Back Pain

Treated by Top Pain Doctors in San Antonio, Austin, Houston, Dallas, Texas

Back Pain treated by top doctors in Tyler, Longview, Lufkin & Sulphur, TexasBack Pain is one of the most common neurological ailments in America, second only to headaches affecting approximately 15-20% of the population at any given time (Jones et al, 2010; National Institutes of Health, 2011). It affects men and women equally, meaning that almost everyone will experience a bout of back pain at one point. Back pain can interfere with normal daily activities and is the leading cause of missed workdays and job related disability (National Institutes of Health, 2011). It is estimated that in the United States at least $50 billion dollars is spent on treating back pain every year (National Institutes of Health, 2011). While most back pain resolves itself in a few days, some cases require medical attention or even surgical intervention.

Back pain can manifest as either acute, lasting days or weeks, or chronic, lingering for more than three months (National Institutes of Health, 2011). It can result from a physical trauma, mechanical causes or medical disorder. Common back pain traumas include vehicular accidents, work-related injuries, stress on spine and muscles, sports injury, herniated disc or strain (National Institutes of Health, 2011). Medical Disorders that cause back pain are degeneration, arthritis, disc disease, viral infections, osteoporosis, bone diseases, congenital abnormalities, nerve tissue damage, vascular dysfunction, infection, malignancy, or joint or disc irritation (Jones et al, 2010; Lin, 2009; National Institutes of Health, 2011).

Back pain symptoms can affect lower, mid or upper back, and can include sudden, stabbing pains, muscle aches, tenderness, numbness, tingling, limited flexibility, sharp shooting pains, stiffness, inability to stand straight and restricted range of motion (National Institutes of Health, 2011). Pain may also radiate to other areas or become aggravated with physical activity (Jones et al, 2010). Any of these symptoms can worsen if left untreated by a qualified physician (National Institutes of Health, 2011).

Serious back pain conditions that may indicate serious pathology require immediate medical attention and include fever, weight loss, numbness or tingling, progressive weakness in legs, chronic, progressive pain lasting more than three months, bladder control issues, bowel dysfunction, pain when coughing, or pain that radiates down the legs (Jones et al, 2010; National Institutes of Health, 2011; Nidus Information Services, 2010). Patients presenting these conditions should seek emergency medical treatment from a specialist to avoid permanent injury (National Institutes of Health, 2011).

Complete back pain evaluations are required in order to properly diagnose and treat back pain. A qualified physician will take a comprehensive history, perform a full neurological workup and complete a thorough physical examination. Additional tests, scans or images may be ordered to diagnose injury, disc herniation, bone infections, tumors, fractures, ruptured or bulging disc, malignancy, spinal stenosis, vertebral damage, degeneration, or broken bones (Jones et al, 2010; Lin, 2009; National Institutes of Health, 2011).

Back pain treatments aim to improve functioning and physical activity, as well as relieve, reduce or eliminate any pain involved (Lin, 2009). Conservative back pain treatment methods typically eliminate pain within a few weeks (Jones et al, 2010; National Institutes of Health, 2011). There are a variety of common conservative back pain treatment methods (Jones et al, 2010; Lin, 2009; National Institutes of Health, 2011). Physicians may prescribe muscle relaxants, anticonvulsants (may treat nerve pain), antidepressants (relieves pain and aids in sleep), or pain medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, naproxen, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine (National Institutes of Health, 2011). Physical therapy and exercise may be recommended to stretch and relax muscles, strengthen the back, and speed recovery (National Institutes of Health, 2011). Lifestyle adjustments may be necessary to reduce risk factors, avoid further injury, lose weight to decrease strain, and eliminate strenuous activities that aggravate pain. Alternative therapies may be prescribed for pain management such as massage, acupuncture, biofeedback or yoga (National Institutes of Health, 2011).

If conservative back pain treatments are ineffective, physicians may choose other more aggressive pain management procedures. Interventional therapy reduces or eliminates pain by blocking the nerves that transmit pain signals to the brain (National Institutes of Health, 2011). This procedure involves injecting narcotics, steroids, or local anesthetics into nerves, joints or soft tissues to alleviate pain (National Institutes of Health, 2011). Nerve blocks, spinal cord stimulation, or drugs administered by catheter into the spinal cord may be recommended as further options for extreme pain (National Institutes of Health, 2011). Surgical options such as spinal fusion, discectomy, rhizotomy, cordotomy, foraminotomy or spinal laminectomy are used in cases of extreme chronic back pain or pathology (National Institutes of Health, 2011).


  1. Jones, R.; et al. (2010). Back Pain. First Consult. MD Consult Web site, Core Collection. Retrieved from
  2. Lin, M. (2009). UpperBackPain. Marx: Rosen’s Emergency Medicine, 7th Ed. MD Consult Web site, Core Collection. Retrieved from–s0220&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&sid=1175026577&uniqId=262415626-3#4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..00051-7–s0220.
  3. National Institutes of Health 2011. LowBackPain Fact Sheet. NINDS. Available at NIH Publication No. 03-5161
  4. Nidus Information Services 2010: LowBackPain – Chronic. Patient Handouts page. MD Consult Web site, Core Collection. Available at Accessed January 14, 2011