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What to do for Back Pain With Dr. Kevin Rod

October 01, 2019 in Back Pain

What to do for back pain

Video: What to do for Back Pain With Dr. Kevin Rod

Chronic and acute back pain is one of the most common ailments worldwide. Half of all working Americans experience these symptoms every year, and those are just those who report it. Up to 80% of people will experience a back issue at some point during their lives. In general, this condition tends to have a mechanical cause, as opposed to one that arises from a serious ailment. As a result, it can be dealt with.  

In this video, we are joined by Dr. Kevin Rod of the Toronto Poly Clinic Medical Centre. He breaks down the condition, as well as solutions and strategies for those who suffer from it.

Transcript for the Video

Kathe: Hi everyone. Welcome back to Dr. Ho's Healthy Living vlog. We are joined by Dr. Kevin Rod of the Toronto Poly Clinic. We're here to talk about back pain.

Dr. Rod: Yes.

Kathe: Dr. Rod, back pain, chronic back pain, lots of different types of back pain. As someone who works at Dr. Ho's, I feel like this is probably the thing we hear the most.

Dr. Rod: Yeah.

Kathe: Can you provide some insight? What exactly is causing all that chronic pain in people?

Dr. Rod: Chronic back pain is, or generally speaking, back pain is probably one of the most common reasons that people come to clinics and seeking help. You can divide them into different classifications, acute back pain and chronic back pain. Acute back pain is the back pain that can happen because of any injuries-

Kathe: Okay.

Dr. Rod: ... or any other reasons. Chronic is when the pain doesn't go away after three months.
Kathe: Let's say I took a tumble down the stairs and tweaked my back. That would be acute-

Dr. Rod: Yeah.

Kathe: ... but if two, three, four weeks later, my back is still sore, then we're in chronic territory?

Dr. Rod: Yes.

Kathe: Okay.

Dr. Rod: If after three months it doesn't resolve, it's chronic pain.

Kathe: Okay. What's the first step when people think that they're suffering from back pain? What should they do?

Dr. Rod: As I said, it is very common, but if it is not going away, if it's bad enough to interfere with activities of daily life, then that's the time that they have to go and seek help from their doctors to have a proper diagnosis.

Kathe: Mm-hmm

Dr. Rod: Yeah, they take a thorough history as we always do to find the sources because there are so many different reasons that can lead into a bank pain and then a physical examination. At times, they need to do some tests like x-ray, CT scan, MRIs to find out what exactly is going on.

Kathe: Can you maybe show us on our nice friend, our very skinny friend here, but what you might do to kind of, I don't know, do you touch, what do you x-ray? What exactly is the process?

Dr. Rod: Well, if you look at the spine, the spine is divided into cervical spine, thoracic spine and lumbar spine. When we talk about back pain, we are usually talking about the last five vertebrae of the lumbar spine, then the sacrum, and then the bones that surrounds this whole area. These are the areas that are usually affected because of the issue. If you look at the spine, we have muscles around the spine, we have ligaments that connect the bones, we have nerves that are coming from each side out. Each of these elements can be affected and can be source of the pain. When we take a history and we do physical examination and other tests, we are trying to find out which component is the source of the pain. In many cases, it may be multi factorial.

Kathe: Wow. So, we're talking about muscles, we're talking about ligaments, bones. There's a lot of different reasons that people can be suffering. Once you make that diagnosis, what are the next steps? How do people get over their back pain?

Dr. Rod: Well, depending on the diagnosis, that leads into treatment plans. The treatment plan is usually comprehensive treatment plan that would help the patient to be mobilized, but activity based treatment is very important.

Kathe: Is that something like maybe you'd see a physiotherapist, they'd give you a series of exercises to do depending on what the diagnosis is from the doctor?

Dr. Rod: Yeah. If it's a back injury at the beginning for acute back pain, usually rest is advisable, but after a few days, having a range of motion exercise is important because if the muscles and the size of the spine become too stiff and we are not using them, we start to lose the integrity of the muscles. Losing the muscles will put more pressure on those ligaments and the spine elements that we talked about.

Proper regime of exercise advised by a physician or physiotherapist or chiropractor is important. We can use some medical devices like different type of belts, electrical belts or tens machines that will reduce the stiffness of the muscle and reduce the pain. There might be some muscle relaxer medication that would be advisable. When it's chronic, some procedures like injections can be helpful. In this facility, we have advanced facility for injections under guidance of x-ray or ultrasound, or based on the anatomical landmarks, some injection of local anesthetics or steroids can reduce inflammation and help the severity.

Kathe: Okay. Well, Dr. Rod, thank you so much. I think this has been really helpful for a lot of people to learn that there are answers out there. There are treatments. You don't have to live with it. Until next time, we'll see you then. Bye.

Dr. Rod: Thank you. Bye.

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