Live life again, finding the best treatment for your back pain

Southwest Spine & Pain Center, 652 S. Medical Center Dr., #110, St. George, Utah, circa 2014 | Photo courtesy of Southwest Spine & Pain Center, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Whether you’re suffering from chronic back pain, new back pain, or recurring back pain, there’s no reason to live in discomfort. The first step in finding relief is to seek out the appropriate information on what is causing your pain, and then choosing what the best method is for treating the pain.

Southwest Spine & Pain Center in Southern Utah specializes in diagnosing and treating all types of spine and joint pain at its locations in St. George, Cedar City, Richfield and Logan, and will soon be available to help people at its new location in Hurricane starting in March.

One major cause of back pain is vertebral body compression fractures. Over 600,000 of these fractures occur in the United States every year, and as high as 60 percent of them can result in chronic pain, said Dr. Rick Obray of St. George’s Southwest Spine & Pain Center.

At times, the pain associated with these fractures is so severe, that the normal daily activities of a person can be disrupted, leading to periods of extended bed rest and decreased activity. This can result in increased bone demineralization or osteoporosis, as well as diminished muscle mass. Health issues such as labored breathing, dependence on pain medication, depression, and premature death, can also occur.

A compression fracture | Photo courtesy of Rachel Meyer, St. George News
A compression fracture | Photo courtesy of Rachel Meyer, St. George News


A viable option for treating the pain of patients with a compression fracture is the Kyphoplasty procedure. This procedure attempts to restore the height of the vertebral body by inflating a small balloon inside the fracture. A small amount of specialized bone cement is then injected into the vertebral body to stabilize the fracture. The procedure can dramatically decrease the pain associated with these fractures and shorten the recovery period.

“The evidence shows that when patients have pain that does not respond to conservative measures,” Obray said, “there’s a direct benefit to treating these patients with Kyphoplasty.”

The Kyphoplasty procedure can take anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes, is minimally invasive, and the patient can go home that same day. Pain relief often occurs immediately following the procedure, and full recovery can occur in as little as 4 weeks. In addition, the procedure can be done in an in-office procedural suite, eliminating the need to go to the hospital altogether.

With older patients, it is vital to stay as active as possible so as not to lose muscle mass and to prevent the weakening of bones. Kyphoplasty can decrease the pain associated with compression fracture, allowing someone to return to normal activities more quickly.

Photo courtesy of Rachel Meyers, St. George News

Other treatment options

Other methods of treatment include bracing, rest and pain medications. The goal of Southwest Spine & Pain is to relieve pain by educating patients about all available treatment methods and then working with each individual to find the best treatment method for them.

Contrary to what some physicians believe, pain treatment is not always black and white, Obray said. The center believes in a more modern methodology.

“In our opinion,” Obray said, “good physicians are those who summarize what the recent literature says, and then make treatment decisions together, with the patient, tailoring the treatments to the needs and wishes of the patient.”

Before any treatment is scheduled or prescribed, the physicians at Southwest Spine & Pain first take the time to be absolutely sure what is causing the pain, so treatment can be targeted. Every patient is unique, and this is taken into account during the development of the care plan.

The physicians at Southwest Spine & Pain believe that providing patients with the information to make their own decisions about their own treatment will result in the best remedy possible for every individual person.

“What we try to do is educate them,” Obray said, “so that they can make the best choices for themselves on the information available.”


  • Southwest Spine & Pain locations
    652 S. Medical Center Dr., #110, St. George | 435-656-2424
    1303 N. Main St., Cedar City | 435-586-2229
    70 East 1000 North, Suite 2C, Richfield | 435-586-2229
    550 E. 1400 North, Suites X & Y, Logan | 435-787-8146
  • 25 N. 2000 West, #8, Hurricane | 84737
  • Watch a video detailing the Kyphoplasty procedure here.
  • Visit Southwest Spine & Pain’s website here.

• S P O N S O R E D   C O N T E N T  •

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  • Justme..... January 27, 2015 at 6:48 pm

    Our experience with ‘pain management’ is that deterioration continues as dependence on the relief from drugs increases. If you have a pain then see a doctor, not the nurse who gives the shots. Something real is wrong and needs treatment, not numbing.

  • Corisa January 28, 2015 at 1:05 am

    I absolutely love the obreys. They make my life livable. All the staff are great. I love how much fun they have and enjoy being there. Makes me like going. I love leaving their office with a lower pain level than I went in.

  • Dr Kildare January 28, 2015 at 6:29 am

    There’s no money in curing your sickness the money is in giving out prescriptions in controlling your symptoms and as you have a reaction to one drug then they will give you another prescription to offset the effects of the other drug. and hopefully in you will be taking 8 pills a day for the rest of your life

  • Corisa February 1, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Dr. Kildare, is this a personal experience or second hand information? If something didn’t work for me, I was changed to something else. As my situation progressed, we talked about options. They include my other Dr’s in everything. They give me information and time to reserch the information. I was able to bring something totally different to the table. They understand pain and are very compationat. I am in control of my health. I don’t want to be addicted to a bunch of stuff. They respect that and help me with my wishes and goals.

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