Press-Republican

Tuesday

December 18, 2012

Back pain takes toll on daily life

PLATTSBURGH — Back pain can be a nuisance, or it can be a debilitating condition that impacts a person’s quality of life and ability to perform daily activities.

Dr. Joseph Arguelles, a neurosurgeon on the staff of CVPH Medical Center, recently gave a presentation titled “A Community Neurosurgeon’s Perspective to Back Pain,” as part of the CVPH Lecture Series at West Side Ballroom in Plattsburgh. 

A packed audience of more than 100 interested residents attended.

“Back pain is the most common cause of job-related disabilities,” said Arguelles, who has been practicing medicine in the North Country since 2006.

“It’s the most common reason people lose days at work, and it’s the second most common complaint in the neurosurgeon’s office, next to headaches.”

The neurosurgeon looks at such issues as back pain from a perspective much different than that of the physical therapist or orthopedic surgeon, Arguelles said.

“There are two different kinds of back pain: acute back pain that is of short duration and chronic back pain that lasts more than three months,” he said.

Acute back pain will most often come on suddenly and is typically caused by some kind of mechanical problem, Arguelles noted. Trying to lift items that are too heavy or trying to do too much over a short period of time are common causes, he said.

“People with a passion for sports who exercise vigorously are often victims of this type of pain. Trying to get in the firewood before the storm hits or trying to lift that one last heavy box while cleaning the garage can bring on pain.”

A new problem neurosurgeons are now seeing is from school-aged kids who are carrying heavy backpacks throughout the day, he added.

Although this type of back pain may be a symptom of more problematic issues, neurosurgeons often prescribe the most basic measures to improve the condition:

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