Navid Farahmand, M.D., is an interventional pain management physician who treats conditions that cause back pain. Based in Beverly Hills, California, he offers treatments targeting each individual’s specific problem, as not all causes of back pain have the same solution.
Back pain is a common condition with multiple causes. Injuries from trauma like an automobile accident or work-related injury can result in chronic muscle spasm which the body interprets as back pain. Similarly, posture and poor body mechanics have considerable influence on the back as both can cause muscle tension, fatigue and, spasm which results in pain. Excess laxity in the ligaments surrounding the spine may promote spinal instability and pain. Many people develop back pain as they age from degenerative problems. The cartilaginous cushions (called “discs”) between the bones of the spine may gradually degenerate over time from wear and tear, or can rupture acutely due to trauma and other forms of injury. In addition to age, overloading the spine with excess weight can contribute to premature degeneration, and in some cases prior back surgery can accelerate the degeneration of spinal segments adjacent to where the surgery was performed.
The human spine is a complex piece of anatomy with multiple joints and muscular and ligamentous attachments at each level. Twenty-four bones (vertebrae) make up the spine, each with a spongy disc of cartilage between them to help cushion the spine. One of the chief functions of the bony spine is to surround and protect the spinal cord, which can be found running down the center of the spinal column.The spine and its support structures have to be rigid enough to help protect the spinal cord and support upright posture, yet simultaneously flexible enough to allow for the broad range of motion we enjoy such as flexion, extension, rotation and side bending. Any process which can weaken or otherwise damage any of the components that make up the spine, or which results in spinal nerve irritation, can cause the development of pain.
Treatment modalities for back pain vary according to cause and symptoms. For example, a minor injury like a muscle strain can usually be managed with ice and/or heat, anti-inflammatory medications and a few days of rest. Physical therapy and exercise can strengthen the supporting muscles, improve flexibility, decrease pain and prevent future injury. Injury to the discs in-between the vertebrae, or impingement of the spinal nerves can require administration of steroids behind the spinal nerves, more commonly known as an epidural steroid injection or nerve root injection. In select patients who have not responded to conservative measures and are not likely to benefit from formal spine surgery, a device known as a spinal cord stimulator can be implanted to help reduce the individual’s perception of pain. This is by no means a complete list of available treatments options. A consultation with Dr. Farahmand will help identify your source of pain and the treatments best suited for your particular problem.