Published: Aug. 26, 2010
Updated: Aug. 26, 2010
Duke Medical Minutes are produced by local sports radio affiliates and allow Duke specialists to give a brief snapshot into health offerings at Duke.
In this episode, Chris Brown, MD, discusses back pain and back surgery.
Announcer: We’re talking with Dr. Chris Brown, assistant professor at Duke Orthopaedic Spine Center, about back pain. You’ve got your guys out there listening. They’re playing sports, maybe they just moved over the weekend and they moved a bunch of boxes. Typical back pain? Is this nothing to get too worried about?
Brown: It’s generally nothing to get too worried about. Most of those patients don’t see spine surgeons. They see their primary care doctors, and really all they need is an exercise program where they can work with the trainer to learn some exercises to strengthen the back and stomach muscles to prevent it from happening again.
Announcer: At what point should somebody be concerned about the pain? Maybe the pain hasn’t gone away after a couple days and what do we have to be worried about?
Brown: I think the few things you need to be worried about is if the pain doesn’t go away after about four to six weeks -- if it gets worse -- if it starts developing leg pain, leg numbness, weakness in the legs -- those are the things to start getting concerned about.
Announcer: So, we’re talking pinched nerves, which would -- I guess -- lead to surgery in the future. Now, when I hear spine or back surgery, most people will go, “Oh, that’s kind of a scary thought,” but that’s really not the case today.
Brown: No, it’s not. With our newer technologies -- this day and age -- we have ways of doing things much more minimally invasive, which causes less problems for the patient. It’s generally outpatient surgery, where they go home the same day. By seven to 10 days they’re usually back under unrestricted activity.