Low Back

Dr. Mohajer Explains Causes and Treatment of Lower Back Pain

By Last updated on April 5th, 2020 Last updated on April 5th, 2020 No Comments

Lower back pain is extremely common. With most professionals living sedentary lives, it is important to understand where does this pain come from, how to prevent it, and what to do about it. Surgery, however, should be the last option to consider, as explained by Dr. Mojaver.

The lower back is the area in your back below your rib cage and just above your gluteal fold—a technical term for your buttocks area.

Lower back pain is extremely common. It is estimated that about 80% of the population will have at least a single instance of lower back pain in their lifetimes.

It’s particularly common among the age group of 30-65, and is the third most common reason for doctor visits in the United States, right after skin problems and joint pain.

Where does lower back pain come from?
Starting out with your skin and going all the way to your spine, there are a lot of structures that can cause low back pain.

Namely, lower back soft tissue, your muscles, your ligaments, your discs, your facet joints and your nerves are all subject to cause lower back pain.

How is lower back pain diagnosed?
There are several ways lower back pain can be diagnosed. One is the physical examination, which is basically the “pressing where it hurts” method. It involves actually putting a hand on your patient and figuring out where the pain is, what causes the pain and which motions are particularly painful.

A supplementary, yet no less important, measure is looking at your MRI and X-ray scans, sometimes done in a combination with an ultrasound scan.

Depending on availability, nerve conduction studies can be used to identify nerve damage and get a better understanding of what’s causing the pain.

How do we prevent and treat lower back pain?
Naturally, the ideal scenario is to avoid lower back pain in the first place. In this regard, weight loss, exercise and smoking cessation have been shown to be very helpful.

As far as treatment is concerned, there are several options to get rid of lower back pain. Physical therapy, medications (over-the-counter drugs as well as prescribed medications) and a long list of alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, inversion table, cognitive behavioral therapy, chiropractic, massage therapy and even medical cannabis can be helpful in reducing lower back pain.

Surgery, although not recommended, is always an option, too. However, Dr. Mojaver strongly suggests leaving surgical intervention as the last option. A plan B, should everything else fail.

No, it is the orthobiologic injection intervention that took the orthopaedics world by storm and became the buzzword of today.

“Here at CELLAXYS, we use Stem Cells for treatment of the low back pain. Stem Cells can be derived either from your own body, or from an umbilical cord. Most studies have been performed on bone marrow stem cells, and these have been shown to be quite helpful in several diseases of the low back pain. These include degenerative disk disease and […] bulging disc disease […],” Dr. Mojaver explains.

Regenerative medicine can be the solution for an array of problems
Most of these spinal conditions need to be diagnosed via something called a “diagnostic injection.” Dr. Mojaver explains in more detail:

“A diagnostic injection is an injection of a local anesthetic with a steroid into a specific area to see if there is pain even after the injection. If there is significant pain, […] then most likely a significant portion of the pain is coming from that area. And that would be a treatment sight for Stem Cell procedures.”

“In order for us to personalize your treatment plan, we need you to come in, to have a consultation. At that point, we’ll do a thorough physical examination and tailor a treatment plan for your specific needs,” he adds.

Does regenerative treatment… work?
Of course, the question you’re eager to ask is: how effective are stem cells? Dr. Mojaver answers:

“A lot of studies out there that used bone marrow aspirate have yielded promising results. There have been significant reductions in pain. In several studies, regeneration of the disc material occurred, which has been further evaluated with follow up MRI. In one study, a reduction of the size of the bulging disk was documented following an orthobiologic procedure.”

Why not just have surgery?
As we discussed earlier, there are a lot of structures that can cause low back pain. With surgical intervention, most likely that only one or two of these areas can be repaired or changed. Thus, surgery is not the best option for low back pain. “Personally, I would always wanna do everything in my power to avoid surgery,” Dr. Mojaver added.

Dr. Pouya Mohajer

Dr. Pouya Mohajer

Director of Spine & Interventional Medicine
Board certification in Anesthesiology and Interventional Pain Medicine
Fellowship-trained from Harvard University
UCLA Alumni