Back Pain

About Back Pain

Back pain refers to pain experienced in any parts of the upper, middle or—most commonly—lower back. There are several structures in the back known to cause pain, but identifying the exact cause can be difficult since all of the possible pain generators can cause the same sensation of pain—there is nothing unique about pain that comes from a disc or facet joint. Moreover, your pain can be experienced in a location distant from the actual source. As with Neck Pain, finding the correct underlying cause of the Back Pain–the “pain generator”– is the most important step in providing effective treatment for your back.

Common Causes of Back Pain

Imaging tests can show many anatomical and structural abnormalities, but can be misleading as to identifying the correct pain generator. It is also important to keep in mind that while pain in the back, buttocks and legs often go together, they can have the same or separate sources. Pain can arise from spinal structures such as the discs, joints (facet and sacroiliac), or spinal nerves, as well as ligaments, muscles, and peripheral nerves. Common diagnoses of back pain include, but are not limited to:

  • Spinal stenosis
  • Herniated or bulging discs
  • Scar tissue after surgery
  • Sciatica, or pain down the leg
  • Arthritis, Degeneration, or injury of the joints in the spine
  • Degenerative Disc Disease

Treatment of Back Pain

Effective treatment of back pain begins with specific diagnosis. This requires careful examination by Dr. Greenberg, review of imaging such as X-rays or MRI, and at times the use of specialized diagnostic testing, including nerve blocks or discography to identify the source of pain.
Once a diagnosis is established, treatment options include: