About Back Pain

What is it and what are your treatment options?
Anchorage: (907)562-2277
Wasilla: (907) 357-2267
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What is Back Pain?

One of the most common concerns for adults is lower back pain. Nearly everyone will experience lower back problems at some point in his or her lifetime, and the causes and symptoms can vary widely. In addition to discomfort, lower back pain often results in lost productivity. The lower, or lumbar, spine helps to support your whole body, connecting the upper portion to the lower portion and holding it upright. Additionally, the lumbar spine allows you to bend, turn, and twist as needed. This complex structure also makes it possible to stand, walk, and lift. The lower spine is essential for so many basic and advanced movements that it’s easy to forget about when it is functioning properly. When injured, however, your ability to work, play, or complete everyday tasks can become severely limited. As a result, your quality of life suffers. Our Board Certified and Fellowship Trained Spine Specialists understand how debilitating back pain can be, and they offer a comprehensive selection of leading minimally invasive spinal treatments that can help provide relief.

Common Causes:

  • Aging
  • Wear and tear from recreational activities
  • Injuries
  • Osteoporosis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Improper lifting

In most severe cases:

  • Fractures
  • Herniated disc
  • Infection

Symptoms you should look for:

  • Tingling and numbness in the legs
  • Inability to stand up straight without pain
  • Stabbing and shooting pain that radiates to foot
  • Chronic dull pain in the lower back

If you are experiencing these symptoms, seek medical treatment immediately:

  • Incontinence
  • Loss of function in lower extremities
  • Weakness
  • Unexplained weight loss

When you arrive for your initial consultation, one of our experienced Spine Specialists will evaluate your areas of concern, discuss your symptoms, and develop a customized and comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your unique needs. This evaluation is a necessary part of diagnosing your condition and providing the best possible care.

When diagnosing back pain, The OPA Spine Team:

  • Obtain a complete medical history
  • Perform a physical examination
  • Order and analyze X-ray, MRI, CT Scan, Myelogram

Common Treatments:

At Orthopedic Physicians Alaska (OPA), our Board Certified Spine Specialists receive extensive training specifically in the musculoskeletal system, including the bones and soft tissues of the spine. Our skilled specialists can diagnose, treat, and help prevent common and complex concerns of the entire spine. OPA’s Spine Team can address your condition with our selection of physicians who focus on issues concerning spine and pain management.

Most incidences of back pain can be successfully treated with one or more non-surgical techniques:

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs)

Decrease inflammation and pain.

Physical Therapy

One of OPA’s onsite physical therapist prescribes and monitors strengthening and stretching exercises.


An injection of steroid and anesthetic medications.

Surgical intervention is necessary for back pain only when other treatments have not provided adequate pain relief or if the condition is severe enough to warrant an operation.

Some instances where this may occur include: when a herniated disc pinches a nerve or the spinal cord; if a bony abnormality narrows the spinal canal opening; or if you suffered a serious injury that could cause lead to partial paralysis. In cases of trauma, surgery can help to stabilize the neck to prevent additional damage.

At OPA, our Board-Certified and Fellowship-Trained Spine Specialists, Dr. Mark Flanum, Dr. James Eule, and Dr. Curtis Mina are experts in treating back pain.

To receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan, please make an appointment to see one of our Spine Team Specialists at our offices conveniently located in Anchorage and Wasilla.

Schedule An Appointment

To receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan, please make an appointment with one of our Orthopedic Team Specialists at our offices conveniently located in Anchorage and Wasilla, AK.

Anchorage: (907)562-2277
Wasilla: (907) 357-2267

OPA Spine Team

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Dr. James Eule

Orthopedic Spine Specialist

Dr. Mark Flanum

Orthopedic Spine Specialist

Dr. Curtis Mina

Orthopedic Spine Specialist

Sean Taylor, MD

Pain Management

Our Mission

To provide the finest orthopedic surgery and musculoskeletal care in North America, offering general and specialized adult care to all Alaskans and visitors.

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Barbara Chambers


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