Back and neck problems can be caused by a herniated disc, spinal
stenosis, injury, strain or osteoarthritis.
“Although more than 75% of Americans will experience some back pain
during their lifetime, about 90% of cases are resolved without surgery,”
John K. Ratliff, MD, FACS, a Philadelphia spine surgeon and American
Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) spokesperson, stated in a news
release. “The good news is that there are some ways to help prevent low
back pain and protect your spine.”
Prevention tips from the AANS:
- ·Maintain a healthy body weight and if you smoke, quit.
Smoking and extra weight can not only damage the spine, but are factors that
can negatively impact spine surgery;
- ·Maintain proper posture while sitting, standing and walking;
- ·Use proper lifting techniques to avoid injury. Bend your
knees when picking up and lowering the object, keep a straight back, and do not
twist. Do not lift heavy objects that are beyond your strength ability;
- ·Make sure your mattress and bed pillow support your neck and
- ·Do exercises that stretch and strengthen the muscles of your
abdomen and spine. Strong back and abdominal muscles can help you maintain good
posture and keep your spine in its correct position; and
- ·If you suffer from persistent, chronic, or recurring back
pain, consult your doctor. In most cases there is a conservative, nonsurgical
treatment that can resolve the pain. However, if left untreated or allowed to
progress, back pain may lead to serious and severe disability.
Nonsurgical treatment options for back pain include physical therapy,
weight reduction, steroid injections, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory
medications, rehabilitation, and limiting activity. All of these treatment
options are aimed at relieving the inflammation and strengthening the back.
There are several surgical treatment options, depending on the
patient’s specific condition and overall health. Recent advances include
artificial cervical and lumbar discs and minimally invasive spine surgery.
Patients must meet specific criteria to be candidates for these procedures and
there needs to be certainty that the same or better results can be achieved
through these techniques as with the respective traditional procedure.