Spine Pain Treatment from GEORGIA'S Top Specialists
Back & Spine Pain
Your spine supports most of your body weight, making it a common source of pain. Spinal pain can radiate from the neck to the lower back, or it can be isolated to a specific area. It can also cause referred pain, which is felt in other areas of the body that are innervated by the same spinal nerve(s).
If you have ongoing low back pain, spine pain specialist Ankur Patel, DO, RPH, and the team at Southern Pain and Spine can help. With our patient-focused approach to care, your Southern Pain and Spine back pain doctor will use physical medicine and minimally invasive, non-narcotic pain relief options to help you take back your life from pain.
If you suffer from neck or back pain, don’t wait to get help from the best spine surgeons in Georgia. Request your first appointment with a pain management physician at Southern Pain and Spine at one of our four locations in Gainesville, Jasper, or Athens.
Back and Spine Pain Treatments
Physical Therapy Evaluation and Oversight
The first step in your care will be a comprehensive evaluation with one of our pain management specialists. We’ll take the time to get to know you, your symptoms, and your goals for treatment.
From there, we’ll develop a personalized care plan that may include physical therapy. Our team will work closely with you and your physical therapist to make sure you’re progressing as planned.
Home Exercise Program Development and Oversight
In addition to physical therapy, we may also recommend a home exercise program. These exercises are designed to stretch and strengthen the muscles that support your spine.
As with physical therapy, our team will work with you to make sure you’re doing the exercises correctly and progressing as planned.
Diagnosis is the first step in finding the right treatment for your spinal pain. Depending on your symptoms and the results of your physical examination, we may recommend imaging studies. These may include X-rays, MRI, or CT scan. These studies help us confirm or rule out a diagnosis and develop an individualized treatment plan.
TENS, Bracing & Compound Topicals
There are many different options for treating spinal pain. Depending on your diagnosis, we may recommend one or more of the following:
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): This is a pain relief option that uses low-voltage electrical current to stimulate the nerves.
- Bracing: This is often used to treat pain associated with degenerative disc disease or spinal stenosis.
- Compound topical analgesics: These are ointments or creams that contain multiple pain-relieving medications. They’re often used to treat nerve pain or pain associated with inflammation.
Chronic pain can take a toll on your mental health. We understand the importance of treating the whole person, not just the pain. For this reason, we offer psychological evaluations and treatment for our patients.
When it comes to back pain, mental health can even play a role in the development and severity of pain. Our team can help you if you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues that are having an impact on your body.
Botulinum Toxin for Spasm and Dystonia
Botulinum toxin is a neurotoxin that can be used to treat muscle spasms and dystonia. It works by temporarily paralyzing the muscles. You may be familiar with the brand name Botox as a treatment for wrinkles, but it can also be used to relieve pain.
Botox is a safe, effective, and non-surgical option for treating muscle spasms. It can be injected into the affected muscle or muscles. The effects typically last for three to six months.
There are many different types of injections that can be used to treat spinal pain. The type of injection you receive will depend on your diagnosis and the severity of your pain.
Some of the most common types of injections we offer include:
- Epidural steroid injections: These are injected into the epidural (outer) space around the spinal cord. They’re often used to treat pain associated with inflammation, such as radiculopathy or disc herniation (slipped disc).
- Facet joint injections: These are injected into the small joints in the back of the spine. A cervical spondylosis doctor would use them to treat pain that originates from the facet joints (the joints that connect the vertebrae), such as facet arthritis or spondylosis.
- Intradiscal injections: These are injected into the nucleus pulposus (inner core) of the intervertebral disc. They’re used to treat pain associated with degenerative disc disease.
- Sacroiliac joint injection: This is injected into the sacroiliac joint, which is located at the base of the spine where the pelvis meets the spine. It’s used to treat pain associated with sacroiliitis or sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
- Hardware injection: This is a type of intradiscal injection that uses a small metal device to deliver the medication. It’s used to treat pain associated with degenerative disc disease.
- Interspinous ligament injection: This is injected into the space between the spinous processes (bony projections on the back of the spine). It’s used to treat pain associated with spinal stenosis.
- Trigger point injections: These are injected into muscle knots that can cause pain in other parts of the body. They’re often used to treat myofascial pain syndrome (chronic pain in the muscles and connective tissues).
- Medial Branch Nerve Blocks: These are injected into the medial branch nerves, which are the nerves that innervate (supply sensation to) the facet joints. They’re used to diagnose and treat pain originating from the facet joints.
Multifidus stimulation is a type of electrical stimulation that is used to treat back pain. It works by stimulating the multifidus muscle, which is a deep muscle in the spine.
Multifidus stimulation has been shown to be effective for treating chronic low back pain. It’s a safe and non-invasive treatment option with minimal side effects.
Radiofrequency ablation is a treatment that targets nerves and inhibits their pain signals. Also called rhizotomy or radiofrequency neurotomy, the procedure uses heat from radio waves to burn specific nerves at the source of your pain.
During the radiofrequency ablation procedure at Southern Pain and Spine, the team inserts a needle through your skin near the source of your pain. They use imaging scans during the treatment to precisely guide the needle into place and target the correct nerve.
After they position the needle, the team sends radiofrequency energy through it and to the targeted nerve tissue. After a brief observation period, you can go home the same day.
