Signs Your Back Pain Might Be An Emergency
In our 20s and 30s, normal back pain often can be attributed to factors of daily life, such as sitting too long, picking up children, or overdoing it while exercising.
In our 40s and older, work injuries and the beginnings of arthritis and degenerative conditions are more common.
Back pain is so common, in fact, that many patients shrug off symptoms that might indicate a medical emergency.
Approximately 80% of adults will experience back pain in their lives, so its important to be able to identify the severity of your symptoms and track how long the pain lasts.
If back pain can be associated with a specific activity, such as lifting or twisting wrong, and the pain goes away within 72 hours after resting and applying ice, its usually nothing to worry about. However, if pain creeps on gradually, appears suddenly, or doesn’t go away, you might have a more serious condition.
Can Stress Cause Lower Back Pain
Back pain is arguably one of the most common and frustrating symptoms that we experience regularly. From causing difficulty working to trouble sleeping, there is no doubt that lower back pain is a major hassle. In many cases, the inability to pinpoint a cause or inciting event for the pain can be the most irritating thing about it, second only to the discomfort that interferes with your daily life. Your first thought may be that you pulled a muscle or moved the wrong way, leading to a sore back. However, you may be surprised to find out that a large number of back pain cases are actually caused by stress and its associated behaviors. The knowledgeable team at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta, led by Dr. Christopher Williams, is dedicated to helping patients determine the underlying cause of their condition and get quick relief from their painful symptoms.
Treatment For Cervical Myelopathy
For those rare occasions where patients with cervical spondylotic myelopathy have tremors, surgery won’t necessarily help the condition, Dr. Highsmith said.
“If it’s from the cervical myelopathy, there’s usually been permanent damage. So even with surgery and decompression, a patient still often has symptoms,” Dr. Highsmith said. “It’s one of those things we treat but sometimes doesn’t get better.”
In the case of the 91-year-old patient, doctors performed procedure to help manage the condition. An ACDF is a surgical procedure to treat spinal cord compression by removing a degenerative or herniated disc in the neck.
Within eight weeks after surgery, the man’s tremors went away, and his unsteadiness eventually resolved, the report states.
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How Is Sciatica Treated
The goal of treatment is to decrease your pain and increase your mobility. Depending on the cause, many cases of sciatica go away over time with some simple self-care treatments.
Self-care treatments include:
- Appling ice and/or hot packs: First, use ice packs to reduce pain and swelling. Apply ice packs or bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a towel to the affected area. Apply for 20 minutes, several times a day. Switch to a hot pack or a heating pad after the first several days. Apply for 20 minutes at a time. If youre still in pain, switch between hot and cold packs whichever best relieves your discomfort.
- Taking over-the-counter medicines: Take medicines to reduce pain, inflammation and swelling. The many common over-the-counter medicines in this category, called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , include aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen . Be watchful if you choose to take aspirin. Aspirin can cause ulcers and bleeding in some people. If youre unable to take NSAIDS, acetaminophen may be taken instead.
- Performing gentle stretches: Learn proper stretches from an instructor with experience with low back pain. Work up to other general strengthening, core muscle strengthening and aerobic exercises.
How Are Back Pain And Dizziness Treated
Treatments for back pain and dizziness are dependent upon the cause. Rest after injury can often help reduce back pain. Physical therapy exercises to stretch and strengthen your back may help decrease dizziness related to intense pain.
In some instances, your symptoms may require more significant interventions, such as injections to relieve pain and surgery to reduce nerve compression. Your doctor can prescribe medications to reduce dizziness. Antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine and meclizine , also may help treat dizziness.
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Why Does My Back Hurt
There are a number of reasons, some of which may not be glaringly obvious, why you are experiencing back pain. Trauma or direct injury to the area can certainly result in acute or chronic pain, but oftentimes the cause of your back pain can be traced to something else. Some of the most common causes of back pain include:
- Muscle spasms
- Herniated disc
Seemingly harmless activities like repetitive lifting or repetitive motions such as swinging a golf club often put a strain on your muscles and ligaments and result in back pain. Chronic or degenerative conditions, such as those listed above, can also be culprits of back pain. However, if none of these things apply to you, your back pain may be the result of something else.
How Anxiety Causes Back Pain: And How To Stop It
- Anxiety, especially chronic anxiety, commonly leads to back pain
- Muscle tension may be the primary cause, but there are other supplementary anxiety symptoms that could also cause back pain
- Simple lifestyle changes can reduce some of the back pain
- One simple change: posture, which can be affected by anxiety in several ways
- Eliminating back pain from anxiety, specifically, traditionally requires anxiety treatments
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Onset Of Upper Back Pain Symptoms
Upper back pain symptoms could start any number of ways, including:
- Sudden. Pain could begin immediately after an injury or out of the blue for no apparent reason at all.
