Back Pain and Neck Pain

Millions of Americans suffer from pain somewhere in their spine — from lower back pain to neck pain. Around the world, in fact, lower back pain alone causes more disabilities than any other health condition. Nearly all back pain is caused by conditions that can be improved through a program of proper treatment. Some “red flags,” however, require immediate attention.

These red flags include:

  • Sudden changes in bowel or bladder control, or numbness in the groin or rectal area
  • Signs of infection, such as a sustained fever
  • Pain that lasts more than 6 weeks
  • Risk for fracture in the back — a fall, car accident or brittle bones from osteoporosis
  • History of cancer — especially in prostate, breast and lung; back pain is constant, lasting weeks

Conditions that can cause back and neck pain include:

At Virginia Mason, the goal of our multi-disciplinary care team is to help you attain your highest level of function so you can live your best possible life. To help you do this, we make sure you are getting the right treatment at the right time. 

For most people, a conservative approach is best, including a combination of stretching exercises, physical therapy, injections and medications. Some will need surgical treatment for back or neck pain. A few who have deformed spines will benefit from complex spinal surgery to rebuild their backs. 

If you have acute back pain, you can contact the Spine Center at Virginia Mason for help by calling (206) 417-7463. 

This video by Dr. Mike Evans of St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto
gives a simple and visual overview of chronic back pain, some of
the things that cause it and what might help ease your pain.