If your back and/or neck are hurting you for long periods of time, it may be an indicator that you have an underlying condition. For many patients, this pain can get in the way of their ability to live their lives comfortably. Although unwanted, neck and back pain can help your orthopedic specialist accurately diagnose your underlying condition.
Let’s discuss further the common causes of neck and back pain, how neck and back pain can help your orthopedic specialist diagnose your condition, and which treatment options are available to help alleviate your back and neck pain for the long term.
Common Causes of Neck and Back Pain
Back pain can affect the mid-and upper back (which spans from the 7th cervical vertebra down to the bottom of the 12th thoracic vertebra) or the lower back (also called the lumbar spine, which spans below the 12th thoracic vertebra down to the sacrum between the pelvic bones). Lower back pain can also affect the coccyx (or tailbone), which patients may feel radiate down towards their legs.
Neck pain, on the other hand, typically affects the 7 cervical vertebrae at the upper portion of the spine. This type of pain tends to radiate downward and outward, causing patients to feel discomfort towards the base of their skull, their shoulders, and their upper back.
While some neck and back pain can be caused by trauma due to an accident or physical activity, others may find they experience neck and back pain due to the following:
- Being overweight
- Degenerative diseases like osteoporosis
- General aging
- Genetic conditions like scoliosis
- Herniated or slipped discs
- Structural spine issues
Diagnosing Your Back or Neck Condition
When diagnosing your neck and back pain, your orthopedic specialist will likely start by asking you about your medical history and recent physical activities. It’s important that you be open and honest about your past with your provider to ensure they have a full understanding of what may be causing your neck and back pain.
After reviewing your medical history, your provider may perform a physical examination in addition to diagnostic testing and imaging. This physical examination may involve palpating the affected areas and testing your range of motion/mobility. Diagnostic testing and imaging may include:
- CT Scan
The area in which you are experiencing your neck and/or back pain can tell your physician a lot about your potential underlying condition. For example, lower back pain may be more likely caused by a bulging or herniated disc, whereas upper back pain may be more likely caused by a genetic condition. Let your provider know exactly where you’re feeling discomfort and the type of discomfort you are feeling, whether it’s a pinching or burning sensation. These are all clues that allow your provider to get a better understanding of your condition.
Orthopedic Specialist in New York
If you’re suffering from neck and back pain and are looking for relief, we encourage you to seek help from the orthopedic specialists at EMU Health. Our team of dedicated, board-certified doctors is proud to offer a wide range of cutting-edge, evidence-based orthopedic services to men and women in Glendale and the neighboring communities of New York.
In addition to our orthopedic services, we are also proud to host a variety of other specialties, including cardiology, women’s health, and primary care. To find out which services are right for you and your concerns, we encourage you to contact us at your earliest convenience.
If you have any questions about our orthopedic services or symptoms you’ve been experiencing, we encourage you to contact us at (718) 850-4368. To schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists, feel free to use our convenient online appointment request form.