Understanding Low Back Pain

Conditions of the Lumbar Spine


Wellington K. Hsu, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon

Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery and Neurological Surgery at Northwestern Medicine, Chicago, Illinois

Cara Sedney, MD, Neurosurgical Spine Surgeon

Associate Professor at West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia


Join us for an informative and engaging panel discussion on “Understanding Low Back Pain” featuring two esteemed experts in the field of spine, Dr. Wellington Hsu and Dr. Care Sedney. In this educational video, we delve into the common causes of low back pain, exploring the intricate anatomy of the lumbar spine and uncovering why certain conditions arise. Find out when it’s advisable to consult a low back specialist and when diagnostic tools like x-rays and MRIs are necessary for accurate assessment. 

The panel sheds light on when spine surgery should be considered, as well as when non-surgical treatment options are more appropriate, offering viewers a comprehensive understanding of conservative approaches to managing low back pain. Moreover, learn how experts approach conditions that lack imaging findings, uncovering the nuanced ways in which such cases can be effectively treated. Our panelists provide valuable tips for patients to better educate themselves about their condition and actively participate in their own care. Don’t miss this invaluable resource that empowers you with knowledge to navigate the complex world of low back pain and make informed decisions about your health.


00:00 Introduction
01:42 What are common causes of low back pain?
03:03 Back pain in rural communities
04:14 The anatomy of the lumbar spine & why conditions happen
05:58 What is the role of the hip in low back conditions?
07:20 What chronic conditions lead to pain or loss of mobility?
08:56 How do lifestyle choices impact lower back conditions?
09:50 The role of smoking in lower back conditions
10:25 What is the role of the discs in the lumbar spine in lower back conditions?
11:09 What can cause pain the low back?
14:41 What is sciatica?
16:17 When should you see a low back specialist?
19:10 Spine surgeons: operative and other treatment options
20:06 Do patients have reluctance to see a spine surgeon?
21:07 What is the first evaluation for lower back conditions?
23:25 When do patients need x-rays and/or MRIs?
25:53 When do you know that spine surgery should be considered?
28:46 When is treatment with spine fusion considered?
30:27 When is disc replacement a treatment option?
32:28 What are the range of options for lower back conditions?
34:23 What are the non-surgical treatment options?
36:58 How do you treat conditions that lack imaging findings?
38:24 How can patients better educate themselves?