Leg Weakness And Back Pain
Another serious condition that you should see a back injury doctor for is cauda equina syndrome. One of the main symptoms of this condition is progressive leg weakness.
What happens when you have this condition is that there is a severe compression of the nerve sac in your lumbar spine.
There are a few ways you could get cauda equina syndrome.
You could have a previously undiagnosed spinal condition. An infection could also be the culprit. And, as usual, you could have injured your spine somehow.
Treatment for cauda equina syndrome involves immediately surgical intervention. Doctors will do what they can to decompress the pressure on your lumbar nerve sac. Get diagnosed quickly at an urgent care clinic to see if thats what you need.
Treatment For A Herniated Disk
Dr. Pelle says there are some treatment options that can bestarted right:
- Ice and rest.
- Medication .
- A dose pack of steroids.
Surgery is an option for some people who fit the criteriafor it.
I always tell people that there are three prerequisites forsurgery, says Dr. Pelle. You have to have had the pain for at least six weeks.You have to fit the requirements from the physical examination and medical history.And we need to have a serious conversation about how bad the pain is botheringyou and affecting your quality of life.
Surgery on the spine is serious and should be weighed accordingly.
If you think youre dealing with a severe herniated disk orthe pain just wont go away, schedule an appointment with your doctor.
When To Go To Urgent Care For Back Pain
Its a sad fact that 54% of adults have had back pain for five years or even longer. Everyday back pain can range from manageable to needing constant care.
That kind of back pain needs medical attention but doesnt necessarily need immediate attention. Mostly things like stress cause this kind of everyday ache.
Were talking about sudden, strong pain that may point to a more long-lasting injury. Were talking about when to seek urgent care for back pain. Keep reading to know the symptoms and what you can do.
Read Also: Can Dehydration Cause Lower Back Pain
How Is Low Back Pain Diagnosed
A complete medical history and physical exam can usually identify any serious conditions that may be causing the pain. Neurologic tests can help determine the cause of pain and appropriate treatment. Imaging tests are not needed in most cases but may be ordered to rule out specific causes of pain, including tumors and spinal stenosis. Occasionally the cause of chronic lower back pain is difficult to determine even after a thorough examination.
Blood tests are not routinely used to diagnose the cause of back pain but might be ordered to look for signs of inflammation, infection, cancer, and/or arthritis.
Bone scans can detect and monitor an infection, fracture, or bone disorder. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream and collects in the bones, particularly in areas with some abnormality. Scanner-generated images can identify specific areas of irregular bone metabolism or abnormal blood flow, as well as to measure levels of joint disease.
Discography involves injecting a contrast dye into a spinal disc thought to be causing low back pain. The fluids pressure in the disc will reproduce the persons symptoms if the disc is the cause. The dye helps to show the damaged areas on CT scans taken following the injection.
Electrodiagnostics can identify problems related to the nerves in the back and legs. The procedures include:
When Should You Seek Treatment For Acute Or Chronic Back Pain
Whether you think your back pain is acute or chronic, anytime youre experiencing pain that lasts longer than two weeks without any improvement in symptoms, we strongly suggest you get the care you need.
If you think you need care right away, you can also go to your nearest orthopedic urgent care location.
If the pain is new or you know youve tweaked something, a great place to start is to find a physical therapy location and make an appointment. Our physical therapists will tailor strengthening and mobility exercises to your unique needs, and you can plan on about six visits.
That said, acute back pain will usually heal itself over a few weeks. But chronic pain usually doesnt get better without medical intervention. Why? While home remedies and short-term back pain treatments are helpful, they provide temporary relief and dont address those underlying causes of chronic pain.
So, if youre regularly experiencing signs of chronic back pain, dont ignore it. While chronic pain is long-lasting, it doesnt have to be permanent and you probably dont need surgery. This is where the Physicians Neck & Back Center spinal strengthening program can help.
Lower Back Pain: What Could It Be
Do you have lower back pain? You are not alone. Anyone can experience lower back pain at any time, even if you dont have a prior injury or any of the risk factors. It is not always serious and can often get better on its own. But in some cases pain is your bodys way of telling you that something isnt right.
Learn more about lower back pain and what causes it from rehabilitation physician Akhil Chhatre, M.D., who specializes in back pain in the Johns Hopkins Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Can Back Pain Go Away On Its Own
Most of us have known back pain at some point. At best, its a constant annoyance. At worst, it keeps us from sleeping, exercising, enjoying our families, even doing basic daily tasks. It becomes a chore to get out of a chair. Bending over to garden or biking in the mountains next weekend? Forget it.
