these lifestyle changes.
Once there is a clear understanding of where the back pain comes from, Dr. Lanman will move forward with a course of treatment. These treatments range from basic pain management to physical therapy to advanced spinal surgery.
With basic pain management, you may be asked to apply heat or ice to your back throughout the day. This will warm up the muscles or reduce inflammation, depending on where the pain is located. Dr. Lanman may also recommend pain relief or anti-inflammatory medication to reduce discomfort.
Targeted movements can also help with back pain. Physical therapy is often a useful tool to strengthen your core muscles and adjust your posture. Dr. Lanman may introduce a few key physical therapy exercises that can help you strengthen your back. In some cases, he may recommend meeting with a physical therapist who can guide you through these exercises and monitor your progress.
Along with pain reduction, Dr. Lanman’s basic treatment plan will also help increase your mobility. He will walk you through a few basic stretches and light exercises that are meant to help you increase your movements.
If your pain persists despite these treatment options, you may be a qualified candidate for spinal surgery. In this process, Dr. Lanman will conduct an artificial disc replacement – removing the damaged spinal discs that cause you pain and replacing them with artificial ones. This process is proven to reduce back pain and give patients their mobility back.
Dr. Lanman and his associates will do their best to treat your back pain without surgery. They will look for ways to reduce your mobility and eliminate discomfort with the help of exercise and medication. However, there are some cases when surgery is the best option to reduce the patient’s pain.
Each spinal surgery is scheduled on a case-by-case basis. Dr. Lanman will meet with you, discuss your treatment options, and run a series of tests to better understand the state of your spine. If you are a candidate for spinal surgery, Dr. Lanman will move forward to treat your pain.
Artificial disc replacement surgery requires a small incision in the neck or belly. While advances in surgical technology reduce the potential for infection and recovery time involved, patients who receive the surgery still need to prepare for potential risks. They need to follow Dr. Lanman’s post-operation guidelines to live a pain-free future.
If you live in the Los Angeles area, you don’t have to suffer from back pain. There are dedicated treatment options to help you reduce pain and increase mobility. Work with a nationally renowned surgeon who continues to pioneer advancements in spinal care. Contact Dr. Lanman to learn how he can help resolve the underlying issues behind your condition and empower you to live without back pain.
About Dr. Lanman Dr. Lanman, founder of Lanman Spinal Neurosurgery and ADR, is a leading specialist in the advancement of spine health, spinal surgery, and restoring mobility, with a focus on 4D Health. He has led clinical trials in Advanced Disc Replacement that have led to FDA pre-market approval for devices that provide lasting pain relief for patients suffering from a spinal injury, as well as increased mobility for patients who have undergone past fusion surgeries. Named among the Top Doctors in America, as well as one of L.A’s Top Doctors by The Hollywood Reporter, Dr. Lanman is internationally renowned and sought after by professional actors, musicians, athletes, CEOs, and dignitaries, who travel thousands of miles to be treated in his care. A leading innovator in medicine, as well as a media educator and contributor, Dr. Lanman is dedicated to sharing his considerable expertise, serving as an assistant clinical professor at UCLA for over 20 years.