Causes of Sudden Back Pain

This is a transcript of a Dr. Jay Show broadcast on 1560TheGame in Houston, TX. Dr. J. Michael Bennett is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and a Fellowship Trained Sports Medicine Physician serving patients from Katy, Fort Bend County, Metro Houston and Southeast Texas from offices in Richmond and Sugar Land, TX. Dr Bennett is will begin to see patients at a new office in Houston on May 3, 2012. Call 281-633-8600 for an appointment.

Our special guest for the show was Dr. Benoy Benny. He is a physical medicine rehabilitation physician, and he is board certified for pain and spine as well as for minimally invasive procedures in spine. He’s also a professor at Baylor College of Medicine.  Bob Lewis of 1560TheGame is also a guest on the show.

Here’s the transcript of the fifth section of the Show:

BENNETT:  Yes it’s a pretty easy area for the most part to get into.  We’re going to our next caller here, this is Kathy.  She has a question about back pain.  What can we do for you today, Kathy?

CALLER:  Good morning.  I’m calling because I’m in pretty good physical condition, I go to the gym and I do Pilates and all sorts of things, and I woke up a few days ago and my lower back was just completely out.  It’s never happened before.  I’ve had a deep-tissue massage and it helped a little bit, but still, I can hardly move.  Driving in my car especially is painful.

BENNETT:  Well that’s actually a very common, common thing.  I see a lot of that in my clinic.  

LEWIS:  My wife throws her back out all time; what exactly is she throwing out?

BENNY:   We talked earlier about when a person should go and see a physician and when a person should not.  And in general, that’s true; if you have it for a day or two that’s common.  But the key is, is this something that keeps on happening?  Is this something that keeps repeating?  Usually when that’s the case there is something underlying that’s going on.  One of the things that you mentioned is that you’re very active, you do Pilates, you go to the gym – and that’s great as it helps to develop your core muscles and helps stabilize the muscles around your spine. But if you have an underlying cause, such as pain coming from the disc, or pain coming from the facet joints – and these are joints in the disc tissue of the spine itself – half the people I see will say they went to the gym, worked out, were doing something like squats and then they had excruciating pain.  The other half of the people, guess what?  They say they wake up in the morning, they did absolutely nothing, and they had excruciating pain that’s usually worse when they’re sitting and they just can’t get in a comfortable position.  In my mind, I start wondering if those patients may have a disc problem.  If you’ve had this repeatedly, it’s probably time to get an MRI to take a look at those discs and see what’s going on.  You might just have some arthritis in the disc and we call it disc degeneration or disc dessication.  You might also have a disc herniation that’s causing it.  You might have some inflammation in the facet joints.  It sounds like you’re pretty uncomfortable right now, so I’d say that this is a time when you need to call your physician, or feel free to call me – my website is – and the way that I approach it is I was trained initially as a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist who specializes in increasing people’s function, and then I did an interventional spine and sports fellowship, so I focus it all the way from conservative treatment – which might just involve anti-inflammatories and physical therapy – to minimally invasive procedures to get you back on your feet as fast as possible.  I think for you personally, this is a time when you probably need to make a phone call and come in and see us. 

BENNETT:  That’s a great question, Kathy, and I agree 100 percent.  It sounds like you are doing everything you can possibly do.  The big thing with back pain in what I’ve seen in my clinic is really a lot of muscular imbalance in regards to core strengthening and back strengthening and stretching, and Pilates is an excellent way to build your core and the surrounding muscles so it sounds like you are doing everything you need to be doing.  So if you’re still having pain I suggest you follow up with your physician or someone like Dr. Bennie. 

I want to once again reiterate the importance of physical therapy and rehabilitation in regards to strengthening, and Pilates is an excellent way to do that.  This is Saturdays with Dr. Jay and we appreciate you tuning in.  We’ll be back after the break.

If you’re having an orthopedic or sports medicine issue, please call our office at 281-633-8600.

Dr. J. Michael Bennett

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