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For better back healthBack pain is a common problem. The term back pain generally refers to lower back pain, which may be localised back pain, pain that radiates to the leg, or pain due to poor back posture. Should you have back pain that is constant, radiates to the limbs or wakes you up at night, visit Orton for an assessment of its cause. We will help you find quick and effective relief for your pain.
In the Health 2011 study, 35% of men and 41% of women reported having had back pain during the previous month. The term back pain generally refers to lower back pain, which may be localised back pain, pain that radiates to the leg, or pain due to poor back posture. Accidents, injuries or osteoporosis may result in a fracture of the spine. When treating back pain, it is important to find out how long the pain has persisted. Short-term pain lasts no more than a few weeks. Long-term or chronic pain will have lasted at least three months. In episodic, recurrent back pain, episodes of pain last from a few days to a week. Between these episodes, the back pain disappears completely or almost completely.
Should you have back pain that is constant or periodic or troubles your sleep at night, visit Orton for an assessment of its cause. On your first visit, you will be appointed a primary nurse to design an individual treatment plan for you and monitor your treatment progress. The primary nurse will pass you on to an expert skilled in the treatment of your specific problem. If necessary, several experienced experts in treating back conditions will participate in your care; for example, a physiotherapist, a specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and an orthopaedic surgeon may be involved. Book an appointment with a physiotherapist for a free telephone consultation, tel. +358 9 4748 2705, for quick access to individualised treatment.
Localised back pain
Localised back pain does not radiate to the legs. At Orton, several professionals will work together to establish the cause of your pain. Treatment for localised back pain involves, among others, an assessment by a doctor (an orthopaedic surgeon or a specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation), the necessary further assessments, an evaluation of the need for medication, as well as sessions with a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist and/or a psychologist. Should our staff suspect a rheumatological condition, you will be referred to a rheumatologist.
Long-term back pain
Back pain is considered long-term or chronic if it has persisted for about three months. Treatment is similar to that for localised back pain. In chronic back pain, the need for further assessments should be considered. Treating chronic back pain through medication may be challenging. Surgery or local anaesthetic blocks may sometimes help lessen the pain.
Episodic back pain
In episodic back pain, the back is symptom-free between the episodes of pain. Should episodic pain continue for a longer time, the episodes may gradually start recurring more frequently; they also tend to last longer and result in more lifestyle limitations.
Slipped disc (intervertebral disc prolapse)
In patients with slipped disc (intervertebral disc prolapse), the innermost part of one of the discs between the vertebrae (bones of the spine) pushes into a nerve root canal or into the spinal canal. A slipped disc may press on a spinal nerve or cause a chemical reaction that irritates the nerve. These may cause pain that radiates into the leg, leg numbness and muscle weakness.
The majority of slipped discs heal spontaneously within 1 to 3 months. The related back pain can be treated with painkillers. Walking and physical activity is recommended. Resting in bed will not make the slipped disc heal any faster. You should consult a health care professional if painkillers do not help or the problem persists for more than 6 to 8 weeks. The need for surgery can then be assessed, and rehabilitation can be started to improve functional capacity. Consult a healthcare professional at once if you have pain radiating to the leg accompanied by leg weakness; if you have trouble starting to pass urine; or if you have trouble controlling bowel movements. You may need immediate surgery to release the compressed nerve. A slipped disc is usually diagnosed with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
During slipped (herniated) disc surgery, the herniated tissue is removed from the spinal canal via an incision in the back with the help of a microscope. The operation is performed under general anaesthesia. Generally, patients are allowed to get up from bed on the day of the operation. They can generally return home on the next day. One or two months of sickness leave is usually required after the surgery.
Spinal stenosis is a condition causing nerve compression in the spinal canal. It is most commonly caused by degenerative changes (tissue wear and tear). In the case of the lower back, the most typical symptom is pain that radiates from the lower back to the leg, as well as leg numbness and tingling. If the symptoms become worse on walking, the patient may have so-called intermittent claudication. Stopping, sitting down or a hunched position often reduce symptoms. Intermittent claudication may also be due to atherosclerosis (an arterial condition). Spinal stenosis may cause nerve compression symptoms resembling sciatica, but with pain and numbness in a larger area.
If spinal stenosis occurs in the cervical spine (neck), symptoms will include pain that often radiates to the arm, numbness, as well as poorer hand dexterity on one or both sides. Mild symptoms may be treated with NSAID-type painkillers and physiotherapy (link to the page). Further assessments of your back condition are recommended if you keep experiencing back pain and leg pain on movement. Spinal stenosis is usually diagnosed with an MRI scan. Usually, the stenosis progresses slowly. Medication, physiotherapy and independent exercises are helpful in the majority of cases. The symptoms may also lessen with time.
Decompression surgery is required if the pain becomes intolerable or threatens your ability to perform everyday activities. Immediate surgery is required in the rare cases where the stenosis impairs muscle function, makes it difficult to control bowel movements, or makes you unable to urinate.
Decompression surgery means making more room for the nerves in the spinal canal. The surgery is usually performed via an incision in the back with the help of a microscope. In some cases, the area of the back to be operated on must be stabilised. Spinal fusion surgery is then performed in connection with the decompression procedure. The operation is always performed under general anaesthesia. Patients are generally allowed to get up from bed on the day of the operation if their condition allows. They can usually return home 3 to 4 days after the decompression operation. After a spinal fusion procedure patients can return home 4 to 7 days after surgery. The typical length of sickness leave is 2 to 3 months after decompression surgery and 3 to 6 months after spinal fusion surgery.
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Hygiene standards at Orton are very strict, including hand hygiene by staff members. Particular attention is given to the hygienic properties of the devices, equipment and materials we use in patient care.
Orton specialises in treating musculoskeletal problems and pain. In 2015, we extended our operations to include cataract surgery. Specialist appointments are available at short notice, without referral. Book the appointment that suits you best.