Author Archives: admin

Your Back, Your Choice

Back issues plague millions of Americans every year. Some issues can be resolved with rest. Sometimes, your primary-care physician may just recommend physical therapy and pain medication. Then there are the times when you need a little more expertise. Your physician usually refers you to a random specialist in your insurance network. But is that really your best option?

Back issues can affect nearly every aspect of your everyday activities — from sitting to standing to lying down. So, getting the best opinion with the most up-to-date methods and research can make the difference between living with some level of discomfort and truly recovering. The experts at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) specialize in all things concerning your back and spine. Choose SSI for the best care.

Why You Should Choose SSI

While most spine specialists have routine protocols for your back treatment, not all have the benefit of Dr. Don Johnson’s vision. He brought all things spine-related onto one campus. SSI offers more than just state-of-the-art technology and care to help you recover; you can find every discipline you need under one roof: diagnostic experts, imaging, pharmacy and even a surgical center.

As a result, you benefit from expert care at a reduced cost. Meeting your back treatment needs is a passion for Dr. Johnson and his team. Other benefits of choosing SSI include:

  • SSI’s specialists are intent on finding the cause of your back pain, stabilizing your condition and providing customized treatment plans to fit your needs and lifestyle.
  • Board certified neurosurgeons and orthopedic surgeons, physical rehabilitation physicians, pain management specialists and physical therapists are on staff to give you the best options for correct diagnosis and treatment.
  • When you choose SSI, you have access to a full range of spine services. The doctors use a conservative approach first when treating your spine needs, meaning they start with the least invasive procedures. In SSI’s history, only about 10 percent of patients ever need surgery. By treating spine issues with non-surgical methods, SSI gives you the best chance to recover.
  • SSI has compiled state-of-the-art equipment, and their doctors remain on the cutting edge for treatment and outpatient procedures. They have a pharmacy on campus and a robust Physical Therapy Center for your rehabilitation needs.
  • Choose SSI, and you’ll have access to an FDA test site for new devices and the latest procedures not often found with other back specialty doctors. At the forefront of spine-specific technology, SSI acts as a training facility for medical and nursing students from the Medical University of South Carolina.
  • Known for pioneering new and exciting procedures, SSI was the first facility in the South to perform minimally invasive operations that reduce healing time and complications.

Ask for the Southeastern Spine Institute by Name

Search for the best, most proven treatment for your back pain issues. When you choose SSI, the goal is to rehabilitate you as quickly, safely and effectively as possible. While they pursue non-surgical methods first, they have a full range of surgical options available, if needed.

SSI provides all your spine treatment needs at one location. The SSI specialists encourage you to ask questions. Educating you in your decision-making process for back treatment is their driving force. When your primary-care doctor recommends someone you’ve never heard of for back care, ask for the Southeastern Spine Institute by name. It’s your back, it should be your choice.

How You Can Learn About Back Pain

The more you know about back pain, the better armed you are to prevent further damage. With education, you can work with your doctor to make treatment decisions, too. Watch for live seminars coming this summer from the back pain experts at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) in Mt. Pleasant, SC.

Back pain can be tricky. It’s not always easy to figure out the source of your pain. Even your general practitioner doesn’t know all the medical reasons you’re in pain. They’re called general practitioners because they know about a lot of different topics.

That’s where specialists play a role in your health. Specialists focus on a single branch of medicine. There’s a lot to learn about back pain and that really requires a full-time commitment, targeted study and years of hands-on experience.

Spine Doctors Specialize in Back Pain

The spine physicians at SSI are specialists in all matters concerning your back. These doctors understand the anatomy of your back, which includes the:

  • Vertebral bones
  • Cushioning intervertebral discs
  • Back muscles
  • Connective tendons
  • Anchoring ligaments
  • Protective cartilage
  • Spinal column
  • Nerve network
  • Supportive soft tissues

When you feel back pain, it can originate in any of these components. So the doctor you visit has to narrow the potential causes through the diagnostic process, which involves an examination, a medical history and possibly imaging tests.

SSI Outreach Efforts for Education

You can learn enough about your back to understand why you’re in pain. And the doctors at SSI want to share that information with you. They know that when you understand what’s causing your pain, you’re in a better position to make treatment decisions with your doctor. Education is a win-win situation that makes better doctor-patient relationships.

