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Back Pain Specialist

Powell Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Orthopedic Surgery & Sports Medicine located in Vestavia Hills, AL

Nearly everyone has at least one bout of back pain, but for many, that one event turns into a long-lasting and debilitating problem. Thomas Powell, MD, at Powell Orthopedics and Sports Medicine encourages you to seek medical care if your back pain doesn't improve in a few weeks, gets worse, or causes symptoms in one or both legs. The earlier you seek help, the better your chances of preventing a chronic problem. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, call the office in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, or use the online booking feature today.

Back Pain Q&A

What causes back pain?

Many people develop back pain after a sports injury or when they pull a muscle during daily activities. However, overuse injuries tend to cause more cases of back pain than acute (sudden) injuries.

An overuse injury develops gradually as you frequently repeat the same movements. The ongoing stress creates a small tear in soft tissues like the muscles and ligaments supporting your lower back. Without treatment, the tear gets worse and causes inflammation. 

As you get older, your spine goes through natural changes. These changes lead to problems such as:

  • Facet joint arthritis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Herniated discs
  • Slipped vertebrae
  • Degenerative disc disease

These conditions cause back pain, pinch the nearby nerves, and lead to spinal instability.

What symptoms accompany back pain?

The type of back pain varies for each person. You may have a dull ache, a sharp stabbing pain, constant pain, or pain that comes and goes.

In most cases, the pain and/or the condition causing your pain make it hard to move. You may also develop painful muscle spasms.

When you have pinched nerves, you can also experience pain, tingling, and burning that travel along the nerve and radiate into your legs. A severely damaged nerve may also cause numbness and muscle weakness in the affected leg and foot.

Sciatica, one of the most common types of back pain, begins when you have a pinched sciatic nerve in your lower back. The compressed nerve causes sudden and often severe pain that shoots down one leg.

How is back pain treated?

Powell Orthopedics and Sports Medicine does a complete evaluation to determine the cause of your back pain. In addition to a physical exam, they often do a neurological exam and take digital X-rays in the office. Depending on the results, you may need additional diagnostic testing.

Back pain treatment always begins with the most appropriate conservative treatment based on your diagnosis and the severity of your symptoms.

Your personalized treatment plan may include:

  • Modifying your activities
  • Physical therapy
  • Back brace
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Trigger point injections
  • Steroid injections

If your back pain persists after conservative therapies, your provider talks with you about minimally invasive surgery to repair the underlying problem.

You can get back pain relief from the caring team at Powell Orthopedics and Sports Medicine. To schedule an appointment, call or use the online booking feature today.