Published: Oct. 27, 2008
Updated: Mar. 21, 2011
Duke nonoperative back and spine specialist Karyn Rahn, MD, is your first line of defense against back pain.
There is a whole range of treatments from physical therapy to medication to spinal injections to surgery. We focus on relieving the pain so patients can keep working and exercising, which aids in their healing. I’m very into mobility.
One of my recent patients, who is 78, got significant relief and greatly increased mobility from a combination of injections and water therapy. He came in and did a jig. I think he comes in now just to show off.
Back pain can be caused by a variety of things including muscle strains or spasms, disc herniation, and arthritis, among many other things.
A lot of our patients, especially those with complicated cases, are referred by other doctors. I’m usually the first to see new patients, and sort out those who may need surgery from those who could benefit from other treatments. When patients first come in, a lot of them can be pretty scared.
There’s a lot of mystery and misconception about back problems. Part of my job is to demystify the spine for my patients -- to educate and reassure them. I also keep an open mind and listen to them.
Duke offers advanced pain therapies that are not available everywhere. And for the conditions that require surgery, Duke offers traditional procedures as well as minimally invasive ones that can get patients out of the hospital in just a few days.
Plus, Duke orthopaedic surgeons have developed new motion-sparing techniques to help patients keep as much flexibility as possible, as well as enhanced-performance fusion technology that helps patients -- especially younger ones -- get back to athletic activities.
Prevention is always the best medicine. To keep your back pain-free stay reasonably fit, manage your weight, get enough calcium and vitamin D, be aware of ergonomics, and learn how to properly lift and carry heavy objects. And by age 50, everyone should have a bone density test.
At Duke, orthopaedic patients have access to the most advanced surgical and medical techniques and equipment.
Call 888-ASK-DUKE (888-275-3853) for an appointment.