Living free from back pain

Finding relief through non-surgical and surgical procedures

Author: Liz Kovac

Back pain can be as frustrating as it can be limiting. If ignored, it can create a vicious cycle of depression and inactivity. “If you experience frequent or severe back pain, talk with your doctor about steps you can take to find relief,” said Dr. Ryan Barrett, Neurosurgeon at McLaren Lapeer Region.


There a several non-surgical pain treatments offered through the Pain Management Center at McLaren Lapeer Region. “It is important for those who suffer from back pain to know that there are outpatient treatments available that can bring you relief,” said Dr. Ihsan Asbahi, pain management physician at McLaren Lapeer Region.

Some of these treatments include:

Bi-Lateral Sacroiliac Injections

“When pain occurs in one or both sides of the lower back it is often caused by the sacroiliac joint that connects the spine to the pelvis,” said Dr. Asbahi.

One treatment approach is a sacroiliac joint block. The physician uses a fluoroscope to guide and insert the medication by needle directly into the joint. This treatment can be repeated up to three times in one year and is usually coupled with physical therapy for mobility and maximum range-of-motion.

Facet Joint Injections

Each vertebra in your spine has flat surfaces that touch where the vertebrae fit together. These form a "facet joint" on each side of the vertebrae. Pain occurs when facet joints in your back or neck become inflamed. A facet joint injection into the inflamed joints can relieve pain and reduce inflammation.

Cortisone Injections

Injectable cortisone is a type of steroid designed for pain relief. A cortisone injection can relieve pain of inflammation or sprains by directly targeting the inflamed area. Often, one or more injections can bring lasting relief, and prevent surgery.


When your pain requires more than management, McLaren Lapeer Region can help give you your life back. “If your pain persists even with non-surgical treatments, your doctor may suggest surgery,” said Dr. Barrett. The three most common back surgeries include:

Spinal Fusion

During a spinal fusion procedure, the surgeon will fuse vertebrae together to inhibit joint movement, alleviating pain. “This procedure can often be performed in a minimally invasive fashion,” said Dr. Barrett.


During a laminectomy, the surgeon will remove part of the bone that makes up vertebrae (lamina) and sometimes bone spurs to create extra room in the spinal column which eliminates the pressure that was affecting the spinal nerve.

In some cases, a large portion of bone must be removed which can cause instability of the spine. This may create a need for a spinal fusion.

This surgery is ideal for patients who are dealing with severe, chronic pain or loss of function due to bone spurs.


“Discs in the spine act as shock absorbers and provide cushioning in between the vertebrae. When one of these discs slips or becomes herniated, it can put intense pressure on the spinal nerve and cause back pain,” said Dr. Barrett. During a discectomy, a surgeon will remove all or part of the disc.

To find a physician that is right for you call (810) 667-5714.