Spine and Back Care

Spine and back care

Woman with back and neck pain, showing spine.

Most cases of neck or back pain will resolve with conservative treatment over 2-4 weeks. However, more severe of persistent cases may need medical evaluation.

Common causes of neck or back pain include:

  • Overuse or strenuous activity, muscle weakness or tightness
  • Improper use or poor posture/body mechanics
  • Fracture
  • Degenerative disc or joint disease
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Ligament or muscle tear
  • Disc herniation or bulge
  • Nerve compression or sciatica
  • Infection

Evaluation starts with a thorough history and physical examination. X-rays may be needed as well as possible MRI or other imaging depending on the symptoms.

Diagram of spine and discs in varying stages of trauma.

Treatment may include:

  • Work station modification, ergonomic evaluation
  • Activity modification or rest
  • Specific exercises to target weakened or tight muscle groups (physical therapy)
  • Anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants
  • Trigger point therapy, myofascial release, or dry needling
  • Injections for pain relief
  • Spinal bracing
  • Smoking cessation counseling, stress management, weight management
  • Surgery

Neck and back pain can be caused by one or multiple problems. A thorough history, examination, and appropriate diagnostic testing is necessary to determine the cause of the pain and will help guide the best treatment plan for you.

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Doctor touching patients wrist to diagnose injury