- Delayed. Sometimes pain from an injury takes a few hours or longer before it shows up. The reason for this is not always known, but it could be due to an inflammatory process or how pain might be felt in another area of the body before it is noticed in the upper back.
- Gradual. Pain may start out mild and slowly worsen over time.
Sometimes upper back pain comes and goes. Intermittent pain may or may not become worse over time, depending on the cause. Pain could feel worse in the morning and get better during the day, or it might be worse in the evening but feel better after rest.
Essentials For Older People: Tremor
Many older people think that developing a tremor is a part of normal aging and may not seek medical attention. Nonetheless, older people should talk to their doctor, who can ask them questions and do a physical examination to check for possible causes of tremor. Doctors may then recommend strategies or possibly drugs to lessen the tremor.
Also, older people are more likely to be taking drugs that cause tremor and are more vulnerable to side effects of these drugs. Thus, when prescribing such drugs to older people, doctors try to prescribe the lowest effective dose. Such a dose may be lower than the doses used to treat younger adults. Doctors, if possible, avoid using anticholinergic Anticholinergic: What Does It Mean? drugs in older people.
Tremor can significantly affect quality of life in older people, interfering with their ability to function, especially if they have other physical or mental impairments. Physical and occupational therapists can provide simple coping strategies Treatment , and assistive devices may help older people maintain quality of life.
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Stinging Or Burning Pain
Back pain may be due to improper posture or a stressful day at work. But if the pain is a burning or stinging pain, or if it extends from one spot on your back and down one of your legs, it may be a symptom of a dislocated or herniated disc.
Also, if you had a hard fall or if you accidentally hit or struck your back against something, a visit to the doctor is a must. It is better to get quickly evaluated and treated than for an injury to get worse and potentially become debilitating.
What Is A Tremor
A tremor is a repetitive, rhythmical movement of a part of your body. Many of the muscles of your body come in pairs, which ‘oppose’ each other in other words, contracting one muscle moves your body part in one direction, while contracting the opposing muscle moves it the opposite way. Tremor comes about when these opposing muscle groups contract in turn. It is involuntary. This means that it is generally not controllable and happens without you deciding to move that body part. It is often felt as a trembling or shaking sensation.
A slight tremor is present in all people. That is called physiological tremor. It may not be noticeable. Certain things can make a physiological tremor more noticeable, so you may only notice it now and then.
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Abdominal Discomfort Mimicking Back Pain
There are a number of disorders involving the abdominal organs that can produce back pain symptoms, and some of these disorders are quite serious. Although rare, they cannot be overlooked.
The most serious vascular disorder presenting as back pain is the abdominal aortic aneurysm. Patients are often difficult to diagnose early on, as initial symptoms may be subtle and non-specific. As the process gets worse, the pain becomes deep-seated and localized to the thoracic or thoracolumbar segments of the spine. If your doctors have already said you have an aneurysm, then intense pain, undiminished by narcotics, should trigger you to go immediately to the emergency room.
Back pain can be triggered by disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. Ulcers, especially those involving the posterior duodenal wall, may cause upper lumbar back pain. A “perforated” ulcer may trigger intense pain and spasm, as well as signs of generalized illness and an acute abdomen.
Any type of kidney disease may cause back pain referred to the upper lumbar junction and flank. Kidney stones are a notorious cause of severe, incapacitating back pain. This kind of pain typically comes in waves, causing intense back spasms and pain for a few minutes, then easing off for a bit before coming back with a vengeance. Pain like this is referred to as colic, and is typical for kidney stones, gall stones and kidney infections.
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What Are The Causes Of Shoulder Pain & Shaking Of The Hand
Shoulder pain or discomfort accompanied by involuntary shaking of the hand is an uncommon combination of symptoms. Yet, according to the informational website The Spinal Columns, it may indicate a neurological or orthopedic health issue 1.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Back Pain After A Fall Or Injury: Fractures
Osteoporotic fractures of the vertebral body are the most commonly encountered fractures among primary care doctors. These fractures are not always a result of great trauma and can, in some cases, cause few early symptoms.
Any history of a fall, a lifting injury, a motor vehicle accident or any other trauma, when it is associated with immediate back pain, suggests a muscle or bone injury. If you are osteoporotic, this trauma may be minimal a sneeze, fall from a chair, or slip and fall in the home. Localized pain over the spinal column most commonly the thoracic spine is suggestive enough of compression fracture that x-ray is warranted.
