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The Non Surgical Treatment of Spine Pain. Overview Important statistics History and Physical back pain patient Red Flags for further work-up and imaging.

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Presentation on theme: "The Non Surgical Treatment of Spine Pain. Overview Important statistics History and Physical back pain patient Red Flags for further work-up and imaging."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Non Surgical Treatment of Spine Pain

2 Overview Important statistics History and Physical back pain patient Red Flags for further work-up and imaging

3 Overview Diagnostic workup- Electromyography and nerve conduction velocity studies(EMG/NCV) When to order what?

4 Overview Treatment recommendations Physical therapy When to Order Injections Putting It Together For the Patient

5 Why do we care? Back pain accounts for 2-3% of all physician visits in the United States (Cielo, 1994) Two National Surveys- 26.4% reported an entire day of low back pain in the last 3 months 13.8 of the 26.4% also had and entire day of neck pain in the last 3 months (Cielo, 1994)

6 The History ITS AS EASY AS THE ABCs

7 The History Start With The Basics Its as easy as ABC Or Rather P-Q-R-S-T

8 Dont Ask Dont Tell Yes, it has been overturned ! This was about Low Back Pain. Right? Do Ask the right questions and they will Tell you the Answer Now Back to our alphabet P-Q-R-S-T Also- Hint- I Spy A Red Flag- look for these throughout the History, PMHX, ROS, and PE

9 Do Ask the right questions and they will Tell you the Answer Now Back to our alphabet P-Q-R-S-T Also- Hint- I Spy A Red Flag- look for these throughout the History, PMHX, ROS, and PE

10 The History P- Pain Q-Quality R-Radiation S-Severity or Situation T-Timing

11 History- Pain- Where is the pain? How did the pain occur? Insidiously, *injury, acutely -did it start like a thunderbolt- Point with one finger Significant trauma-red flag What makes it better? What makes it worse? What would you rather do for 15 min? Sit, stand in place, lie down, walk Soft Rule- sitting makes disc pain worse

12 A Good History

13 Soft Rules From the Quality History Sitting is worse bending is worse, driving, shaving brushing my teeth, first thing in the morning-think disc Standing in one place, getting in and out of the car, lying down, rolling over in bed, twisting- think facet Neurogenic vs. Vascular Claudication

14 Quality Quality- Description words- throbbing, sharp, burning,constant, intermittent, pins and needles, It moves around or changes You are going to think I am crazy It is usually nerve!

15 History-Q for Quality Throbbing- often a word to describe swelling, Burning, pins and needles, or it is difficult to pin point or explain,or it changes with the situation, like a toothache – nerve pain When the patient says –you are going to think I am crazy my experience- it is nerve pain until proven otherwise Associated weakness *progressive (red flag)

16 From Here to Eternity? R adiation-does the pain travel, From Where to Where? Cervical travels to the neck, arms, chest, upper back –scapulae-think C6 Thoracic around the chest and flank Lumbar to the back, buttocks, legs The cervical can cause leg weakness but not the other way around

17 How Bad Is It Really? Severity- very few things bring patients to their knees like nerve pain Positive Valsalva? Is it worse with bearing down to have a bowel movement or cough? Yes- think disc herniation

18 Review of Systems reveals Red Flags Constitutional- *Fever and Chills, Unexplained weight loss think contrast MRI, GI-*fecal incontinence GU- *urinary retention, overflow incontinence, saddle anesthesia

19 Use the scale 0 to 10, 0 is no pain and 10 is worst pain of your life It helps let you know if you are getting anywhere later in your treatment Are they happy as a clam sitting there but reporting a 10. Clarify before assuming

20 Severity Use the scale 0 to 10, 0 is no pain and 10 is worst pain of your life It helps let you know if you are getting anywhere later in your treatment Are they happy as a clam sitting there but reporting a 10. Clarify before assuming

21 Timing If the person is describing right sided neck pain that last only 20 to 30 minutes and only with activity-that is not neck pain When does the pain occur- on first awakening as the day progresses, intermittent, constant

