Pain

Woman with back pain

Pain is your body’s signal that something is not right. Pain is an important health indicator and should be taken seriously. Our team of world class medical specialists is here to evaluate your condition and develop a treatment plan to help you live life to the fullest extent possible.

Patients with pain learn to recognize the difference between acute and chronic pain.

Acute Pain

Acute pain most often occurs with sudden onset due to an injury, sudden movement, or accident. Once properly treated; acute pain can often go away forever. Occasionally, acute pain becomes chronic pain over time.

Chronic Pain

Patients that suffer from chronic pain often live with it for long periods of time, sometimes for the rest of their lives. Modern medicine can often help chronic pain sufferers by lessening the level and frequency of the pain and help improve one’s quality of life. Our professional staff are highly trained to help chronic pain sufferers improve their quality of life.

In this section we cover some of the most common causes of:

We invite you to review these pages to learn more, and to call us for a professional medical evaluation if you have a fever or your back pain persists more than 48 hours.


Back Pain

Most people suffer from some sort of back pain at some point of their adult lives. Back pain due to exercise and physical work is most common. However, sometimes back pain is a signal of a more serious health condition. The following section will explore some of the most common conditions that can cause back pain.

Neck and arm pain, Clinical las Condes

Lumbar discomfort

Lumbar spine pain or discomfort is one of the most common types of back pain. Your lumbar spine is in your lower back. Discomfort in this region often resolves without treatment in a few days or a week. Common causes include poor posture, heavy lifting and straining. Most episodes of back pain last a few days, and have completely resolved within a few weeks. If you have new back pain, you should contact your doctor to see if you need further evaluation.

If you are experiencing any pain in your lower spine start keeping a diary of your pain and what activities you are involved in when the pain begins and call for an appointment. This information will be very useful to your doctor and help in the diagnosis and treatment of your back pain.

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Herniated disc

The most common symptom of a herniated disc is pain. If the herniated disc is in the lower back, you may experience pain radiating from this area into your thighs and legs. If the herniated disc is in the upper back or cervical spine, the pain will radiate into your shoulders and arms.

If you feel pain when you bend at the waist, it could be a sign of a herniated disc. The discs of the spine are located between the vertebrae (bony building blocks of the spine). The disc is designed somewhat like a jelly donut being composed of an inner gelatin-like core surrounded by a firm outer ring. In a healthy spine, each disc remains in place between each vertebra. When a disc slips out of place or wears due to aging it can irritate a critical nerve either inside or outside the spinal column. Pain may come and go and vary in severity, but in any case, the earlier this kind of pain is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome will be for a patient.

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Osteoarthritis of lumbar joints

Osteoarthritis, a common cause of low back pain, involves breakdown of cartilage (tissue covering the joint surfaces at the ends of bones). Symptoms consist of gradually increasing pain and stiffness. Initially, pain and stiffness occur after periods of inactivity. Later, pain is worse with physical activity and prolonged sitting.

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Lumbar disc degeneration

Osteoarthritis of the lumbar joints is often confused with lumbar disc degeneration which is a gradual deterioration of disks between the vertebrae. Spinal discs are soft, compressible discs that separate the interlocking bones (vertebrae) that make up the spine. The discs act as shock absorbers for the spine, allowing it to flex, bend, and twist. Degenerative disc disease can take place throughout the spine, but it most often occurs in the discs in the lower back (lumbar region) and the neck (cervical region). Degenerative disc disease may result in back or neck pain, but this varies from person to person. Many people have no pain, while others with the same amount of disc damage have severe pain that limits their activities. Where the pain occurs depends on the location of the affected disc.

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Trauma

Trauma is defined by a serious injury or shock to the body, as from violence or an accident. Examples can be a fall, sports injury caused by serious force, an automobile accident, and many other causes. Trauma causes soft tissue injury and often fractures of one or more of the bones in the body.

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Neck Pain

There are a number of reasons patients suffer from neck pain. Here are several of the most common.

Osteoarthritis

Patients can experience osteoarthritis in the cervical spine just like they can in the lumbar spine. Pain and discomfort often occur gradually over time as the neck experiences normal wear and tear of getting old.

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Cervical disc degeneration

Degenerative disc disease can take place throughout the spine including the neck (cervical region). Pain may vary greatly from person to person. Many people have no pain, while others with the same amount of disc damage have severe pain that limits their activities.

