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Are You Among the Millions Who Suffer from Low Back Pain?

March 13, 2012

Learn what you can do at an upcoming Health & Wellness Seminar with the experts

Despite many amazing advances in health care in recent years, one common condition that continues to challenge Americans and the medical community is low back pain. According to Spine Journal, a publication of the National Association of Spine Surgeons, between 60 percent and 90 percent of adults in the U.S. will experience low back pain at some time in their lives. It is the second most common reason people go to the doctor. And yet, for 85 percent of those who seek care for low back pain, no exact cause is identified.

"At any given time, 30 million to 40 million people in this country are suffering with low back pain," said Jenny Multani, M.D., a neurosurgeon on the medical staff of Washington Hospital in Fremont. "Most people's back pain will resolve on its own within a few weeks, without the need for immediate treatment or surgical intervention. But, it is important to know when you need to seek medical care."

To learn the answer, you are invited to a free Health & Wellness seminar, Common Back Conditions and Pain Management, sponsored by Washington Hospital. Dr. Multani and Robert Miller, M.D., a board certified physiatrist who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation and is also on the medical staff of Washington Hospital, will discuss key aspects and answer questions about low back pain, including techniques to lessen pain and discomfort.

The seminar will be held on Tuesday, March 20 from 1p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium in the Washington West building next door to Washington Hospital. To reserve your spot, go online to www.whhs.com and look under Upcoming Seminars, or call (800) 963-7070.

A board certified neurosurgeon, Dr. Multani has completed fellowships in spine instrumentation and spine reconstruction. As a physiatrist, or doctor specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation, Dr. Miller has had four years of training in addition to medical school and is an expert in musculoskeletal medicine. Physiatrists have played an important role in the rehabilitation of several high profile individuals, including actor Christopher Reeve and Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

"Low back pain can be related to a number of common problems, including osteoarthritis, straining of the lower back muscles, or a range of other conditions involving the hips, legs, pelvis or spinal vertebrae/anatomy," explained Dr. Miller.

Dr. Multani will also talk about what generates low back pain and the different forms of pain people may experience

"Once you understand the basics about identifying your pain and where it is originating from, your anxiety level will decrease considerably," she stated.

Both doctors agree that, if treatment is needed, in most cases the best initial approach is to be conservative. There are also things you, as the patient, can do to improve the effectiveness of treatment.

"Stretching and strengthening the core lower back muscles can help insure the success of a conservative approach to managing low back pain," commented Dr. Miller. "Unfortunately, the trend today is to rely too heavily on technology in diagnosing and treating low back problems. As a result, some of the most effective preventative skill sets for treatment are being underutilized. I will talk more about this at the seminar."

Seminar attendees will learn about what to expect if they experience low back pain and what they can do. If you decide to seek medical care and a problem is identified that warrants intervention, you should understand your options, both surgical and non-surgical.

"Of course, most surgeons want to operate, but it is important that you, as the patient, are comfortable with the chosen approach," added Dr. Multani. "We'll talk about when you should agree to surgery and the alternatives to consider, such as pain management strategies, physical therapy, pain medications and other pain control intervention techniques. You should also understand when it is best to apply one or more of these approaches."

Dr. Miller will talk further about pain management, including some common, everyday steps you can take at home to minimize back pain. He'll address the controversy about when to use heat and when to use ice and explain about nontraditional methods of pain management, including pain patches, pain gels, acupuncture and biofeedback.

Learn more

To learn more about low back pain diagnosis and treatment and pain management, come to Common Back Conditions and Pain Management on Tuesday, March 20 from 1p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium in the Washington West building on Mowry Avenue in Fremont. To reserve your spot or for further information, visit www.whhs.com, click on Community Connection and select Community Classes, Seminars and Events, or call (800) 963-7070.

You can also get more information online at www.aapmr.org, the Web site of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

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