22 When do we worry? When something becomes so common, and frankly not so fun, for doctor or patient- We can become complacent We can order too many tests, the wrong tests Write too many prescriptions Fail to follow up Fail to think it is something to worry about Pain- Where is the pain? How did the pain occur? Insidiously, *injury, acutely -did it start like a thunderbolt- Point with one finger Significant trauma-red flag- imaging work-up What makes it better? What makes it worse? What would you rather do for 15 min? Sit, stand in place, lie down, walk Soft Rule- sitting makes disc pain worse

23 Review -Red Flag for Work-UP and Imaging AGE- under 20 or over 50 Less common in under age 20 More common in over age 50 but so is malignancy ( timing hx-night pain) Unexplained Weight Loss- people will say they have had pain and didnt feel like eating Weight loss is always a Worry

24 Red Flags for Further Work Up The Obvious is Always Obvious Information isnt always offered Remote history of cancer- Common metastatic disease to the spine includes- Lymphoma, Lung, Breast, and Prostate ( my personal one- smokers with poor medical follow up)

25 More Things to Work Up Progressive Weakness of the lower extremities History of significant Trauma CT – (think bones) for fractures MRI – (think soft tissue) with contrast when thinking infection or metastatic disease, herniation When do we think vascular workup? Go back to your history- what relieves the pain

26 Fun Physical General- are they sitting, standing, pacing Posture- Do they have a shift, flattened lordosis, cervical-head tilt and rotation Measure from tragus of the ear to anterior border of upper trap Iliac crests – is a knee bent- may need to measure leg lengths Scapulae high or low- kyphosis, scoliosis-true?

27 Musculoskeletal- palpation Palpation- where does it hurt to press Upper trapezius, levator scapulae, rhomboids Spinous processes, facets, quadratus, SI, sacrum, gluteus medius, greater trochanter, Sacrotuberous ligamnets, ischial bursae Coccyx Sternum, tibia- pain (think vitamin D deficiency)

28 Physical-Musculoskeletal Cervical and Lumbar Range of Motion Flexion-hurts with herniated discs Extention with rotation hurts the opposite lumbar facets, cervical tilt hurts the same side Atrophy of muscles notes-look at the EDB, First DI of the hand, Abductor and Opponins

29 Neurologic Exam Alert and Oriented Cranial Nerves Remember CN XII- Trapezius Straight Leg Raise vs Tight Hamstrings Muscle Stretch Reflexes- upper and lower Spurlings for Cervical Sensation- remember the DRG is distal to the nerve root– back problems do not give you neuropathy-intact with nerve root lesion

30 More Work Up Options- Dont forget Your EMG/NCV Electromyography and Nerve Conduction Velocity Studies Provides information on the function of the anatomy at the level of the nerve and motor unit MRIs and CTs give you information on anatomy only

31 When to do The EMG/NCV Sometimes the body doesnt read the book MRI shows a right HNP and the left is symptomatic, Normal radiographs, or level not consistent with exam normal Sensory findings pinpoint acuity, location,i.e.multilievel disease, severity Sometimes the body doesnt read the book Rule out Double Crush -

32 Nerves Conduction Velocity NCV- this gives you information on all nerves those that may be affected by the pathology and those that shouldnt be affected by that pathology Eg. Peripheral Neuropathy-only way to diagnose other than biopsy of the nerve Radiculopathy- shows up as drop in amplitude but must be followed up by a complete EMG

33 NCV Sensory involvement is not consistent with spinal stenosis or radiculopathy Peripheral neuropathy is not caused by stenosis Sensory finding are reflect problems distal to the dorsal root ganglion Beware of the double crush injury

34 Electromyography Tells the story of the nerve root Tells the severity of nerve pathology noted on nerve conduction study Cannot assess severity without an EMG Radiculopathy or radiculitis can only be assessed by EMG- also can assess timing Acute vs. subacute vs, chronic EMG- looks easy to do but hard to interpret

35 Musculoskeletal -Strength Atrophy of muscles notes-look at the EDB, First DI of the hand, Abductor and Opponens Do They Make The Grade? Things that make you go Hmm 2/5-fullROM without gravity 3/5 full ROM against gravity Toe walk and heel walk the best way to test L5 and S1 muscles

