Neck & Back Pain

Mechanism of Neck & Back Pain


Posture, improper body mechanics and the physical stresses of work or recreational activities can wear on the body and contribute to neck and back pain. There are many different presentations and causes of neck and back pain, but most people will suffer from some form of back pain, either acute or chronic, over the course of their life.


Back pain can be present as dull and achy, or sharp and shooting pain that may radiate, or travel, to another location such as down the leg. The severity of the pain may vary from day to day and differ according to each patient’s experience and pain tolerance. Patients with back pain may also experience other symptoms such as numbness, tingling, stiffness, or weakness.


Neck and back pain can originate from a number of areas. The spine is composed of 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, 5 lumbar vertebrae, 5 sacral vertebrae fused into one body, and a coccyx bone. There are also a number of ligaments and muscles that keep the spine upright. It is important for these to be in correct alignment to allow for the proper anatomical curvature of the neck and spine.


There are several conditions causing abnormal spinal curvature that can lead to pain if severe, including scoliosis (lateral curvature) and kyphosis (excessive rounding of the thoracic spine).


Patients can suffer chronic back pain from degenerative disc disease of the spine, either due to injury or aging. Some patients many experience numbness and tingling or radiating pain as a result of radiculopathy of the cervical or lumbar regions of the spine. Acute injury from straining or lifting heavy objects can lead to sprains (ligaments) or strains (muscles) of the back, that if not allowed to properly heal can lead to chronic back pain as well.



Dr. Tabby’s Exam and Approach to Care


Dr. Tabby practices the “art of medicine,” building strong relationships with her patients founded on the basis of trust and mutual respect, and approaches medicine in a methodical way, with scientific and rigorous diagnostic work-ups. She will take a careful medical history and perform a thorough examination of the affected area as well as other areas of the body to look for signs of related stress and tension. This often delineates the origin of the pain and whether it is acute or chronic in nature. Further tests, such as X-ray, MRI, or EMG/NCV may be ordered, or the results from prior exams reviewed, to determine a diagnosis and develop the most appropriate treatment plan.


Physical medicine and rehabilitation specialists like Dr. Tabby help to maintain proper body mechanics and treat injuries, allowing patients to return to their daily functioning. The goal of treatment of back and neck pain from a physical medicine and rehabilitation perspective is to use physical and occupational therapeutic tailored exercises, topical medication and other modalities to reduce pain and improve function. She wants patients to feel comfortable leading active lives and hopes to provide them with the resources to reduce their pain and discomfort to get to that point.


Easy booking and appointment availability are benefits of working with Dr. Tabby. She encourages patients to visit her in the office, but for patients with extreme mobility limits, she makes home visits or virtual appointments through HealthTap. Feel free to inquire when speaking with the office staff about all of the available options.



Multidisciplinary Treatment Methods


Once a diagnosis is made, Dr. Tabby will provide a personalized treatment plan. Dr. Tabby is an advocate of vitamins, nutrition and exercise as part of a healthy self-care routine. Education and corrective measures may be implemented as part of the treatment plan to prevent future injury. Collaboration with other providers, such as orthopedists and physical and occupational therapists provide a well-rounded, versus just pharmacologic approach. Often specific exercises will be demonstrated and “prescribed” to aid in the healing process and reduction of pain and discomfort.


She employs a nonnarcotic treatment method rooted in the judicious use of medications, therefore treatments are more likely to center around “hands on” methods such as topical pain relief, trigger point injections, massage, heat or ice application and active participation of the patient to complete recommended therapeutic exercises. Bracing (orthotics) may be employed in combination with any of the above methods to allow for healing and support of the spine. Dr. Tabby coordinates a multidisciplinary team and engages patients in treatment modalities including tailored therapeutic exercises and topical medications to reduce neck and back pain and improve function.