Localized pain over the involved vertebral level is usually present. Even patients with healthy bone can experience a compression fracture if the injury is significant enough. If you fall off of a roof, for instance, and end up with severe back pain in the middle of your lumbar spine, there’s a decent chance you could have a compression fracture, and you should get that x-rayed. Of course, please don’t do that!
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Get Treatment For Your Back Or Neck Problem
If your dizziness is linked to an issue with neck pain or back pain, its important that you get the neck/back pain treated as soon as possible. Undergoing medical care for a serious spinal condition or injury will often alleviate the side effects that are associated with the condition. We will work with you to address the root problem affecting your back, restoring total wellness in the process.
Diagnosing And Treating Lumbago
The main way to best treat your lumbago is to identify and address the cause of the pain, not the symptom of pain itself. Visiting a chiropractor can allow you to work with a professional to get to the bottom of your back pain.
Unfortunately, reaching a diagnosis can be challenging because of the wide number of potential causes of lumbago, which range from herniated discs, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis to scoliosis or even a spinal tumor.
In order to diagnose the cause of your lumbago, your chiropractor will need to know a few important things. Namely, what type of pain youre feeling in your lower back shooting, dull, aching, etc. and when the pain occurs. Additionally, theyll need to know where the pain is felt is it concentrated in the lower back, or does it extend elsewhere? Giving your chiropractor as much information about your pain as possible may help you reach a solution faster.
Once a specific cause is diagnosed, your chiropractor may be able to ease or eliminate your pain by implementing a care regimen. Chiropractic manipulations may help or even rectify the underlying cause of your pain, especially if it lies in the spine. Your chiropractor may also walk you through gentle exercises and stretches to strengthen your back.
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Pain Or Discomfort Shaking And Shaking Chills
- Medical Author: Melinda Ratini, DO
Last Editorial Review: 6/15/2020
When your body is trying to fight off an infection, you can get a fever with shaking chills. This can be a viral infection like the flu or COVID-19, or it can be from a bacteria causing something like strep throat or pneumonia. Your body may ache as part of the infection.
While the list below can be considered as a guide to educate yourself about these conditions, this is not a substitute for a diagnosis from a health care provider. There are many other medical conditions that also can be associated with your symptoms and signs. Here are a number of those from MedicineNet:
When To See A Doctor
In most cases, a shaking leg is not the result of a serious medical condition. It might instead be due to something such as caffeine withdrawal.
However, if there is no clear cause, if self-care strategies do not work, or if the shaking is getting worse, it is best to see a doctor.
It is especially important to see a doctor if a person experiences other symptoms, including:
- changes in memory or mood
- uncontrolled movements
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Lower Back Pain And Back Of The Neck Pain Are Most Common
Pain occurs for a number of reasons and its not always clear what the cause is, making it difficult to figure out how best to treat it. I believe that most common pain problems in Parkinsons Disease are the same as in the general population, but amplified. Low back pain and back of the neck pain are probably the most common pain conditions in PD. The reason Parkinsons Disease patients have so many problems with their low back and their neck is their posture. Parkinsons Disease causes a stooped posture. Some of this happens with age anyway, particularly in women after menopause when their bones soften, but is always worse from the PD. All Parkinsons Disease patients have some degree of stooped posture and many also tilt to one side. Because of the stooped posture, the muscles in the lower back have to pull much harder to keep the spine upright.
Other Conditions That Cause Back Pain In Older Adults
We often see a range of less serious but still painful spine conditions in seniors. Most patients with these conditions will not require surgery. Physical therapy, medication, injectable anesthetics, or a combination of treatments usually can control symptoms.
- Degenerative disc disease, which can cause whole spine pain, and lumbar arthritis, which usually causes low-back pain, commonly develop with age and are considered wear-and-tear conditions.
- Sacroiliitis is an inflammation of the joints that connect your spine and pelvis. This condition can cause pain in the low back, glutes, and upper legs.
- Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritis that causes patients spines to become inflexible, resulting in a continual hunched forward position and spine pain.
- We also check for adult degenerative scoliosis and kyphosis, spine-curving conditions that can result in back pain and weakness in the lower extremities.
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When An Emergency Room Visit Is Warranted For Back Pain
When dealing with severe back pain, making a judgment call about whether to seek help in a doctors office or visit the ER may be difficult.
The following list describes the symptoms and signs related to conditions that may have resulted in spinal cord, cauda equina, or internal organ damage, which are typically considered as a medical emergency.