36 Red Flag Review Prolonged Steroid Use Immunosuppressed patients or those with known infection IV Drug Abuse Back Pain not improved with rest- I think this one is vague Acute urinary symptoms and/or fecal incontinence, Saddle anesthesia

37 Treatment Aside from the red flags- lots of studies In the first four weeks – conservative tx. Stay active Some evidence for spinal manipulation in the first four weeks ( Chou 2007) Belief that 80-90% will get better regardless of the treatment

38 Protocols of treatment This can get very detailed and the majority is for pain that is not intractable and for pain lasting for greater than four weeks Multimodal approach Physical therapy is a key factor Antiinflammatories Changing the simple things- workplace

39 Physical Therapy Is Your Prescription Evaluate and Treat? Always give some parameters Dont order Williams Flexion Exercises for disc problem- think MCKenzie Qualifications of the therapist Day one –are they being put on a treadmill for 45 minutes?

40 Physical Therapy Beware of Modalities USG is contraindicated in an acute disc herniation Know your therapist Are they placing the patient in traction and walking away? Traction is to reduce a disc but it can also cause a herniation, very scary without experience

41 Physical Therapy Are they getting heat and ice for 60 minutes and nothing else? Do they know what to do at home? This should be discussed from day one. Exercises- however simple should be given on day one The patient should have a complete program to do at home by completion

42 Goals The Doctor and Therapist and patient need to have a plan and this plan needs to be understood by the patient Therapy doesnt end when the insurance runs out. It ends when goals are met. Therapist should give recommendations and so should the doctor after follow-up.

43 Treatment When to do injections? Sometimes although rarely –the injection is the entire answer. When the patient is seen, a plan is mapped out and injections can be part of the plan? Let us look at an example to clarify.

44 Sample Case 34 yo female has new onset LBP that began insidiously and has been getting progressively worse over the past two months. She was taking OTC motrin and aleve which helped but did not resolve the pain. Without the medication the pain would be 6/10. No weakness, no valsalva Worse with sitting and lifting her child

45 Plan Physical therapy – was then prescribed and a once a day NSAID After 3 weeks in PT she calls office and says she cannot continue to deal with this pain. PT helps for that day but doesnt last She went to her chiropracter as well as after a daily manipulation she is still not better

46 What do you do? A. Tell the nurse to tell the patient you are on a cruise and not reachable by cell. B. Make your Partner call the patient C. Quickly realize you do not have a partner and therefore cannot do B. D. Hide under your desk and turn out the light hoping your staff thinks you have left for the day even though they are standing in front of you. E. See the patient and then order a Lumbar MRI

47 The plan Lumbar MRI is ordered and shows disc protrusion at L4-5 and degenerative disc disease at L5-S1. Now what? Because you and your patient discussed Your plan at the time she was evaluated You know that you will refer the patient for A multipmodal approach

48 Injections This is a talk for another. There are more than just epidurals and The story doesnt end because the patient failed the epidurals

49 To Review The treatment Plan You tell the patient. Sally you have been having pain for two months and it isnt getting better. We have a couple of options. If you are able to care for your child and work, we can try:

50 More on Sally Our other option is to refer you to a physician who works more closely with low back pain patients. This doctor may offer you injections to treat your pain, as part of her treatment plan. Sally responds that she will try PT and the NSAID and the rest is history. She is ready and expecting the referral when she does not get better.

51 More on Sally Directed physical therapy for four weeks. If you begin to plateau in four weeks, let me know and we can go forward with a Lumbar MRI. ( explanation of MRI given) We can also add some moderate pain med like tramadol or use a stronger longer lasting antiinflammatory like meloxicam.

52 Treatment This 90 % theory is being questioned because most patients will go on to experience multiple episodes of back – Stanton most conservative study –found reoccurrence of ranging 24-33% ( still higher than 10%) Multimodal approach is Recommended Combination of medication, physical therapy when necessary spinal injections

53 summary Important statistics History and Physical back pain patient Red Flags Diagnostic workup-When to order what? Electromyography

54 Summary Treatment recommendations Physical therapy When to Order Injections Putting It All Together

55 Thank you!


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