Neck & Back Specialist

Urgently Ortho

Orthopedic Urgent Care & Sports Medicine Clinic

Neck & Back Q & A

Neck and back problems are some of the most common orthopedic conditions, causing pain and reduced mobility for millions of Americans every year. If you’re experiencing any form of back pain, contact Ephraim Dickinson, MD and Brieana Brady, PA-C at Urgently Ortho in San Francisco. Dr. Dickinson and the team provide out-of-hours and at-home services for all orthopedic conditions, so call them today or book an appointment online.

What causes neck and back pain?

There are numerous possible causes of neck and back pain. When you experience a sudden onset of pain, especially low back pain, while engaged in physical activity, the likely cause is a ligament or tendon sprain or a strained muscle. These acute injuries are often caused by:

  • Lifting heavy weights
  • Using unsafe lifting and carrying techniques
  • Exceeding current fitness levels
  • Making the same movements repeatedly
  • Moving awkwardly or too quickly
  • Muscle strains
  • Tendon or ligament sprains
  • Muscle tension caused by stress and anxiety

Keeping fit, adopting the correct posture, and observing safe manual handling techniques can prevent many of these types of injuries. Other common causes of back and neck pain include:

  • Falls and trips
  • Herniated disks (slipped disc)
  • Scoliosis (curved spine)
  • Osteoporosis (brittle bones)
  • Neuropathic pain conditions
  • Joint wear
  • Pinched nerves
  • Sciatica
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Compressed nerves
  • Bone spurs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Whiplash injuries
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis

Acute injuries, such as a pinched nerve in the neck or strained muscles, can heal completely with correct treatment, but degenerative conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis can cause chronic back and neck pain.

What are the best treatments for back and neck pain?

You can ease the discomfort of mild, acute attacks of pain by following some simple self-care advice.

  • Don’t take to your bed; rest your back but keep moving.
  • Don’t repeat whatever activity you were doing when the injury occurred.
  • Perform gentle exercise to keep your body moving and prevent it from stiffening.
  • Follow a gentle stretching program.
  • Apply heat packs to the affected area.

If these home remedies aren’t helping, or your pain is more than mild discomfort, contact Urgently Ortho to book an assessment.

Treatments available include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Heat and ice
  • Massage therapy
  • Rehabilitation exercises
  • Ultrasound therapy

There’s also a range of medications that may help relieve pain and inflammation:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Topical pain relievers
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Cortisone injections

Strong painkillers that belong to a class of drugs known as opioids may be effective, but there are restrictions on their use due to their addictive properties.

Surgery is only advisable when all other treatment methods haven’t resolved the problem; for example, where there is disc herniation, or if there is nerve compression.

The treatment approach used is decided after careful consideration of your medical history and symptoms, to find the most effective solution for your back and neck pain. Dr. Dickinson and the Urgently Ortho team provide out-of-hours and at-home services for all orthopedic back and neck conditions, so call them today or book an appointment online.

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