Lower Back Pain – North Texas*

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About Lower Back Pain

The spine is an intricate web of interconnected bones, nerves, ligaments, and muscles all working together to provide support, strength, and flexibility. There can be a number of reasons why you may be experiencing lower back pain, which is a complex condition to find relief especially if felt in the lumbar region. The largest vertebrae in your spine are in the lumbar region so they can carry the weight of the upper body. The lower back will start to ache when overused or stressed by weight or movement, and over time it will take its toll on your body.

Dr. Kendall Carll is a board-certified and fellowship-trained spine surgeon serving the greater North Texas region with 15 years of experience in the treatment of lower back pain. We offer consultations at Spine Care of North Texas if you would like to learn more about ways to diminish lower back pain.

Causes

Whatever is causing your lower back pain, Dr. Carll will find the source before treating the pain. You may have just started to notice the pain for a few weeks or months, which is acute pain. If you have had discomfort in your lower back for longer than three months, we would consider that a chronic situation. Severe, long-lasting pain may involve a larger problem associated with the discs, joints, ligaments, or nerves of the lumbar spine. Dr. Carll may suggest diagnostic testing for common causes of lower back pain that include:

  • Traumatic injuries (from an accident, sports injury, or overly strenuous activities)
  • Arthritis (inflammation)
  • Infection or disease
  • Lumbar herniated disc
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Facet or sacroiliac joint dysfunction
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Spinal deformities
  • Compression fracture

Symptoms

You may recognize the following symptoms as they are typical of lower back pain:

  • A dull ache that radiates in the lower back
  • A stinging, burning pain that moves from the low back to the backs of the thighs, sometimes into the lower legs or feet with numbness or tingling (sciatica or radiculopathy)
  • Muscle spasms and tightness in the low back, pelvis, and hips
  • Pain that worsens after sitting or standing for a few hours
  • Difficulty standing up straight, walking, or transitioning from standing to sitting

Treatment Options

To diagnose the source of your discomfort, whether it comes on suddenly or develops over time, Dr. Carll uses diagnostic imaging including x-rays, CT scans, and/or MRI scans to look for bone fractures, abnormal spinal alignment, and soft tissue injuries in the lower back. He may also require a myelogram, which is a procedure that incorporates the injection of dye around the nerve roots in the affected areas for a clearer picture of the anatomy of the spine. The myelogram imaging is ordered as a last-resort diagnostic testing when Dr. Carll needs more definitive answers. Before resorting to surgery, Dr. Carll will spend some time getting to know you better at the consultation. He may ask about your diet and exercise habits, your work/life balance, and your medical and family medical histories to make recommendations for nonsurgical interventions. Dr. Carll will listen to your concerns and answer your questions regarding all treatment options.

Nonsurgical

Since it is important to try the most minimally invasive solutions to lower back pain first, Dr. Carll regularly recommends the following to help reduce lower back pain:

  • Rest
  • Hot/cold therapy
  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Steroid injections
  • Muscle relaxants/prescription pain medications
  • Supportive back braces
  • Chiropractic care
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Posture retraining (sitting up straight, walking tall)

Surgical

There are multiple surgical approaches that can be used to address chronic low back pain. The most common surgeries are decompression and spinal fusion surgery.

  • Decompression surgery targets specific vertebrae or discs that might be pressing on spinal nerve branches or the spinal column and causing your lower back pain. There are two primary types of decompression surgery (discectomy and laminectomy). With minimally invasive surgical techniques, a discectomy removes all or some of a herniated lumbar disc. A laminectomy removes all or some of the lamina bone and the spinous process, which gives a relief of compression or pressure on the nerves.
  • Spinal fusions are unique among all spinal surgical procedures; the goal is to hold two vertebral bones apart while encouraging them to fuse back together. A cage is placed in the interbody space and packed with a bone graft to help stimulate bone growth. It restores the height of the spine and stabilizes the vertebrae as they fuse together. In a successful fusion, the bone grows around and through the cage over time, making it the only place in the body where a material is implanted and active in the reparative process. In other words, the cage and the material it is made from play an active role in the growth of the bone that forms the fusion. Lumbar spinal fusions are performed from various approaches: posterior (from behind), anterior (through the front), and lateral (through the side). In some cases, a combination of approaches may be required. Modern surgical techniques and tools have made spinal fusion surgery outcomes more predictable.

Put Back Pain Behind You

In his 15 years of practicing, Dr. Carll has treated people from all walks of life who suffer from lower back pain. He understands that his expertise in lower back pain treatments can change the quality of your life and wants to share that with you. There are many options in surgical and nonsurgical treatments that we offer to patients at our practice. Call one of our Spine Care of North Texas offices today to put your back pain behind you.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.