The Southeastern Spine Institute goes above and beyond to help you learn about back pain. The ways that SSI reaches out to you include:

Spend some time with any or all of these resources, and you’ll learn about back pain, guaranteed. You can learn by reading, by watching or by scanning graphics. And these educational resources are all available for free to anyone with an internet connection.

A New Way to Learn About Back Pain

But one element is lacking in the outreach initiatives SSI has provided so far: the human touch. So, coming soon to a location near you, a team from the Southeastern Spine Institute is going to conduct a live seminar to teach you about your back. The presenters will explain why your back hurts from injuries and ailments. And they’ll answer specific questions.

Stay tuned for the details of the seminar, to be held in early June. Check your May newsletter from SSI so you know the latest about the where, the when and the how (to sign up). This first live seminar promises to provide an education you can’t get anywhere else. And it will be free to you — because educating patients is one of the missions of the staff at SSI.

When Stress Shows Up as Pain

Stress is an inescapable reality of modern-day life. It surrounds you, whether you’re aware of it or not. Yet when you think about stress, your mind may leap to how you feel during:

  • Your morning commutes
  • Situations at work
  • Financial hardships
  • Family disagreements

But physical discomfort like back pain causes stress, too. When you’re feeling stress or back pain, you can try at-home remedies such as lying down to ease your physical symptoms. To soothe your emotions and calm your mind, you can try meditation. But if your pain — physical or emotional — continues, you may need professional treatment.

Under Stress, Your Body Causes Pain

A major increase in stress levels can alter your daily routine. If the pain and the inconvenience caused by stress are all you can think about, you’re not mindful of healthy alternatives or proper posture. Under stress, you may:

  • Do less physical activity
  • Eat a less nutritious diet
  • Slouch more
  • Gain weight

These consequences of stress can put strain on your lower back. When stress is one of your back pain causes, you need to take steps to reduce or remove the stress from your life. If you keep living with stress, it can do real damage to your body. If you’re finding it hard to manage chronic back pain, the spine specialists at Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) can get you from back pain to full recovery, which reduces your stress levels substantially.

Back Pain Causes Problems Elsewhere

Working in office environments is a major contributor to back pain causes. Sitting in front of a computer with your shoulders hunched forward over time strains the lower back. And when one area of your back is strained or injured, the other areas overcompensate, causing muscles and ligaments to pull, bones to push out of alignment and nerves to become impinged. All this causes pain.

If you’re in pain and make an appointment to see your doctor at SSI, you may discover that the leg pain you’re experiencing is due to a back issue. It’s possible that the tingling you feel in your fingers stems from a pinched nerve in your neck. In the same way, a twisted ankle can eventually lead to back pain.

Because of this phenomenon, you need to see a specialist who has the tools to find the real cause of your pain, no matter where it is. SSI has all the diagnostic equipment under one roof to find the source of your discomfort.

Manage Your Stress and Ease Your Back Pain

Back pain, like any physical limitation, can lead to depression, frustration and a host of other emotions. But there is hope for you. Regardless of the level your pain — whether dealing with complications post-surgery or experiencing something as common as a neck strain — you have treatment options available.

By changing how you react to the stressors in your life, you can greatly improve the health of your back. Increasing your exercise routine, eating better foods, doing more of the activities that bring you joy, coupled with physical therapy when needed, brings relief you thought was no longer possible.

If you’ve been dealing with pain for longer than three weeks, which is the definition of chronic pain, it’s time to visit a spine specialist. Your doctor at SSI finds your back pain causes. Then you’ll get the treatment you need to return to a pain-free life. SSI has a dedicated staff ready to provide you with solutions to your pain and get you back to 100 percent.

What to Do Until You Can Get to SSI

So, you’ve taken the steps and made an appointment with some of the most renowned back specialists in the country to treat your back pain. Whether you plan to visit the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) campus for the first time to get an initial evaluation or you’re scheduled for a procedure, you need to do everything you can to keep your back healthy until you get there.

Travel can be difficult on a bad back. Long car rides, bumpy trains or buses and even jarring takeoffs and landings on planes can stir up your back pain and do anything but keep your back healthy. You may have visited in the past or plan on making your first trek to the Charleston, South Carolina campus. Either way, there are steps you can take ahead of your visit to allay some of your pain.

Prescriptive Pain Relief

Talk to your back doctors about medications you can safely take until you get to SSI for treatment. While you certainly don’t want to cause any more harm to your already compromised back, to keep your back healthy as possible, sometimes you need to focus on relaxation.