Regenerative medicine is a new area of medicine that is used to treat injuries and degenerative conditions without the need for surgery. It works by using the body’s own cells to accelerate your natural recovery process.
There are many different types of regenerative medicine treatments, but some of the most common ones we offer for back pain include:
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy: This involves taking a sample of your blood and centrifuging it to concentrate the platelets. The platelets are then injected into the injured area to stimulate recovery.
- Bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) therapy: This involves taking a small sample of bone marrow from your hip. The bone marrow is then injected into the injured area to stimulate recovery.
- Prolotherapy: This involves injecting a solution into the injured area to stimulate an accelerated recovery process. The solution typically contains a mix of saline, lidocaine, and an irritant (such as dextrose).
The Vertiflex procedure is a minimally invasive treatment for lumbar spinal stenosis. It is known as an interspinous process decompression (IPD) procedure. Spinous processes are bony, thin projections on the back portion of the spine.
The Vertiflex procedure works by implanting a device called the Superion® between the spinous processes. This device is made of titanium alloy, and once it’s in position it serves to create additional space in your spinal column, which in turn reduces pressure on the nerves in that area of your spine.
Studies show that the Vertiflex procedure is an effective way to relieve symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis. Many people who previously relied on opioid medications to manage their pain can get by with significantly less medication after completing the Vertiflex procedure.
SI Joint Stabilization and Fusion
The sacroiliac (SI) joint is the joint between the sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of the spine) and the iliac bones (the large bones in the pelvis). SI joint dysfunction is a common cause of low back pain.
SI joint stabilization is a surgical procedure that is used to stabilize the SI joint. It can be done with or without fusion (joining of the bones).
SI joint stabilization is a safe and effective treatment for SI joint dysfunction. It can provide long-term relief from pain and improve your quality of life.
The MILD procedure is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is used to treat low back pain. It’s an alternative to traditional open spine surgery. MILD is an acronym for “minimally invasive lumbar decompression”.
The MILD procedure involves making a small incision in the lower back and inserting a tube called a microendoscope. The microendoscope is used to visualize the spine and to remove the herniated disc material that is causing pain.
The MILD procedure is safe and effective. It has a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery time than traditional open spine surgery.
Cluneal Nerve Stimulation
The cluneal nerves are a pair of nerves that run from the lower back to the buttocks. Cluneal nerve stimulation involves placing a small electrode on the cluneal nerves. The electrode sends a small electrical current to the nerves, which relieves pain.
Cluneal nerve stimulation is minimally-invasive, safe, and effective. It has a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery time than traditional open spine surgery.
The Intracept procedure is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure that involves making a small incision in the lower back and inserting a needle into the annulus (outer layer) of the intervertebral disc. The needle is then used to heat the annulus, which destroys the pain-sensitive nerves.
If you're experiencing low back pain, contact Southern Pain & Spine to schedule a consultation. We specialize in Intracept and offer a variety of other effective treatment options.
Spinal Cord Stimulation
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure that is used to alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain. It involves placing a small device called a stimulator on the spinal cord. The stimulator sends electrical impulses to the spinal cord, which blocks pain signals from reaching the brain.
SCS is a safe and effective treatment for chronic pain. It can provide long-term relief from pain and improve your quality of life.
DRG stimulation is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure that is used to alleviate the symptoms of chronic pain. Like SCS, it involves placing a small device called a stimulator in the body. However, in DRG, the stimulator goes on the dorsal root ganglion (DRG). The DRG is a cluster of nerves that carries pain signals from the peripheral nervous system to the brain.
Once the stimulator is in place, it sends electrical impulses to the DRG, which blocks pain signals from reaching the brain. DRG stimulation is a safe and effective treatment for chronic lumbar pain. It can provide long-term relief from pain and improve your quality of life.
VIA Disc NP
The VIA Disc NP procedure is a minimally invasive, outpatient procedure intended for degenerated lumbar intervertebral discs. Your intervertebral discs cushion the spine and provide flexibility to support your body’s ability to bend, twist, and rotate. Over time, your intervertebral discs can degenerate and dehydrate, resulting in discogenic low back pain.
The VIA Disc NP procedure works by delivering nucleus pulposus tissue allograft to your degenerated lumbar disc(s) through a spinal needle under fluoroscopy guidance.
The procedure is safe and provides a minimally invasive option for intervertebral disc degeneration.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some common causes of back and spine pain?
The most common cause of back and spine pain is a herniated disc. A herniated disc occurs when the inner jelly-like material leaks out of the disc. This can happen due to a traumatic injury or from wear and tear over time. Other common causes of back and spine pain include (but definitely aren’t limited to):
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
How do I know if I need to see a doctor for my back pain?
Most back pain is acute, which means it will go away on its own within a few days or weeks. However, if you're experiencing chronic back pain (pain that lasts for more than 3 months), you should see a doctor.
Back and spine pain can vary in intensity from mild to severe. The pain may be constant or it may come and go. Other common symptoms include:
- Muscle spasms
- Numbness or tingling
- Difficulty walking or standing
If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, contact Southern Pain & Spine to schedule a consultation. We can develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your individual needs.
Does your back specialist near me accept insurance?
Yes! In order to make leading-edge rehabilitative care accessible to as many patients as possible, Southern Pain and Spine proudly accepts insurance from most major providers across the state of Georgia. View our list of accepted providers on our page, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly and knowledgeable staff.