Cervical and Lumbar Disc Pain
Everything is fine until one day you wake up with neck or back pain. Maybe you lifted something. Maybe you twisted or turned wrong. Most often it was unexpected. At first you try to nurse it yourself but eventually you succumb and go to the doctor. Most start with their family physician who might take an Xray but likely will give you medicines by mouth. If you are not better within a couple of weeks a course of physical therapy likely will be prescribed. Others try to bypass this approach and go to a chiropractor who most likely will tell you why your alignment is off and then offer to manipulate your bones in an attempt to correct them and possibly recommend light physical therapy and exercises as well. While most people are better within 2-4 weeks if you are one of the unlucky ones ordering an MRI often comes next. But why? MRI’s are an advanced technology that provides great images of what structure looks like. For necks and backs they mostly speak to the presence or absence of disc disease. If disc disease is found an epidural steroid injection usually follows. Here is the catch: over 50% of people who have never had pain in their life will be told they have disc disease once they reach age 35. So if disc disease is present when there is no pain what does the presence of disc disease mean when there is pain? most of the time not much. If you are considering surgery then by all means get the MRI. If surgery is the last resort the MRI will most likely not change what you will do next (either way the next step will likely be an epidural steroid injection). If that fails things start to get interesting. There are hundreds of sources of neck and back pain that have absolutely nothing to do with disc disease and they may be present with or without co-morbid disc disease. Fortunately there are many other options for non-surgical treatment of cervical and lumbar disc disease. And they work. Learn more about non-surgical treatment options for cervical and lumbar disc disease at piedmontpmr.com.