Common medications used to help you survive a trip and stay relaxed until your spinal doctor takes over include:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are over-the-counter medications that relieve minor pain and sometimes work wonders for reducing inflammation. Common NSAIDs include ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen.
  • Prescription NSAIDS such as COX-2 inhibitors provide much the same relief, but with fewer side effects to your gastrointestinal system. Medications such as Celebrex, however, may cause other complications, such as heart issues.
  • Muscle relaxers may be especially useful while you travel and while you’re waiting for treatment when your back tightens up. Staying calm and relaxed is ideal to keep your back healthy while you wait.
  • Narcotics might be prescribed if your pain is acute and unbearable. If you do take drugs such as Vicodin, codeine or OxyContin, you need to have someone travel with you to ensure your safety at all times. And you definitely can’t drive while taking narcotics.
  • Anti-depressants sometimes are useful if you have excessive anxiety about an upcoming procedure. They also can be helpful if you have difficulty sleeping.

Travel Tips

Take care to keep your back healthy until your reach SSI. Keep warm compresses nearby, which can help relieve minor pain during a long trip. Try alternating with ice for maximum relief. Other travel tips to keep your back healthy until you arrive for treatment include:

  • Move about on a regular basis. While it may seem counterintuitive, movement is one of the most important treatment options for back pain.
  • If you can’t travel with your own personal masseuse, book a therapeutic massage when you arrive at your hotel. If possible, seek out a licensed massage therapist on your route to SSI or get a thorough massage before you leave.
  • Carry a lumbar pillow (not as bulky as a massage therapist and a lot cheaper). Very few, if any seats in public and private transportation have proper back support built in.
  • Practice proper lifting and carrying techniques. Don’t twist. Bend at the knees. Carry luggage close to your body. And switch sides while carrying shoulder bags.
  • Put your feet up whenever possible to relieve strain on your back.

The team at SSI can relieve you of all your concerns once you arrive. Keep your back healthy while you travel. And when you return home, closely follow all the instructions you’re given. Know that all will soon be well.

Lose Weight to Lose Your Back Pain

Back pain is the leading cause of discomfort today. Four out of five Americans will experience lower back pain in their lifetimes. You’re especially susceptible if you’re carrying excess weight. In fact, one out of three people classified as overweight suffers from back pain. Avoiding back pain is a topic almost everyone’s interested in.

The best way to avoid back pain that’s caused by excess weight is … to lose weight. Every pound lost is another pound no longer weighing you down and wreaking havoc on the muscles and ligaments supporting your spine and keeping you upright. So, to lose your back pain, it’s important for you to concentrate on losing weight.

Types of Back Pain

Back pain may seem like a very cut-and-dried issue, but in reality, there are different types of back pain. Each can cause a variety of symptoms, so it’s important to recognize the differences. Types of back pain include:

  • Acute back pain lasts between a few days and a few weeks.
  • Subacute back pain lasts between four and twelve weeks.
  • Chronic back pain persists for more than 12 weeks.

Acute back pain, otherwise known as short-term back pain, tends to resolve easily and on its own with just self-care. Subacute back pain lasts longer and usually is more serious, requiring treatment by a spine expert. Chronic back pain is the most serious. Being overweight or obese usually leads to chronic back pain that’s really difficult to manage without losing at least some of the weight that caused it.

How Weight Affects Back Pain

Carrying excess weight puts unwanted stress on your spine that makes avoiding back pain that much harder. To make up for the extra weight, the spine can become tilted and strained unevenly. This could even cause you to eventually develop an unnatural curvature of the spine.

Extra weight in your abdomen or chest can pull you forward due to gravity. To compensate for it, you tend to stay leaning back. Constant use of your extension muscles in this way means that they never get to rest. It can also cause your lumbar, or lower back, to curve in the direction that it’s being pulled. This in turn obstructs circulation, which does nothing to help you in avoiding back pain.

How to Lose Your Back Pain

Finding ways to lose weight can change your life. And one of the greatest benefits is avoiding back pain. Losing even a few pounds of that extra weight makes a difference. Weight loss of at least five percent may decrease stress on your back as well as your joints and knees. Not only that, but every pound adds strain to the muscles and ligaments in your back, meaning that attention to overall weight loss is incredibly important when avoiding back pain and joint disorders.

