Millions of Americans live with chronic back pain. From shooting pain while
walking or bending over to bursts of pain when sneezing, the discomfort
isn't always limited to the back. The pain often travels down the legs.
“Up to 80 percent of Americans experience back pain at some point
in their lives. But when you have deep, dull or aching pain that lasts
three months or longer, that’s when it’s considered chronic,”
Kara Beasley, DO, of Boulder Neurosurgical & Spine Associates told a crowd of 186 people during a free health lecture held on Jan. 19
at the Boulder Jewish Community Center.
“While most back pain is caused by muscle strain that heals over
time, degenerative conditions of the spine, which occur naturally with
age, are the most common culprits for chronic back pain,” she said.
Degenerative conditions commonly linked to chronic back pain include disc
herniation, facet joint osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, degenerative
disc disease, spondylolisthesis and osteoporosis. These “wear and
tear” conditions can lead to changes in the structures of the spine,
irritating nerves or putting abnormal pressure on spinal joints.
“In 90 percent of chronic lower back pain problems, a nerve gets
pinched or irritated, the muscles tense up, and pain results,” Dr.
Conservative treatment options exist
Treatment options depend on the spinal condition, but the primary objective
of any treatment is to relieve inflammation and pain. Conservative treatment
includes physical therapy, weight control, steroid injections, anti-inflammatory
drugs, rehabilitation and limited activity.
“Most people suffering from chronic back pain will find relief shortly
after conservative treatments begin," Dr. Beasley said, "If,
however, these options do not relieve pain within three months, surgery
may be needed.”
Minimally invasive spine surgery
Dr. Beasley performs most spinal surgeries using minimally invasive approaches
that involve smaller incisions, less muscle damage, decreased blood loss
and shorter hospital stays.
She went into detail about minimally invasive laser-assisted spine surgery
for degenerative conditions. Using a laser scalpel, a surgeon can make
extremely precise incisions and trim away diseased spinal structures with
a high degree of accuracy, helping to improve surgical outcomes.
If you suffer from chronic back and leg pain, schedule a consultation with
Dr. Beasley of Boulder Neurosurgical & Spine Associates by calling 303-938-5700.
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