Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain

Low Back Pain services offered in Seattle, WA

You may think of low back pain as a problem to worry about when you get older, but more than 40% of all cases are diagnosed in people aged 18-44 years. If you have low back pain, Paul E. Schwaegler, MD, and Jeff Fernandez, PA, at Seattle Spine Institute, offer comprehensive care, beginning with conservative treatments and recommending minimally invasive surgery only if your pain doesn’t improve. Don’t wait to get relief from low back pain. Call the office in Seattle, Washington, or use the online booking feature today.

Low Back Pain Q & A

What causes low back pain?

A sudden accident during sports activities, overuse injuries, and daily activities that pull your back muscles can all lead to low back pain.

Degenerative changes naturally occur in the spine as you get older. These changes cause painful conditions, such as:

  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal osteoarthritis
  • Slipped vertebrae
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)

Any type of injury or spine condition can pinch the spinal nerves, which may cause low back pain associated with sciatica.

What symptoms accompany low back pain?

If you have back pain, chances are you also have a hard time bending, twisting, and, generally, moving. As you try to take pressure off the painful area, you put extra stress on the surrounding structures, leading to muscle spasms and knots (trigger points).

With a pinched nerve, you can feel pain and tingling along the length of the nerve. A compressed nerve in your lumbar spine (lower back) causes sciatic nerve pain or sciatica. Then you may have extreme pain suddenly shooting down one leg. Severely damaged or inflamed nerves may result in leg numbness and weakness.

How is low back pain treated?

Your Seattle Spine Institute provider examines your back and identifies the cause of your pain before creating a customized treatment plan.

Your plan may include pain-relieving medications (over-the-counter or prescription), topical ointments or patches, steroid injections, or physical therapy (or a structured exercise program).

At least 20% of people won’t feel better after conservative treatments. If your pain persists, Seattle Spine Institute may recommend surgery.

What type of surgery treats low back pain?

Dr. Schwaegler has extensive experience performing minimally invasive surgeries to repair the underlying problem. You may need:


To treat a herniated or degenerative disc, Dr. Schwaegler may remove the entire disc.


This is similar to a discectomy, except Dr. Schwaegler only removes the damaged part of a herniated disc.

Decompression procedures

Dr. Schwaegler performs several decompression procedures, relieving the symptoms of a pinched nerve by creating more space around the nerve.

Spinal fusion

After removing a disc or a significant piece of a vertebra, Dr. Schwaegler may fuse two vertebrae to restore spinal strength and stability.

Artificial disc replacement

As an alternative to fusion, Dr. Schwaegler may implant an artificial disc. The disc replacement preserves normal spine movement.

You can get relief from low back pain at Seattle Spine Institute. Request an appointment online or call the office today.

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