To achieve this, it’s important to keep a strict eye on your diet and exercise habits. Dieting is the most effective way to lose weight, but exercise too has its benefits. Talk to your doctor and physical therapist at Southeastern Spine Institute to get some exercise ideas, as well as a diet plan to get you on track for avoiding back pain for good.

hamstring stretch

Get the Most Out of Your Stretches

hamstring stretchThe great thing about back stretches is that you can do them even while you’re suffering with back pain. And very often, they can provide the quickest relief. A stretching routine keeps your muscles flexible. If done consistently, they can be a great source of pain relief. They also relieve pressure on your joints and improve blood flow to the vital points of your body.

Usually, when you’re experiencing a bout of pain, the last thing you want to do is exercise, but that may be exactly what the doctor orders. Stretching exercises are not only a great source of relief for your back, they’re also well known for preventing future back pain. To get the most out of your back stretches, use proper technique. Get the go-ahead from your doctor, as well as clear instructions from your physical therapist at Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI).

Technique Matters

Even though back stretches can greatly benefit your back and supporting muscles, there is a danger of injuring you further if you don’t do them correctly. Improper technique also means that you’re not getting the maximum benefits. To stay safe, follow these tips for proper technique:

  • Start at the neck and work your way down.
  • Go slow and be gentle; don’t strain yourself to the point of pain.
  • Hold each stretch for 10 to 20 seconds.
  • Don’t bounce!
  • Remember to breathe, inhale before the stretch and exhale during it.
  • Alternate muscle groups and sides.

Supple, well-stretched muscles are less susceptible to injury, while non-flexible muscles restrict joint movement and increase the risk of strains and sprains. Stretch frequently but gently and remember that bouncing can cause tissue damage. If you’re unused to stretching, try holding one for a short period of time and slowly work yourself up to 30 seconds.

Stretches to Try at Home

Now that you know the benefits of back stretches and the safe way to practice them, it’s time to try them at home, with your SSI doctor’s blessings. Here are three common stretches that are ideal for helping relieve back pain:

      The Lower Back Relaxer. Lie down on your back on a yoga mat or carpeted floor. Bend both knees, keeping your feet flat on the floor while your upper body stays relaxed. Bring one knee into your chest, pulling lightly with your hands. Hold for 10 to 20 seconds, release and repeat five times for each leg.
  1. The Cat Cow Stretch. Get on all fours, roll your back up using your abdominal muscles. You should look like your cat when he’s giving his back a good stretch. Hold, release and repeat.
  2. The Cobra Stretch. Lie face down, with your arms bent and your palms flat on the floor by your head. While keeping your stomach tight, lift your chest a few inches, hold and repeat. This is a modified plank. When you get stronger, you can aim for a full plank, during which you raise yourself up on your toes and hold your back straight.

Try each of these moves in sets of as many as your doctor says you can do, three to four times a week. If possible, try to do them once a day for the best results. Back stretches are a great way to keep your back flexible and healthy. Talk to your spine doctor to see which are right for you.

walking

Every Step Counts

walkingRegaining strength in your back after surgery doesn’t have to be a complicated ordeal. Even if you’re just seeking to improve the overall comfort of your back, something as simple as a brisk walk or using a treadmill helps minimize your back pain. Whether your goal is rehabilitation or maintaining your back’s strength, walking for exercise can help you in countless ways.

Aerobic exercises such as walking have proven time and again to help reduce lower back pain. Since the level of severity varies from person to person, you should always consult your doctor before deciding to incorporate light exercise into your daily routine.

And don’t forget to stretch before you walk. Gentle stretching prepares your joints and muscles for the increased range of motion they’re about to encounter, especially important when you’re already experiencing back issues.

The Benefits of Walking for Exercise

Most everyone can walk for exercise. You can fit it into your day in many ways. No special equipment is needed. All you need is a comfortable, supportive pair of walking shoes that fit you properly. You only need a treadmill if your doctor determines that you’re at a greater risk of falling. No matter how you do it, the ways that walking benefits your back include:

  • Strengthening your muscles, specifically in your hips, torso, feet and legs
  • Nourishing the structure of your spine
  • Improving your flexibility and posture
  • Strengthening your bones and decreasing the loss of bone density
  • Helping you keep your weight under control

Keep good form when walking for exercise to reap the optimum benefits of this light aerobic work-out. Avoid slouching and keep your head and shoulders comfortably upright. Keep your abdominal muscles tight to strengthen your core, which in turn supports your spine. Doing this ensures that you benefit from all the perks of walking for exercise.

