Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

Back Pain Specialist

Ratnayake Pain Management

Dilangani Ratnayake, MD

Pain Medicine Physician & Anesthesiologist located in Palm Desert, CA

Everyone gets a sore back now and again, but when you live with chronic back pain, it can affect every part of your life. If you have back pain that's making life a misery, interventional pain specialist Dilangani Ratnayake, MD, of Ratnayake Pain Management in Palm Desert, California, can help. Dr. Ratnayake provides the most effective, advanced treatments for chronic back pain, including ultrasound- and fluoroscopy-guided spinal injections, radiofrequency ablation, and spinal cord stimulation. Call Ratnayake Pain Management today to schedule a consultation or book your appointment using the online form.

Back Pain Q&A

What causes back pain?

Back pain can be a symptom of internal problems like kidney infections, but most back pain is due to musculoskeletal damage or deterioration.

The most common causes of back pain include:

  • Pulled muscles
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine)
  • Osteophytes (bone spurs)
  • Spinal facet joint arthritis
  • Sciatica

Acute back pain is likely to be from an injury to one of the structures in your spine or the surrounding muscles. Chronic back pain is often a result of the aging process.

Chronic back problems can result in acute pain; for example, if you have degenerative disc disease, you're more likely to suffer a herniated disc. Acute back problems could, in turn, develop into chronic pain conditions, typically where the original injury doesn't heal properly.

How is back pain diagnosed?

Dr. Ratnayake conducts a thorough physical exam to see how well you move and where the pain is coming from. She also goes over your medical history and discusses your symptoms and current health with you.

These initial investigations often give Dr. Ratnayake a good idea of what's wrong. To confirm the diagnosis, rule out alternative causes, and assess the degree of damage to your back, you need further tests.

X-rays, CT scans, and MRI scans are the diagnostic imaging tests most often used to diagnose back pain. Diagnosing the cause of your back pain accurately is important to ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment.

How is back pain treated?

Based on your consultation and the results of your diagnostic imaging tests, Dr. Ratnayake can prepare a treatment program personalized to your needs. The types of treatments you're likely to benefit from include:

  • Activity modification
  • Physical therapy
  • Pain-relieving medication
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Facet joint injections

Epidural steroid injections are another option. They consist of a corticosteroid and an anesthetic numbing agent and are injected into the epidural space in your spine to temporarily reduce inflammation and help relieve pain. This treatment can reduce back pain due to conditions such as spinal stenosis or disc herniation.

For the majority of patients, a combination of conservative treatments like these is successful in relieving back pain and improving mobility. However, if you're still experiencing distressing levels of back pain after several months, you might need to consider other treatment options.

What are the treatment options for persistent back pain?

Persistent back pain could benefit from treatments like:

Radiofrequency ablation

This procedure uses thermal energy to heat the nerve fibers responsible for your back pain. At a specific temperature, the nerve endings stop working while surrounding tissues are unaffected.

Spinal cord stimulation

This procedure involves Dr. Ratnayake implanting a small device under your skin that sends electrical pulses to the nerves causing your pain. You control the degree of pain relief using a remote unit.

To find out more about the range of treatment options for back pain, call Ratnayake Pain Management today or book an appointment online.