This article will help you compare your options, such as yoga, massage, P.T., surgery and trying to find a chiropractor in Durham for back pain.
So what do we do? Wait and hope the pain goes away? Since back pain often subsides in several days to a few weeks, many people have decided that their way of dealing with it will be to ride it out. Suffer bravely for a while until the body adjusts.
The problem with this method is that the pain never truly goes away. It will resurface again in the future, whether as back pain or as some other symptom. You see, pain is a symptom. Its the bodys way of signaling that something is wrong. If you dont fix that something, even if your pain fades for a while, the root problem will still be there.
Also Check: Can Herpes Cause Back Pain
Does Appendicitis Go Away After Surgery
Appendicitis pain can come back again after going away. This is more common if you didnt undergo an appendectomy.
Researchers did a microscopic pathological examination of appendices in a series of patients undergoing an appendectomy.
In one study on 269 Italian patients, 14.2% of them were found to have evidence of chronic inflammation of their appendices.
These patients reported appendicitis pain that continued to come and go for weeks or months before the appendectomy operation .
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Upper Back And Shoulder Pain
Signs and symptoms of pain between the shoulders include:
- A twinge of pain after picking up something heavy that slowly becomes more advanced over time
- A burning sensation between the shoulders
- Weakness between the shoulders
- Pain that worsens at night, after working all day, or all-day activity
- Arm numbness if the spinal cord is compressed
Its important to note that anyone who experiences pain between the shoulder blades that has no known reason and doesnt change with moving positions should seek help from their doctor.
Concerned about symptoms of upper back and shoulder pain? Book a physiotherapy assessment at your local pt Health clinic today.
Read Also: Can Urgent Care Help With Back Pain
When To Seek Medical Care For Back Pain
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has identified 11 red flagsthat doctors look for when evaluating a person with back pain. The focus of these red flags is to detect fractures , infections, or tumors of the spine. Presence of any of the following red flags associated with low back pain should prompt a visit to your doctor as soon as possible for complete evaluation.
- Recent significant trauma such as a fall from a height, motor vehicle accident, or similar incident
- Recent mild trauma in those older than 50 years of age: A fall down a few steps or slipping and landing on the buttocks may be considered mild trauma.
- History of prolonged steroid use: People with asthma, COPD, and rheumatic disorders, for example, may be given this type of medication.
- Anyone with a history of osteoporosis: An elderly woman with a history of a hip fracture, for example, would be considered high risk.
- Any person older than 70 years of age: There is an increased incidence of cancer, infections, and abdominal causes of the pain.
- Prior history of cancer
- Unexplained weight loss
The presence of any of the above would justify a visit to a hospital’s emergency department, particularly if your family doctor is unable to evaluate you within the next 24 hours.
When Should I See A Doctor About Back Pain
About 80% of adults experience back pain at some time in their lives. It’s one of most common reasons people see a doctor or miss work. The pain can range from a dull ache to sharp, sudden and debilitating pain.
For most people, back pain is mechanical in nature, which means the elements of your back and how they move together has changed.
Possible back conditions could include:
Muscle or ligament strain
Heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain the muscles or ligaments in your back. Also, if you are overweight or in poor physical condition, the constant strain on your back can cause muscle fatigue and muscle spasms.
Bulging or ruptured disk
Disks are the cushions between the bones in your spine. You can have bulging or ruptured disks that may or may not cause pain by compressing a nerve root and causing pain that radiates into the leg.
Disks may narrow over time and cause your vertebrae to grind together resulting pain.
Most back pain even severe back pain goes away on its own in four to six weeks with self-care, such as rest, heat or ice, over-the-counter pain medication and exercise.
Surgery often is effective to correct a spinal deformity or instability issue. Surgery also is helpful to treat pain radiating down a leg due to compression of a nerve root in the spine if other conservative treatments have failed. However, surgery is not considered a good treatment for generalized back pain.
Topics in this Post
You May Like: What Causes Lower Back Pain That Shoots Down Your Leg
Home Treatment For Lower Back Pain
There are a number of at-home options to treat pain in your lower back:
- Relax. Sometimes just sitting down will relieve enough of the pressure from your lower back to reduce the pain significantly.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . These over-the-counter pain relievers include ibuprofen and naproxen . You can purchase NSAIDs here.
- Exercise and stretching. Although exercise is often good for addressing lower back pain, consult with a professional. Some exercises can make the pain worse. For example, avoid toe touches and situps, but try hamstring stretches. Generally getting into better physical health will help reduce lower back pain when standing and doing other everyday activities.
