Back Pain

Get Back Your Mobility with Advanced Orthopedic Care

If you’re suffering from a back injury, have a long-term back or spine condition or are living with the realities of normal wear and tear, Tenet Health Central Coast can help. We provide convenient access to a comprehensive range of orthopedic techniques and procedures in San Luis Obispo and surrounding areas to help treat conditions like herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, spine or back fractures and more.

Our team of specialists at the Spine Center will work with you to provide personalized treatment and care, from the onset of your symptoms to recovery, with a focus on exploring all your nonsurgical options first. And if you need surgery, our specially trained spine surgeons in San Luis Obispo are ready to provide the best surgical options based on your condition.

Are you ready to get back to your normal routine? Call 833-300-8748 to speak with a back pain doctor in San Luis Obispo. Your safe orthopedic care is our #1 priority.

What Conditions Do We Help Treat?

  • Back or spine fractures
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated disc
  • Kyphosis
  • Radiculopathy
  • Scoliosis
  • Spine cancer
  • Spondylolisthesis

What Causes Back Pain?

Research says that up to 80% of Americans experience lower back pain, and its first attack or symptoms usually occur between age 30 and 50. Lower back pain is commonly caused by a problem in one or more parts of the lower back such as the nerves, ligaments, spine and muscles. It is also known as lumbago.

Acute back pain can last from several days to a few weeks, while chronic back pain usually lasts beyond three months. Some of the most common causes of back pain are as follows:

  • A herniated or ruptured disc
  • Abnormal spine curvatures (i.e., scoliosis, lordosis, kyphosis)
  • Arthritis
  • Bladder issue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Kidney infection or kidney stones
  • Osteoporosis
  • Spine infection
  • Sciatica
  • Spine cancer
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Strained muscles

What Are the Risk Factors for Back Pain?

The following may increase a person’s risk for back pain:

  • Arthritis
  • Engaging in high-impact activities without warming up or stretching first
  • Obesity
  • Old age
  • Physical inactivity
  • Smoking

What Can You Do to Relieve Back Pain?

Regardless if your back pain is acute or severe, we recommend that you see a back pain doctor in San Luis Obispo as soon as possible to get the treatment you need before it gets worse. And while waiting for your doctor appointment, we recommend the following for temporary pain relief:

  • Try a low-impact activity (i.e., yoga, stretching or a short walk) to loosen tense muscles.
  • Apply an ice pack or a heating pad to your back to reduce inflammation or to loosen stiff muscles.
  • Grab an over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief cream.
  • Sleep in a comfortable position with extra pillows for additional support.
  • Manage or reduce stress through meditation, deep breathing, etc.
  • Wear shoes that provide additional support to your feet.

How Do You Know if Your Back Pain Is Serious?

Back pain, although quite common, may be a sign of a more serious condition. If you experience the following symptoms of a more serious case of back pain, please do not delay care. See a back pain doctor in San Luis Obispo as early as possible.

  • Back deformity or swelling
  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Pain that comes with a throbbing sensation in the stomach
  • Pain that gets worse at night
  • Pain that gets worse when you sneeze, cough or poop
  • Pain that makes it difficult for you to fall or stay asleep
  • Tingling or numbness around your buttocks or genitals
  • Tingling, numbness or weakness in one or both legs
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Pain after a fall or a blow to the back

How Do Back Pain Doctors Diagnose Back Pain?

Our back pain doctors in San Luis Obispo conduct a physical exam to diagnose back pain and test the patient’s ability to walk and stand, leg strength, reflexes, spinal range of motion and ability to detect sensation in the legs. For more severe symptoms, the back pain doctor may also request other tests and screenings which may include any of the following:

  • Blood tests
  • Bone scans
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Electromyography (EMG)
  • Urine tests
  • X-ray

What Are the Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Back Pain?

Some types of back pain get better over time. This is also why back and spine doctors offer nonsurgical options first to patients such as the following:

  • Alternative medicine (i.e., massage, cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture, relaxation techniques, etc.)
  • Antidepressants
  • Back braces
  • Ice or heat therapy
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Prescription medications (i.e., ibuprofen and naproxen)
  • Steroid injections
  • Topical rubs and ointments

What Are the Surgical Treatment Options for Back Pain?

If nonsurgical treatment options are still not enough to relieve your back pain, your back pain doctor may endorse you for a surgical treatment option such as any of the following:

  • Artificial disk replacement
  • Discectomy
  • Foraminotomy
  • Nucleoplasty
  • Spinal decompression
  • Spinal fusion
  • Spinal laminectomy
  • Vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty

What Types of Back Pain Require Surgery?

According to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), the following back pain-related conditions may benefit from surgical treatment:

  • Degenerative disc disease - a condition that usually occurs as a person gets older when the normal architecture of the pads between each of the spinal discs become damaged.
  • Herniated or ruptured disk - a condition that is characterized by a bulging or protruding disk that may occur anywhere along the spine or the lower back.
  • Spinal stenosis - a spine disorder caused by the normal wear-and-tear effects of aging.
  • Spondylolisthesis - a condition where one of the spinal bones, known as vertebra, slip out of position. This usually occurs in the lower back but may also happen anywhere along the spine or at the back of the neck.
  • Vertebral fracture - a condition that can be caused by trauma, a metastatic disease or osteoporosis.

The thought of undergoing surgery can be frightening for some patients. But you can rest assured that our orthopedic surgeons in San Luis Obispo are experienced in what they do and provide compassionate care that can make you feel comfortable, supported and guided every step of the way.

Find a Back Pain Doctor

Request one of our back pain doctors in San Luis Obispo to get a second opinion, or a really good first one.

More Information