Simple Tips

Look for ways that walking for exercise can be incorporated into your day or simply be made more enjoyable for you:

  • Take your dog for a walk. If you don’t own a dog, then you could ask a friend if you can join them when walking their dog.
  • Listen to music. An upbeat tune can make it easier and more enjoyable to keep pace.
  • Walk while you wait. Early for an appointment, date, outing, or even an airline flight? Take the opportunity to take a short walk instead of sitting around.
  • Schedule walks during your workday. Make reminders in your calendar to take short walking breaks to get your energy up throughout the day.
  • Park spots that are further away from the entrance to get a few extra steps.
  • Take the stairs. Whether going up or down the stairs, every step counts.

After setting a walking routine for yourself or simply fitting some of these tips into your day to encourage more exercise, you’ll begin to notice positive changes in the health of your back. If you have back pain, stable walking maintains or even enhances your ability to complete everyday activities that back pain makes more difficult. Talk to your doctor to be sure that walking is an acceptable exercise for you and reap the benefits of walking for exercise one step at a time.

Is Golf Dangerous for Your Back?

Golf is enjoying a spike in popularity. Whether due to baby boomers with more time on their hands or to millennials exploring the sport, golf continues to grow. If you’re an avid golfer, you may experience back pain at some point, regardless of your age. You can still enjoy the game; just realize that golf and your back pain are linked.

Golfers experience back pain on a routine basis. You shouldn’t. Take the time to perfect your form and posture to reduce your risks. If you continue to experience pain, consult your doctor. Consider hiring a golf coach too, because a fresh set of eyes may be able to help with your game, as well as with your back problems.

Golf and Your Back
For better or for worse, golf and your back are a team. Getting under par isn’t as simple as hitting the ball as hard as you can with every swing. In fact, you may have already learned that painful lesson early on in your golf career. Poor form quickly leads to back pain.

Your hobby is linked to your health. Common concerns, when it comes to golf, typically involve your back, elbows or wrists in some form or fashion. But whether you’re a beginner or a pro, you should realize that your swing and follow-through rely on your back muscles.

Is Anything Bad Even Happening?

Think about your swing when you drive and putt. Having poor body mechanics prevents your body from performing at its peak. Your hips, back and neck must all be in alignment. Poor form means your body has to work harder. If your swing isn’t smooth, golf and your back pain will become partners for life.

In fact, you can actually do some serious damage. When it comes to your backswing, for example, you need to dip your left (or inside) shoulder. By lowering your left shoulder, you put all of the twist on the part of your spine that can handle that rotating motion. Keep the movement away from your lower back.

Think of your backswing for a moment. If you don’t dip your shoulder, your lower back has to swivel with the force of your swing. But it isn’t built for that kind of motion. So, by having improper form, all the rotation ends up focused in your lower back. No wonder lower back pain is so common among golfers.

A Happy Medium Between Golf and Your Back

You can still play golf and have a healthy back. Just remember to treat golf like every other sport. Before getting to the tee, you need to warm up. Try out some basic stretches specifically for your back. Then, start with some easy swings. It isn’t good for your body when you tee up to hit the hardest drive of your life.

While you play, pay attention to your pain. Don’t “just power through it.” Focus on your form. If you warm up, take lessons from a pro and still encounter back pain, leave the links and call your spine doctor to find out if you’ve done permanent damage. Get treatment early so that you can make it all the way back to the back nine sooner rather than later.

5 Tips for Dealing with Chronic Back Pain

More than 45 million Americans suffer from chronic back pain, with the pain lingering for more than three months at a time. It’s such a pervasive issue that it accounts for more doctor visits per year than almost any other condition, second only to upper respiratory concerns such as the common cold.

If you’re struggling with chronic back pain, the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) offers the following tips for managing your pain on a day-to-day basis:

1. Narrow Down the Cause

If you haven’t already, make an appointment with a spine doctor who understands and specializes in back pain. By reviewing your symptoms, taking a medical history and performing necessary diagnostic tests, your doctor can narrow down the cause of your back pain.

Because SSI offers everything under one roof, your physician can pinpoint the cause of your pain – and treat it accordingly. Whether you have a slipped disc, bone degeneration, a pulled muscle, or simple fatigue, you need to know where your chronic back pain originates before you can start a treatment plan.

