Back Pain Specialist

Houston Neurology & Sleep Diagnostic Center

Allen Chu, MD, PhD

Neuromuscular Medicine Specialist & Sleep Medicine Specialist located in Houston, TX & The Woodlands, TX

Back pain is a widespread complaint among Americans. At Houston Neurology & Sleep Diagnostic Center, in Houston and The Woodlands, Texas, Allen Chu, MD, PhD, offers expert diagnosis and treatment for back pain. As a board-certified neurologist, he specializes in nerve pain and the conditions that cause it. If you’re living with back pain, call Dr. Chu or schedule an appointment online today.

Back Pain

When can a consultation with a neurologist and neuromuscular specialist assist you in helping your patient with unexplained chronic muscle pain? Here’s a quick checklist and some “red flag” points to keep in mind:

When the pain is associated with numbness or weakness, it may be indicative of myopathy, peripheral neuropathy, radiculopathy or a focal entrapment neuropathy, and a thorough evaluation by a neuromuscular specialist, including EMG is in order.

If the pain is accompanied by any of the following, consider that, while uncommon, a central lesion may be the culprit. In this case, an immediate consultation to a neurologist is strongly suggested:

  • Lateralized neurological symptoms
  • Increased reflexes
  • Bowel/bladder dysfunction
  • Diplopia
  • Dysphagia
  • Dysarthria
  • Headache
  • Nausea and/or fever
  • Pain that does not follow focal nerve or nerve root distribution

Any time you feel specialized care is needed to evaluate or plan treatment for a patient with a neuromuscular concern, call Houston Neurology & Diagnostic Center. We specialize in supporting physicians whose patients present with neuromuscular disorder symptoms. Our founder, Allen Chu, MD, PhD, takes a consultative approach, working with both specialty and general physicians, from evaluation and diagnosis to treatment planning and long-term management of neuromuscular disorders.

Dr. Chu is board-certified in neurology, electrodiagnostic medicine and sleep medicine and holds a PhD in Neuroscience. In addition to the in-depth clinical expertise you want, Dr. Chu and everyone at the Center are dedicated to your patients’ excellent care and to serving you and your practice. 

What causes back pain?

With around 80% of Americans experiencing back pain at some point during their lives, it’s no surprise that an extraordinary range of injuries and conditions can cause it. In addition to muscle strains and sprains and arthritis, you may have a condition that compresses the nerves in your spine, causing your pain. For example, your back pain could be due to:

  • Herniated disc
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylosis
  • Tumors

Nerve compression or damage causes back pain as well as radiant pain and symptoms such as numbness and weakness in your arms and legs. For example, sciatica is the pain, numbness, and weakness caused by compression of your sciatic nerve in your lower spine. The condition can cause disabling symptoms down one or both of your legs, depending on where the compression is located.

When should I talk to a doctor about back pain?

You should make an appointment at Houston Neurology & Sleep Diagnostic Center if you have back pain that doesn’t go away or begin to subside after a few days of rest and at-home care including over-the-counter medicine and hot and cold packs. Also, if you experience any weakness, numbness, or tingling in your arms or legs, you should make an appointment.

What methods can determine the cause of my back pain?

Dr. Chu offers comprehensive exams including diagnostic testing to identify the condition causing your pain. In addition to a physical exam, Dr. Chu may order tests to gather more information about your spine including:

  • X-rays
  • MRIs
  • CT scans
  • Bone scans
  • Nerve studies such as electromyogram
  • Nerve conduction studies

Dr. Chu needs to understand the condition causing your back pain so he can create a customized treatment plan to relieve your symptoms and heal the condition causing your pain.

What is the treatment for back pain?

Your treatment plan is designed to meet your needs precisely. Depending on your condition, Dr. Chu may prescribe medication such as anti-inflammatories or recommend joint injections to deliver powerful corticosteroids directly to the affected parts of your spine.

He may also suggest physical therapy or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). In some cases, Dr. Chu may recommend spinal cord stimulation or radiofrequency ablation treatments to resolve nerve pain.

If you’re living with back pain, call Houston Neurology & Sleep Diagnostic Center or make an appointment online today.