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Trauma

Anyone can experience a neck injury (trauma), from infants to the elderly. Neck injury is very common. Neck injuries may cause a variety of conditions, from minor neck discomfort to paralysis or death due to cervical vertebrae fracture (broken bone or bones in the neck) and injury to the spinal cord, which carries nerve impulses between the brain and the body. Injuries to the neck are often associated with head injuries and commonly caused by motor vehicle accidents, sports-associated trauma, falls from significant heights, diving into shallow water, physical fights, and other types of trauma.

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Neck and Arm Pain

Spinal Stenosis

Your back bone or spinal canal is actually a conduit where the spinal cord and nerve roots are housed. Cervical spine pain and numbness that radiates into the arms can also be a sign of spinal stenosis, which is caused when there is pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.

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Cervical herniated disc

One of the more common cervical spine conditions is a cervical herniated disc. Arm pain is the most common symptom of this condition. It usually develops in people between 30 – 50 years old. Although a cervical herniated disc may originate from some sort of trauma or injury to the cervical spine, the symptoms, including arm pain, commonly start spontaneously.

Along with the arm pain, numbness and tingling can be present down the arm and into the fingertips. Muscle weakness may also be present due to a cervical herniated disc.

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Back and Leg Pain

Many times patients will report back pain that moves or affects the legs. The pain may radiate from the lower back to the buttock, and down the back of the thigh, to the calf and toes. The back pain can be brought on after extended periods of sitting or standing.

Your back pain can come from overexertion of back muscles or from a more serious physiological condition. Some common causes of herniated discs or spinal stenosis.

Lumbar disc disease and herniation

The spine consists of a series of discs that protect the spinal cord. The discs have a strong outer layer which surrounds a soft nucleus with a jelly-like consistency. A herniated disc occurs when the nucleus breaks out of the outer layer (annulus) and seeps toward the spinal cord. As the herniated material push out it may compress surrounding nerves which will cause pain.

Treatment for a herniated disc consists of patient education to prevent more damage, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to alleviate the pressure and pain. Some non-surgical treatments include bed rest and limiting physical activity to walking and swimming.

Physical therapy and other manual therapies can also be expected. In some cases epidural steroid injections may be required.

When these standard medical protocols fail to relieve the pain, patients may consider back surgery. Your doctor will take x-rays and imaging to monitor your progress and evaluate you as a candidate for back surgery. The most common surgical treatment for a herniated disc is lumbar discectomy. Be sure to discuss your pain management, treatment and recuperation options with your doctor, to find the best medical treatment for your specific spine condition.

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Spinal Stenosis

Another common cause of back pain is spinal stenosis, which usually manifests in lumbar spine pain and uncomfortable sensations in one or both legs. Patients with spinal stenosis often have difficulty walking short distances without stopping to rest.

Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the spinal column that causes pressure on the spinal cord, or narrowing of the openings (called neural foramina) where spinal nerves leave the spinal column. Spinal stenosis usually occurs as a person ages and the disks become drier and start to shrink. At the same time, the bones and ligaments of the spine swell or grow larger due to arthritis or long-term swelling (inflammation).

As many people age they experience spinal stenosis. Many never have any pain or problems with the condition. Spinal stenosis may also be caused by arthritis, Bone diseases, herniated or slipped disk which may have occurred in the past, or tumors in the spine. Symptoms often develop slowly and get worse over time.

Symptoms of spinal stenosis include numbness of arms, legs, back, buttocks, thighs, or calves, or in the neck. Homeopathic treatment often brings relief. When non-invasive treatment alternatives do not help surgery may be necessary.

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Sciatica

If you feel pain, numbness, tingling, weakness or loss of control of your legs, it could be a sign of damage to important nerves that run inside and along the spine. Sciatica is nerve pain from irritation of the sciatic nerve. Sciatic nerve pain should never be ignored. Treatments for sciatica depend on the underlying cause and the severity of the pain. The good news is sciatic nerve pain is common and if treated early can usually be reversed.

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Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which a bone in the lower part of the spine slips out of the proper position onto the bone below it. In adults, the most common cause is degenerative disease (such as arthritis). Spondylolisthesis may vary from mild to severe. A person with spondylolisthesis may have no symptoms.

Treatment varies depending on the severity of the condition. Most patients get better with strengthening and stretching exercises combined with activity modification, which involves avoiding hyperextension of the back and contact sports. Physical therapy, use of a back brace and non-anti-inflammatory medicines also help.

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Pain can be a complex condition but it nearly always is a signal to you that you need to seek the care of a doctor. Our clinic deals with many people every day to help them minimize their pain and make their lives more enjoyable.

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