Dr. Brandon Claflin Of Oklahoma Answers Why You Shouldn't Ignore Spine Pain
Chalking up back pain as “standard aging aches and pains,” could be ignoring severe health challenges that can be resolved with the right medical help. Pain isn’t something you have to “just live with” as you age. You now have access to brilliant spine and pain management doctors who can provide cutting-edge physical therapy, world-class medicines and injections, and a wide range of therapies proven to help people with back and spine pain.
Dr. Brandon Claflin in Oklahoma is one of these brilliant spine and pain management doctors who runs comprehensive, full-time pain clinics in Northeastern Oklahoma. If you are in the area, please contact the Oklahoma Interventional Spine & Pain clinic. We checked with Dr. Claflin to ask about what back pain could really be telling us. Below are four causes of back pain that are attached to greater issues that should not be ignored.
4 Causes of Back Pain by Dr. Brandon Claflin of Oklahoma
A pinched nerve can happen when too much pressure (compression) is placed on a spinal nerve, by surrounding tissues that might be bone or cartilage. In some cases, a “slipped” or herniated spinal disc compresses a nerve root. In other instances, tendons or muscles may cause the pinching.
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Ruptured discs can be the consequence of a natural aging process, where the discs get older and drier. In addition, ruptures can happen from being overweight, with the extra pounds placing too much strain on spinal discs. When discs rupture, their inner contents enter into the spinal canal – a small bony tunnel formed by the vertebrae that protects your spinal cord. Nerves also run through the spinal canal. Since your spinal canal can’t accommodate this excess tissue, often the ruptured disc presses against a spinal nerve, causing the following symptoms:
- Back and/or neck pain
- Difficulty walking
- Numb arms or legs
- Radiating pain in your arms or legs
Depending on the type and severity of your ruptured disc, Dr. Brandon Claflin of Oklahoma may recommend a few therapies and anti-inflammatory medicines.
Spinal stenosis happens when the space inside your backbone is too small, and pressure is put on the spinal cord and nerves within the spine. Pain from this condition is often felt in the neck and lower back, and is caused by normal wear and tear from aging.
Signs of spinal stenosis include:
- Lower back pain
- Muscle weakness
- Numbness, cramping in legs
- Impaired bladder or bowel control
Spinal stenosis can be caused by a number of factors, including:
- Slipped discs
- Spinal injuries
- Bone spurs from arthritis
- Aging ligaments
- Age-related changes in the spine
In his approach to spine and pain management, Dr. Claflin first starts by administering spinal injections to reduce swelling and pain. He may use other therapies and medicines as needed.
Compression fractures are hairline fractures that occur in your vertebrae. When your vertebrae lose minerals and become more porous, they start to fracture and collapse. This, too, can often be a result of aging, as well as osteoporosis (a loss of bone mass).
Losing height and hunching over are the result of unhealthy aging, and are generally a sign that you may have compression fractures. Over time, a cough, fall, or lifting a heavy object may also cause a fracture of your backbones.
According to Doctor Brandon Claflin of Oklahoma, a spine and pain management expert, compression fractures can be repaired with injections and other therapies. Specific medicines may also be provided to relieve pain. In very serious cases, minimal surgery may be needed.
There are two different types of arthritis that cause back pain:
- Osteoarthritis of the spine, or facet joint arthritis, occurs as the protective tissue on bones (cartilage) gradually wears away due to aging. When the cartilage between your joints slowly breaks down, this leads to mechanical damage (movement), inflammation and pain. Symptoms in general may include a stiffness in your spine that prevents you from straightening your back, or a grinding feeling when moving your spine. This pain is most noticeable when you bend or twist your back. Previous back injuries may also contribute to the development of this type of arthritis.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease that attacks your protective tissue. An autoimmune disease is when your immune system turns on itself. In this case, it attacks the lining of your joints (synovium) or the spine and neck (cervical region). This type of arthritis may occur at any age but is most common in middle-aged women. It may cause back and joint pain, even when neither is being used.
Many factors, such as age, pain level, type of arthritis, etc., will determine your healing plan. Since joint damage caused by arthritis is irreversible, treatment usually focuses on managing pain and preventing further damage.
Nonsurgical treatments for spinal arthritis may include:
- Medicine: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
- Pills or injections: Corticosteroids can reduce pain and swelling.
- Other medications: These can target specific symptoms or triggers of inflammatory arthritis.
- Physical therapy: It may improve back muscle strength and range of motion in your spine.
- Lifestyle changes: The goal would be to reduce inflammation or stress on your spine caused by negative factors such as smoking, being overweight, lack of exercise, and having bad posture.
Finding a spine and pain management doctor, such as Dr. Brandon Claflin in Oklahoma, is vital to putting yourself on a path to managing your pain – so that your pain doesn’t manage you! Start by asking your primary care doctor for referrals. You can also do an online search for “spine and back pain management doctors near me.”
Never accept that you have to live with pain – at any age. Giving in to the notion of “that’s just the way it is” as you get older, not only places you at risk of ignoring even bigger health challenges that should be addressed as soon as possible, but can also set you up for an unnecessarily unhealthy life.