- Stand and sit up straight. Your posture is important for proper weight distribution. Standing and sitting up straight will help.
- Get supportive shoes and orthotics. Get shoes or shoe inserts that help keep your feet in a neutral, supported position.
- Mattress support. Find a mattress that gives you better support than your current one.
- Use heat and ice. As soon as the pain starts, put an ice pack on your lower back for 20 minutes several times a day. After 48 hours, alternate using ice and heat.
- Avoid heavy lifting. Avoid lifting heavy objects. If you must, keep your back straight and bend your legs so the leg muscles do the majority of the work.
- Lose weight. If youre overweight, getting to a healthy weight will improve strain on your back.
All Of The Worst Possible Causes Of Back Pain And Their Major Features
None of these are common. All of them usually cause serious symptoms that are easy to take seriously. Some of them can fly under the radar in early stages, but usually not for long. The names of the conditions link to carefully chosen articles from good sources.The worst possible causes of back pain
|what is it?|
Finucane LM, Downie A, Mercer C,et al. International Framework for Red Flags for Potential Serious Spinal Pathologies. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2020 Jul 50:350372. PubMed #32438853
You May Like: What Causes Lower Back Pain On Your Left Side
Low Back Pain Fact Sheet
If you have had lower back pain, you are not alone. Back pain is one of most common reasons people see a doctor or miss days at work. Even school-age children can have back pain.
Back pain can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp or shooting pain. It can begin suddenly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time as we age. Getting too little exercise followed by a strenuous workout also can cause back pain.
There are two types of back pain:
- Acute, or short-term back pain lasts a few days to a few weeks. Most low back pain is acute. It tends to resolve on its own within a few days with self-care and there is no residual loss of function. In some cases a few months are required for the symptoms to disappear.
- Chronic back pain is defined as pain that continues for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute low back pain has been treated. About 20 percent of people affected by acute low back pain develop chronic low back pain with persistent symptoms at one year. Even if pain persists, it does not always mean there is a medically serious underlying cause or one that can be easily identified and treated. In some cases, treatment successfully relieves chronic low back pain, but in other cases pain continues despite medical and surgical treatment.
How Do You Know If It Is Sciatica
The key to diagnosing sciatica is a thorough history and a focused exam. Unfortunately, many patients expect an x-ray or MRI, and doctors, often facing time constraints, order one even though we know imaging tests dont really help us treat early sciatica any better. The Sciatica symptoms are often worse with sitting or coughing and may be accompanied by numbness or tingling in the leg. A physical exam can confirm that the sciatic nerve is involved, and I look for weakness or diminished reflexes in the legs that suggest that someone needs early referral to a specialist. With this information, I can make an initial diagnosis and start treatment.
Recommended Reading: Does Stress Cause Back Pain
Complementary And Alternative Techniques Include:
- Acupuncture is moderately effective for chronic low back pain. It involves inserting thin needles into precise points throughout the body and stimulating them , which may cause the body to release naturally occurring painkilling chemicals such as endorphins, serotonin, and acetylcholine.
- Behavioral approaches include:
- Biofeedback involves attaching electrodes to the skin and using an electromyography machine that allows people to become aware of and control their breathing, muscle tension, heart rate, and skin temperature people regulate their response to pain by using relaxation techniques
- Cognitive therapy involves using relaxation and coping techniques to ease back pain
Spinal injections include:Trigger point injections can relax knotted muscles that may contribute to back pain. An injection or series of injections of a local anesthetic and often a corticosteroid drug into the trigger point can lessen or relieve pain.
Types Of Spinal Infections
Determining whats causing your pain is the first step in figuring out what type of treatment is appropriate for your condition. Where anti-inflammatories may help a minor back condition, they arent as effective for a spine infection.
Although spine infections arent common, they do pose a significant risk because of the close proximity to your spinal cord. And untreated infections may lead to more severe health risks.
The following are four infections of the spine that could cause back pain:
You May Like: Why Do I Have Sudden Lower Back Pain
When To Worry About Low Back Pain
The bark of low back pain is usually much worse than its bite. The pain almost always makes it seem worse than it is.
MRI and x-ray for low back pain are surprisingly useless, because things like herniated discs arent actually that big a deal,1 most back pain goes away on its own,2 and trigger points are common and can be alarmingly intense but arent dangerous. Most patients are much better off when they feel confident about these things. The power of justified, rational confidence is huge.