Back Pain Specialist

Portland Neurosurgery

Board Certified Neurosurgeon & Spine Surgeon located in Portland, OR

Back pain affects most adults at some point in their life. For some, it comes earlier than expected, as 40% of those between the ages of 18-44 struggle with the problem. Jeffrey Johnson, MD, at Portland Neurosurgery, starts your treatment with nonsurgical options. If your back pain doesn’t improve, you can depend on his extensive neurosurgical experience to repair the underlying problem. If you need relief from the pain, call the office in Portland, Oregon, or use the online booking feature today.

Back Pain

What causes back pain?

Back pain often occurs when you pull a muscle or ligament during athletic or everyday activities. Frequently repeating the same movement can lead to a stress fracture or tears in the soft tissues supporting your back. These types of issues typically heal on their own if given time and rest.

As you get older, degenerative conditions frequently cause back pain. The most common problems include:

  • Sciatica
  • Herniated discs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Foraminal stenosis
  • Facet joint arthritis
  • Slipped vertebra (spondylolisthesis)
  • Degenerative disc disease

These conditions often cause additional pain by pinching spinal nerves.

Do back pain and neck pain share similar causes?

Back and neck pain share similar causes. Pain in both parts of your spine often arises from muscle strains. You can also develop all of the same degenerative conditions in your neck. However, your neck is especially vulnerable to sprains and whiplash injuries.

What symptoms might develop along with back pain?

Along with pain, most people also have stiffness and limited movement. When you have a pinched nerve, you may also feel pain and tingling that radiates down your arms or legs, depending on whether the pinched nerve is in your neck or back.

When you have a pinched sciatic spinal nerve, you often develop back pain and the hallmark symptom of sciatica: electric-shock pain that radiates down one or both legs.

In severe cases, pinched nerves cause numbness and muscle weakness. If that happens, you may have trouble lifting your foot when walking or grasping objects with your hands.

How are neck and back pain treated?

Dr. Johnson evaluates your medical history and current symptoms. He also reviews images such as X-rays and MRIs to accurately diagnose the cause of your pain. Then he talks with you about your treatment options so you can make an informed choice.

Your treatment begins with conservative therapies. For example, you may need medications, activity modification, or physical therapy.

If you still struggle with back pain after conservative care, Dr. Johnson may recommend interventional options such as a spinal cord stimulator or surgery to repair the underlying problem.

As an experienced neurosurgeon, Dr. Johnson performs many types of spine surgery. A few examples of procedures he often performs include:


A laminectomy is one of several procedures that can decompress pinched nerves.


This procedure refers to removing part of a herniated or damaged disc.

Lumbar or Cervical Fusion

A fusion is sometimes necessary depending on the source of your pain. When this is necessary hardware is placed permanently in your spine and over time two vertebrae will fuse together. This often restores strength and stability to your spine.

Cervical Artificial Disc Replacement

Instead of a fusion, Dr. Johnson may implant an artificial disc, which restores spinal stability and also maintains movement.

If you have ongoing back pain, call Portland Neurosurgery or schedule an appointment online today.