Diagnosis and Treatment

Insight from Back Pain Specialists in Orange County

Many different spine conditions can cause acute or chronic pain, to such an extent that it affects a patient’s quality of life. If pain relief is beyond your control, it may be time to involve a pain specialist. Pain management begins with diagnosing the source of a patient’s pain so treatment can begin.

Here, you can learn more about pain management as it relates to spine conditions. For additional information, please do not hesitate to arrange a consultation with an Orange County spine specialist at Chapman Neurosurgical Spine Institute (CNSI).

Diagnosing the Cause of Your Pain

One of the most important parts of pain management is properly diagnosing the source of a patient’s pain. There are various methods that may be employed to diagnose the source of pain; a physician will choose whatever method or methods apply to a patient’s situation. This may include:

  • CT (computed tomography) scan
  • CAT (computed axial tomography) scan
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
  • Discography
  • Myelograms
  • EMG or nerve conduction studies
  • Ultrasound imaging
  • Physical exam

Imaging tests, such as CT scans or MRIs, can give doctors a clear picture of what is going on inside a patient’s body. A physical exam and talking to a patient about his or her symptoms can also reveal important information regarding a potential spine condition that could be causing pain. Using information obtained from tests and physical examinations, doctors can then identify the cause and therefore the source of a patient’s pain.

Pain Treatment Options

Once the source of pain has been identified, your doctor can determine what treatment options may offer relief. Depending on the case, treatment may be palliative, which means it only addresses symptoms caused by the condition. Pain medication is one example of palliative treatment, as it does not address the underlying problem, though a patient may experience relief from pain.

A better option, if possible, is to treat the condition that is causing pain in the first place. The recommended approach and type of treatment will vary depending on the patient’s condition, age, overall health and even personal preference.

Pain treatment may be conservative and noninvasive, such as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Chiropractic intervention
  • Decompression
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Core-strengthening exercises

In some cases, surgical intervention may be recommended, such as:

  • Laminectomy (a procedure where a portion of the vertebral bone, called the lamina, is removed to decompress the spine)
  • Laminotomy (a procedure used to decompress the spinal cord and/or spinal nerve root, wherein part of a lamina and the vertebral arch are removed)
  • Foraminotomy (a procedure used to remove pressure from a nerve or nerves in the spinal cord, accomplished by removing the impinging bone or disc material)

It is important to choose a qualified pain management specialist, to ensure you are properly diagnosed and receive the best possible treatment. Contact CNSI today