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Getting rid of back pain - Health Education

A cause of frequent visits to the doctor

Spine problems can hamper movement, restrict activity, impact work and take a toll on your overall quality of life.

CDM-2013-Back pain

Getting rid of back pain

Fairview Northland Medical Center now offers interventional pain management care with the addition of Mark Yamaguchi, MD, and Mark Janiga, MD, from Midwest Spine Institute. Both are anesthesiologists with extensive pain management training and experience.

Dr. Yamaguchi answers some of the most common questions about back and neck pain, including epidural steroid injections.

Q. What causes back and neck pain? When should a person consider a consult from a spine specialist or interventional pain physician?  

A. The most common cause of back and neck pain is musculoskeletal strain. Generally, this can be treated with anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication, heat packs, and mild activity like stretching and short walks. A musculoskeletal strain may be caused from overuse of the muscle and usually resolves in a few weeks. If symptoms don’t improve within six weeks, you may want to ask your primary care provider to refer you to a spine or interventional pain doctor.

If symptoms of weakness or loss of sensation in your legs or arms accompany the pain, your doctor may order an MRI and refer you to a spine or interventional pain provider right away for more advanced treatment.

Q. What can an interventional pain doctor do to ease my back and neck pain?


A. The first step to eliminating back and neck pain is to diagnose what’s causing the problem, often including imaging tests such as a MRI. Inflamed and irritated spinal nerves are often to blame for low back pain, which are best treated using advanced techniques provided by an interventional pain doctor.

We offer a wide range of conservative and minimally invasive treatment options, and if necessary, surgery.  One of the most common treatments we perform is an epidural injection.
 
Q: What are epidural injections? How do these injections work? Are they painful? How long does it take? Will I feel immediate relief?  
A: Epidural injections deliver a long-acting corticosteroid (a potent anti-inflammatory medication) through a very fine needle into the epidural space using live X-ray guidance to allow us to precisely target the nerve or disc that’s generating the pain. The corticosteroid medication coats the nerve to decrease inflammation and irritation. I let patients know that it can take three to five days to notice the pain-relieving effects of the injection.

To limit pain during this procedure, many patients choose to have conscious sedation, which is a combination of medicines to help you relax (a sedative) and block pain (an anesthetic). Conscious sedation is safe and effective to use for short, uncomplicated procedures such as epidural injections. The injection procedure only takes about 15 minutes; however, we monitor patients for 30 minutes to an hour following the injection as a standard safety protocol. If you have conscious sedation, you’ll need to have someone drive you home. 

Q: What should I do if I have back or neck pain?
A: If you or a loved one is experiencing back or neck pain, talk to your primary care doctor about whether a referral to an interventional pain or spine doctor would be appropriate. If so, call 651-430-3800 to schedule an appointment with a Midwest Spine Institute expert at Fairview Clinics – Princeton. Visit midwestspineinstitue.com to learn more about treatment options.

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Fairview features nearly 4,000 providers practicing at over 200 locations throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area and beyond. Fairview Clinics, University of Minnesota Physicians and our independent partner clinics provide an exceptional care experience, while lowering the overall costs of health care.

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Our Providers Make the Difference
Fairview features nearly 4,000 providers practicing at over 200 locations throughout the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area and beyond. Fairview Clinics, University of Minnesota Physicians and our independent partner clinics provide an exceptional care experience, while lowering the overall costs of health care.
 
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