2. Shift Your Focus

When chronic back pain won’t let up, it’s hard to shift your focus away from the pain. Fortunately, certain strategies help you manage as you keep up with your daily life. These relaxation techniques help quiet your mind and release the tension that may be contributing to your pain:

  • Visualization teaches you to picture a scene or situation in which you feel comfortable and safe. This is the proverbial “happy place” you can visit to take your mind off the pain.
  • Distraction is just what it sounds like: shifting your focus from your pain to something more engaging, such as an exciting TV show, a game or conversation with friends or family.
  • Relaxation training helps you learn to control your breathing so you can physically relax your body and mind.

3. Feel the Warmth

Heat can be especially helpful when dealing with chronic back pain when it’s caused by muscle strain. Follow your doctor’s advice by taking a hot shower or bath at home to apply heat to your back. Try adding a handful of Epsom salts to your bath for additional relief.

A simple heating pad also works wonders, applying heat directly to the part of your back that’s hurting. Over-the-counter heat patches or warming muscle rubs, available at your local pharmacy, provide lasting relief while you work or exercise.

4. Get Moving

Talk to your spine specialist at SSI about exercise that’s safe to do with your back pain. Stretching exercises such as yoga or Pilates often help tight muscles loosen up. Swimming or water aerobics provides relief as you work out the kinks from your aching back.

A trained physical therapist, available at SSI, can teach you exercises specifically designed to help relieve your back pain. In addition to the physical benefits, exercising releases endorphins – hormones that decrease your pain awareness and improve your mood.

5. Use Caution with Pain Medication

There’s no shame in reaching for an over-the-counter or doctor-prescribed pain reliever when your back pain is impeding your life. Pain relievers can be the key to getting a good night’s sleep or being able to sit through a nourishing meal. Pain medication is an effective, but temporary solution.

Maintaining your overall health is a significant part of pain management. With your SSI team’s assistance, you’ll learn how to incorporate other methods of pain management while working to get at the root of the pain and addressing it with the most appropriate treatment.

lifting

What’s That Spasm All About?

liftingThose uncontrollable twitches or contractions within the muscles of your lower back are most commonly known as back spasms. These spasms can come in a variety of forms, with differences in frequency and severity. Getting professional treatment from an experienced back pain doctor for your spasms can:

  • Stop the spasms from bothering you now
  • Prevent any further injuries from occurring

Although you may experience different kinds of muscle spasms in your back, the best thing you can do to help yourself is make an appointment with your spine doctor at the Southeaster Spine Institute (SSI). Your physician there can diagnose your spasms to find out what’s really going on. SSI has diagnostics and treatment facilities in the same place.

In the case of severe and recurrent spasms, you need immediate attention. Identifying what may have initially caused your back issue helps your doctor determine the appropriate treatment for you. And there are many non-surgical options available that can effectively treat chronic back spasms. In fact, fewer than 10 percent of SSI patients require surgery.

Causes of Back Spasms

Spasms can range in severity and frequency. How your spasms started likely affect how much pain and discomfort they inflict on you. As expected, severe back injuries can create severe and frequent spasms. Some common causes of spasms include:

  • Heavy lifting, especially when improperly lift something
  • Activities that put strain on the muscles of your lower back
  • Sports injuries to your middle back, lower back or legs
  • Muscles that twitch to protect your back from a potential strain
  • In response to a more serious anatomical problem
  • Previous medical conditions

Weak abdominal muscles – which provide support to your core spinal column – make your back more susceptible to the lower back injuries that can lead to spasms in your back. Other medical conditions that may cause muscle spasms include arthritis or a ruptured or bulging disk. These conditions put pressure on your spinal cord, which in turn causes even more dysfunction – like back spasms.

Diagnosis and Treatment

In the case of severe back spasms, your SSI physician first determines the source of your problem before providing the best recommendations for the treatment that can help you. Be sure to tell your doctor in detail about any and all symptoms you’ve been experiencing. Include information about the:

  • Severity of your pain
  • Frequency of the spasms
  • When they started
  • What you’re doing to relieve the pain

If your spasms are a result of stress on your muscles from a sports injury, your treatment may be as simple as alternating between ice and heat on your lower back. This basic remedy helps reduce inflammation and improve the blood flow to enable healing. At SSI, your doctors always choose the least invasive treatment to help relieve your pain as efficiently as possible. Stronger treatments are only needed if the more conservative ones aren’t effective.

Taking medications such as muscle relaxants or ibuprofen may help relieve your pain while the muscles heal. If at-home remedies don’t suffice, it’s possible that your spasms are a result from a much more serious injury and may require pain relieving injections or even surgery. A complete exam and further imaging tests help your doctor arrive at the treatments to relieve those painful back spasms.