Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor.

Depending on the cause, you may have noticed a dull ache, a sharp or burning sensation in your lower back, weakness in your leg, hip or the bottom of your foot. Your physician can determine the exact cause of persistent, chronic back pain.

The combined team of orthopedic spine and neuroscience specialists at Norton Leatherman spine has the training, experience and expertise to know when chronic back pain can be treated without surgery. If surgery is required, our spine surgeons are skilled in all surgical options and use minimally invasive techniques when possible so you can heal faster and get back to your life.

Common chronic back pain causes

  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Disc damage, such as herniated discs or bulging discs
  • Certain medical conditions, such as fibromyalgia
  • Small fractures to the spine from osteoporosis
  • Strains or tears to the muscles or surrounding tissues that support the back

Studies have linked smoking to lower back pain. Smoking is tied to plaque buildup in the arteries, and vascular damage to discs and joints may be a cause of lower back pain.

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How to Relieve Back Pain

Maintaining a healthy weight, keeping your abdominal muscles strong and flexible, and using good posture are all keys to preventing chronic lower back pain.

Whether at work or at home, pay attention to your seating. If you spend time in front of a computer, set the top of your screen at eye level. Consider a chair that supports your lower back. Set the height so your thighs are at hip level with your feet resting comfortably on the floor or a footrest. Consider a pair of computer glasses that allow you to focus without tilting your head to accommodate progressive lenses.

If you are experiencing chronic lower back pain, there is hope. Many nonsurgical treatment options can eliminate all symptoms and complications associated with this frustrating condition. Our spine specialists may suggest a variety of nonsurgical chronic back pain treatment options, including:

  • Cold/heat therapy
  • Injections to reduce swelling around a nerve
  • Therapy to help you better understand and manage your pain
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication
  • Physical therapy

If these treatments don’t provide relief from your pain, spinal surgery may be an option. Our physicians consider surgery only for patients who have nerve damage or a condition that does not heal after a long period of time. Surgical options can include removal of slipped discs and/or bone spurs to relieve pressure on nerves. Fusing vertebrae together can stabilize the spine and relieve pressure causing your pain.

About Norton Leatherman Spine

Norton Leatherman Spine is a combined team of orthopedic spine surgeons, neurosurgeons from Norton Neuroscience Institute and pain management specialists who provide care for adults and children from Louisville and Southern Indiana, as well as from across the region, nation and world.

  • The multidisciplinary team incorporates expertise from a variety of specialties to offer a comprehensive array of treatment options that include minimally invasive and nonsurgical therapies.
  • Our team approach to the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of spine conditions works cooperatively with primary care physicians and other specialists to develop a treatment plan as unique as each individual.
  • Because you may not need surgery, you may work with our pain management team, physical therapy specialists and others who can create a care plan with the right types of treatments for you.
  • If you need surgery, you’re in experienced hands. Norton Leatherman Spine physicians perform more than 4,000 surgeries a year.
  • Our team has more than 45 specialists at nearly 20 offices across Louisville and Southern Indiana. Many offer same-day appointments and Saturday hours, with no referral needed
  • Our specialists are internationally recognized leaders in clinical research of spinal disease, injury and deformity, and have served in senior positions in the Scoliosis Research Society, the most prestigious organization for scoliosis surgeons around the world.
  • Norton Healthcare is the first health system in the nation to be recognized as an Advanced Orthopedic & Spine Center of Excellence by DNV.
  • We offer minimally invasive and robotic-assisted procedures that carry less risk and can speed your recovery.
  • We use the EOS Imaging system, which collects high-resolution images while exposing the patient to 50% to 85% less radiation than traditional X-rays and 95% less than basic CT scans. The system is especially beneficial to scoliosis patients who often need repeated imaging to monitor their progress.
  • Use MyNortonChart to communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more, anytime from a mobile device or computer

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