- Average cost of Spinal Fusion: $46,429*
- Average cost of Discetomy: $13,210*
- Average cost of Epidural: $1000/shot with a minimum of 3 shots needed to achieve relief for a grand total average cost of
- Average cost of physical therapy: $200 per visit with an average of 8 visits needed to achieve acceptable results for an average total cost
- Cost of DDS 300: $299
- Up to 90 percent of Americans will suffer from back pain at some point in their life.
- Up to 50 percent will have more than one episode of back pain
- America spends $50 billion a year on low back pain
- Low back pain is second only to the common cold as a cause of lost days at work
- Back pain is the second most common neurologic complaint in the US. Headache is number one.
- 90 percent of those with never root irritation in their backs will have improved symptoms in two months no matter what treatment is given…even if no treatment is given.
- Doctors refer to back pain as acute if it is less than a month old, and chronic if it lasts for a longer period of time.
- Back pain is a symptom, not a cause
- Two most common causes of back pain are injury and disease
- Nerve root syndrome is when a nerve is pinched by misalignment in vertebrae, a herniated disc or similar condition
- Sciatica is the most common example of nerve root syndrome
- Herniated discs are the most common cause of sciatica
- Herniated discs are found in one-third of adults older than 20, yet only 3 percent of those produce symptoms of nerve impingement
- Other causes of back pain range from Spondylosis (discs loosing volume and height with age) to Stenosis (narrowing of the spinal column)
- Doctors have a check list of 11 red flags to look for in patients complaining of back pain to determine if a serious problem may be present.
- Recent significant trauma in younger to middle-age patients
- Recent mild trauma in patients 50 and older
- History of prolonged steroid use
- History of osteoporosis
- Anyone 70 yrs or older
- Prior history of cancer
- History of recent infection
- Current body temp of 100 F or over
- History of IV drug use
- Indications of increased back pain while at rest
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unless there is an injury resulting in severe trauma, X-rays are generally not effective in finding the source of severe back pain
- While more detailed than an X-ray, an MRI’s are not recommended unless there are some serious red flags that need to be inspected or if pain persists for more than one month
- Studies have shown that MRIs fail to diagnose up to 20 percent of ruptured discs
- CT scans are X-rays that are able to produce cross-sectional picture of the body.
- EMG (placement of very small needles into the affected muscles) is used in more chronic pain cases and is used to predict the level of nerve root damage.
- Blood tests can indicate the presence of inflammation and white blood cell counts
- In the acute (initial) stage of back pain, doctors recommend rest over activity.
- In the chronic stage of back pain doctors recommend movement and mild stretching.
- Experts agree that prolonged bed rest is not the answer because it is shown to lead to a slower recovery and possibly lead to depression, clots in the leg and decreased muscle tone.
- Over-the-counter drugs such as Ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help ease pain but prolonged use of ibuprofen is not recommended due to risk of ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Prescription pain meds called NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications) are doctor’s go-to drugs for first level of back pain treatment
- COX-2 inhibitors such as brand name Celebrex are another option
- Muscle relaxants are generally not recommended due to lack of proof of effectiveness
- Opiod-based drugs are effective at decreasing acute pain but have many side effects such as dependence, sedations, nausea and constipation among others.
- Steroids can be of benefit in treating acute sciatica, but not recommended for chronic sciatica.
- Surgery is seldom considered for acute back pain and only should be considered as a last resort for chronic back pain.
- Spinal (chiropractic) manipulation is beneficial in people in the first month of symptoms, but has unproven results for chronic back pain.
- Decompression therapy has show promising results in patients with impinged nerves due to herniated or bulging discs
- Constriction back braces are shown only to be effective in immobilizing the patient for recovery during post operative surgery. Prolonged use is not recommended due to the side effect of muscle
- Soft decompression back braces such as the DDS 300 have shown positive results for patients with pain associated with disc problems, stenosis, spondylosis, spondylolisthesis, lumbgo, spina bifida
and other indications.
- Back belts are often worn by workers who lift a lot such as in warehouses. Studies have failed to prove these belts prevent back injury and one study even suggested they increase the probability
- Exercise is highly recommended for overall healthy, but high impact exercise may actually create back pain. Use caution when choosing your exercise routine.
- Other than exercise, staying active is the single best thing you can do to avoid back pain. Even with back pain, never stay in bed longer than 2 days. Studies have shown that active patients heal
faster than inactive patients.