In his latest installment to the Total Spine series of instructional videos, Dr. Paul McCormick describes retropleural thoracotomy, a surgical technique used to treat complex spinal conditions of the thoracic and lumbar spine. “Retropleural thoracotomy is an important...
Low Back Pain
Low back pain is a common disorder that affects millions of individuals each year. Back pain is the single most common cause of lost workdays in the United States and is one of the most common reasons for patients to visit their primary care physicians. In fact, it is estimated that 50 to 80% of the adult population suffers from a memorable episode of low back pain each year.
Most cases of back pain are due to sprain, strain, muscle spasm, and/or intervertebral disc degeneration. These types of pain can be difficult to bear, but the good news is that they generally get better with conservative (non-surgical) treatment: medication, physical therapy, heat or cold packs, etc.
The neurosurgeons at The Spine Hospital at the Neurological Institute of New York handle the few remaining cases—only those cases of back pain that may require surgery. The back pain in these cases may be caused by:
For general information about the spine, and the many parts of it that can contribute to low back pain, please see our overview page here.
Most cases of low back pain will not need surgery. However, the following symptoms are potential “red flags” that might lead a patient to see a neurosurgeon.
|Causes and Risk Factors|
Lower back pain can be caused by any of the following:
Less common causes of lower back pain may include:
The causes of back pain are incredibly varied. If you are experiencing any of the “red flags” above, if your back pain is severe, or if it persists despite conservative care, consider making an appointment.
|Tests and Diagnosis|
The following diagnostic procedures may help determine the cause of low back pain:
In many cases, low back pain can be safely and effectively treated with non-operative measures such as physical therapy and pain medications.
Surgery is reserved for cases of severe pain, symptoms that do not respond to non-operative therapy, and serious conditions that may endanger the spinal cord or surrounding nerves. Surgical treatments vary widely and depend on the ultimate cause of the back pain.
|Preparing for Your Appointment|
Each of The Spine Hospital at the Neurological Institute of New York doctors have expertise in certain surgical treatments of conditions resulting in low back pain. Please see your specific condition to find the doctor best suited to your needs. They can each also offer you a second opinion.
Helpful Surgery Overviews
Dr. McCormick will choose the treatment method specific to each patient and situation. Some of the condition’s treatment options may be listed below.
Columbia Neurosurgeons Named New York’s Super Doctor
Dr McCormick video on microsurgical resection of a synovial cyst causing severe lumbar spinal stenosis published in Operative Neurosurgery
Synovial Cysts are a benign and fairly common condition in adult patients. They can arise in most joints throughout the body. In most cases they are asymptomatic but in the spine they can enlarge to produce severe spinal stenosis and pressure on the spinal nerves...
Dr. McCormick invited speaker at 37th Annual Meeting of the Joint Section on Disorders of the Spine and Peripheral Nerves
Dr. McCormick was a featured speaker at the recent 37th Annual Joint Spine Section Annual Spine Summit meeting held in San Diego. He presented at the Innovative Technology Special Session: Operative Video Segments. His presentation was entitled “Intramedullary Tumor,...