Lower back and Neck pain

Are you suffering from back and/or neck pain? Are you looking for treatment that can improve your health and quality of life? At Melbourne Arthritis, we can provide neck and back pain treatment in Melbourne for patients of all ages and backgrounds. Whether you suffer from minor muscular discomfort or something more serious like sciatica, we can provide tailored solutions to help you feel better and undertake normal daily activities without experiencing debilitating pain.

Back Pain Treatment

80 % of people suffer from low back pain at least once during their life time and low back pain is one of the most common causes of job-related disability.

In order to achieve the optimal result from intervention, chronic low back pain should be managed by a multidisciplinary biopsychosocial rehabilitation.

Which means the Interventions should target the biological, psychological, and social contributors to the condition.

Low back pain may originate from muscles, nerves, bones, joints, Discs or other structures in the spine; stress and psychological situation; or the type of sport playing, the way carrying shopping bags and so on.

Low back pain divided to acute, subacute and chronic:

Acute: lasts a few days to few weeks

Sub-acute: takes 4 to 12 weeks

Chronic last more than 12 weeks

At Melbourne Arthritis, our specialists can determine the cause of your pain and recommend a suitable treatment.

Causes of Back Pain

Patient may experience a dull, sharp, stabbing, burning or referred pain. Aside from pain, you may have weakness, numbness or tingling in your legs caused from damage to the spinal cord.

Athletes participating in sports such as skiing, basketball, football, ice skating, soccer, running, golf or tennis are at greater risk of developing back pain. During these sport activities, the spine needs to bear more stress, take up more pressure, undergo twisting and turning, and handle bodily impact. This may cause strain on the back that can result in pain. Athletes are at high risk of back pain both from trauma and from overuse, especially in sports requiring hyperextension.

Common reasons why athletes need back pain treatment in our practice include:

  • Muscle &tendon strain/ ligament sprain: This is the most common sports injury caused by overstretch of the soft tissues
  • Spondylolysis: Commonly found in athletes who participate in sports such as gymnastics, pole-vaulting and football. All these activities require frequent hyperextension of the lumbar spine
  • Spondylolisthesis: A condition of the spine which occurs when one vertebra is displaced or slipped forward over the other below it
  • Herniated spinal discs: When an injury occurs, the central core of the disc is pushed through a tear in the outer hard layer of the disc. The spinal canal has limited space, which is inadequate for the spinal nerve and the displaced herniated disc fragment. Therefore, the disc presses on spinal nerves, often producing pain, which may be severe.

Other causes can include growth-related problems such as scoliosis and Scheuermann's kyphosis.

Available Back Pain Treatments

Our specialists in Melbourne Arthritis will diagnose cause of your back pain by asking appropriate questions and by examining your spine. A complete examination includes identifying unusual curves of the spine, a tilted pelvis, tilting of the shoulders, poor posture and a test of your sensations.

Other diagnostic tests may be required to confirm the diagnosis prior to the treatment.

Non-surgical offered treatments for back pain includes:

  • Anti-inflammatory medications or NSAIDs to provide pain relief
  • Physiotherapy management
  • Myotherapy
  • Cold packs or heat packs (depends on the stage of pain) may help ease the discomfort and relieve the pain
  • Sleeping with the pillow between the knees while lying on one side, or placing the pillow under your knees when lying on your back
  • Exercises to strengthen your core, abdomen and back muscles
  • Photo-bio-stimulation (cold laser):latest technology, with no thermal feeling, reduces inflammation and facilitates the repair and tissue by laser energy.
  • Targeted injections including facet joints, foraminal, epidural or nerve root injection or sacroiliac joint injections.

These treatments may help relieve your back pain, although surgical procedures may be required for more serious cases. Within your appointment your physician explains the reasons and treatment options based on several factors for you.

Back pain prevention

The key to preventing back pain is keeping your back flexible and strong. In most cases back pain can be prevented by making a few lifestyle changes:

  • Exercise Regularly – exercise is key to a healthy back. It will improve your posture and increase muscle support of the spine. The main types of exercise that will help to keep your back strong, and reduce the risk of back pain/ injury, include: – low impact aerobic exercise – aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days. This can be broken into shorter blocks of exercise if you prefer. Low impact aerobic exercises include Pilates, walking, swimming, yoga, tai chi or group exercise classes.
  • Core Muscle Strengthening – strengthening exercises build muscle strength, provide stability to your joints and improve functionality (the ability to move and provide structural support for your body). Examples include lifting weights, climbing stairs, hiking hills, and body weight exercises such as planks, partial abdominal crunches, bridges and squats.
  • Stretching Exercises – help maintain flexibility. Stretching your back regularly means that your muscles are more supple and less prone to injury. Examples of stretching exercises are yoga and Pilates.
  • Manage your Weight – try to maintain a healthy weight to lessen the strain on your back.
  • Quit Smoking – smoking increases your chances of developing back pain.
  • Develop Good Posture – be aware of your posture particularly when sitting at home, at work or in the car. Don’t slouch, and use supports such as a lumbar support or footstool where needed.
  • Take Regular Stretch Breaks – when you’re driving, standing or sitting for long periods of time, take a moment to stretch or move about. Try to do this every hour. This will help change the position of your joints and loosen your muscles.
  • Lift and Carry Safely – if you’re picking up a heavy load, squat down, hold the object as close to your body as practical and lift by using your legs. Make sure you keep your back straight. Get some help from another person or use equipment (e.g. a trolley) if the load is too heavy to manage comfortably on your own.
  • Relax – learn some relaxation techniques to reduce stress levels and related muscle tension. Try massage, heat or cold packs and gentle exercise. Seek advice from a physiotherapist.
  • Try Mindfulness – this is a form of meditation that has been scientifically proven to reduce levels of pain.
  • Sleep on a Good Mattress – a medium to firm mattress is best for preventing back pain. It should be firm enough to support your shoulders and hips and buttocks without sagging and should keep your spine straight.Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach and use a pillow that doesn’t push your neck into a steep angle.
  • Shoes - try to wear flat shoes as they place less strain on your back.

See Dr Ghaz f you have back pain and any warning signs such as:

  • Severe pain that gets worse instead of better over time
  • You’re generally unwell with your back pain or have a fever
  • Problems with passing/controlling urine or bowel movements
  • Numbness around your anus or genitals
  • Numbness, pins-and-needles or weakness in your legs, back or anywhere else
  • Unsteadiness on your feet
  • Back pain occurring with unexplained weight loss
  • Redness or swelling on your back

Neck Pain

The first 7 vertebral bones on the spinal column form the cervical spine. The neck bears the weight of the head and allows significant amount of movement, but is less protected than other parts of the spine. All these factors make the neck more susceptible to injury or other painful disorders, especially when subjected to stress during sports, posture at work and physical activities. Fortunately, our specialist in Melbourne Arthritis can provide trusted advice and assistance.

Causes of Neck Pain

Common neck pain may occur due to muscle strain or tension in everyday activities; including poor posture, prolonged use of a computer and sleeping in an uncomfortable position. The most common type of neck pain is caused by injury to the soft tissues (muscles, ligaments or nerves) or prolonged wear and tear. Traumatic accidents, whiplash injury and contact sports can also cause serious neck injuries. Neck pain can also come from infections, tumours or congenital abnormalities of the vertebrae.

Common conditions that produce neck pain include:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: An auto-immune disease in which the body's immune system attacks healthy joints, tissues and organs. The condition occurs most often in the upper neck area, causing inflammation of the lining (or synovium) of joints, resulting in neck pain, stiffness, swelling and loss of function.
  • Cervical disc herniation: The bulging or rupture of the soft fibrous tissue cushioning the vertebrae. Cervical disc herniation refers to herniation of discs in the cervical spine region or neck region. As a result, the soft central portion called nucleus pulposus bulges out through the tear in the capsule. The condition can be caused by normal aging or by traumatic injury to the spine. The condition results in painful, burning, tingling or numbing sensations.
  • Cervical Spondylosis: Abnormal degeneration of the cartilage and bones in the neck region. The condition results in neck pain radiating to the arms or shoulder and neck stiffness that gets worse over time.
  • Cervical Stenosis: Narrowing of the spinal canal that protects the spinal cord and its branching nerves. The condition causes neck pain radiating to the arms and hands.
  • Degenerative disc disease: Gradual deterioration of the disc between the vertebrae caused by aging. As people age, intervertebral discs lose their flexibility, elasticity and shock absorption, resulting in neck pain.

Diagnosis of neck pain is made by a neck pain specialist with physical examinations and other imaging techniques, including electromyography (EMG), X-ray, MRI scan, CT scan, blood tests and bone density assessment.

Treatments for Neck Pain

Our specialist in Melbourne recommends rest of the injured area.

Medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, analgesics and muscle relaxants may be prescribed to reduce pain and inflammation.

Certain stretching and strengthening exercises, soft tissue massage or myofascial release may be suggested and applied by our physiotherapist for you.

Also, meditation to relieve stress is mostly beneficial to reduce stress and tension of muscles.

Surgical treatment by anterior cervical discectomy with spinal fusion is typically recommended only if the result of non-surgical treatment methods was not optimal to relieve the pain.

Contact Our Neck & Back Pain Specialists in Melbourne Today

To make an appointment with our Physician, Neurosurgeon or Physiotherapist, please contact Melbourne Arthritis today. We have convenient clinic locations for locals in Ringwood East, Mulgrave, Vermont South, Wantirna and Templestowe Lower.