If You Have These Symptoms You May Require Emergency Care
Lower back pain, which can occur anywhere from your rib cage to your buttocks, is often the result of lifting, reaching, twisting and stretching. Upper and middle back pain, in most cases, does get better with time and rest. If your back pain is unrelenting and not relieved by rest, you should immediately visit the closest emergency department. If the pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, you should also seek emergency care:
How To Get Through Your Next Endometriosis
Over the years, and as a result of consultations with both my regular OB-GYN and my therapist, I learned how to better maneuver this flawed system how to temper my pain, telling doctors I was at a 7, even if I felt like I was at a 10, just so they would hear me out before immediately writing me off.
I developed a bit of a guide for getting through those trips as unscathed as possible. Heres my set of tips Ive shared with plenty of women newly diagnosed with endometriosis over the years.
When Should I Visit The Er
Furthermore, if the pain occurred because of an injury, seek emergent medical as well. Its important to have your back pain scanned and X-rayed to rule out long-term or life threatening conditions that can result in spinal injuries. Other signs to watch out for and things that it would suggest that it is time to come see us would include any sort of numbness or weakness, fever, any loss of bowel or bladder control, or incontinence.
You also want to visit an Emergency Room if you experience back pain in conjunction with other conditions as these can be signs of worsening or serious conditions.
Such as if you had a recent physical trauma of any type, especially elderly, if you have a history of cancer. If you have experienced recent immune suppression or prescription medication or surgery, or if you use IV drugs or have a history of steroid use, we highly recommend seeking emergent medical treatment in any of those cases.
- Physician Info
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Should You Visit The Emergency Department For Back Pain
People with pain expect to leave the emergency department with some relief of their pain, and they are frequently disappointed. Getting good help for chronic pain is not what the ED is designed to do. Even if your back, neck or other pain is severe, theres only a small chance that its a medical emergency.
A checklist for visiting the ED:
- Did you have an accident or trauma?
- Have you been ill or had recent surgery?
- Do you have unsafe practices like IV drug use?
- Do you have unexplained fever?
- Do you have dizziness, nausea or vomiting?
- Are your legs weak, numb or unable to move?
If the answer to these questions is no, even if your back pain is very severe, you probably wont benefit from an emergency room visit.
What Doctor Should I See For Back Pain
If your back pain is from a recent strain or mild injury, your primary care doctor can probably help. But if the pain is severe, ongoing, or accompanied by other symptoms such as numbness or tingling in your arms or legs, it may be time to see a back doctor. Start with someone who specializes in nonsurgical treatment for back pain. This can include a physiatrist, chiropractor, physical therapist, or orthopaedic physician assistant. They can evaluate your condition and offer appropriate treatment to help alleviate your pain. Depending on your circumstances, they might also refer you to another type of back specialist — for example, a pain management specialist or spine surgeon.
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Sharp Sudden Pain That Wont Go Away
Average healthy adults may experience back pain regularly, but this can be made manageable with a good, long rest. But its a greater cause for concern if a sharp pain comes on suddenly, even if you havent been engaged in any rigorous activity. For some patients, this may happen after an accident like when they lift something heavy and pull a muscle.
However, it could be a serious problem if this sharp pain doesnt disappear after a few days. Likely causes for this problem include torn back muscles or ligaments, injury to the spinal cord, or a problem with an internal organ located in the back or on the sides of the body. Emergency care at a hospital may be needed to address the underlying problem.
List Of Sciatica Signs And Symptoms
Sciatica is frequently associated with one or more of the following:
- A sharp pain that makes walking or standing up close to impossible
- Pain that radiates down one leg and also into the foot and toes
- Leg pain experienced as tingling, searing, or burning
- Chronic pain frequently affecting only one side of the buttocks or leg
- Pain that gets more intense due to prolonged sitting but may become better as soon as you lie down or start walking.
- Weakness or numbness, or difficulty when trying to move the foot, leg, or toes
- Irregular and irritating pain, or can also be consistent and incapacitating
- Symptoms that depend on the location of the pinched or irritated nerve
It is rare for sciatica to cause any damage to the tissue or sciatic nerve permanently. However, these symptoms may trigger whenever you cough, sneeze, or change positions. Some of them will trigger if you have a particular condition. For example, if a person has spinal stenosis, walking long distances or bending the body backward can cause excruciating back pain and other symptoms. If you have a lumbar herniated disc, then leaning forward will cause lower back pain.
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You Cant Control Your Bladder
Back pain combined with bladder or bowel incontinence, or a feeling of increasing weakness or numbness in the legs, pelvis, and hips, could be serious, says S. Adam Ramin, MD, a Los Angeles-based urologist, medical director of Urology Cancer Specialists, and assistant professor of surgery at City of Hope National Medical Center. These symptoms can indicate a variety of illnesses and conditions that need immediate attention including multiple sclerosis, some types of cancer, nerve damage, or an infection, he says. Another symptom of this type of nerve injury is if you have no feeling when you wipe with toilet paper.
Back Pain Emergency Room Treatment
The spine is a column of bones or vertebrae that are held together by tendons, ligaments and muscles and cushioned by disks that absorb shock. A problem in any part of a persons spine can cause back pain. The pain can be located in the upper back, middle back or lower back. Backaches can occur in individuals of all ages however, it is less common in older adults and children.
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Answers To Common Back Pain Questions
More than eight in 10 people will experience upper, mid, or low back pain at some point in their lives. Low back pain is the most common back pain. In most cases, the pain goes away over time. If your back pain is severe or does not improve, you may need medical care. Here are answers to some common questions about back pain and tips on when to seek help.
Open Up To Your Doctor
I eventually spoke with my doctor about the experiences I was having in ERs. She ended up prescribing a prescription for a very small number of strong pain relievers for me to keep on hand.
I kept them in the back of my medicine cabinet for those just-in-case days when the pain is too great to handle. I only had to reach for them twice while experiencing burst cysts that I ultimately decided not to go to the hospital for.
Thats not a decision I would ever recommend anyone else make. In my case, I felt like I knew my body well enough to make that call. I just wasnt up for the torture I knew an ER visit would be.
Its been nearly a decade since Ive needed anything that strong. Excision surgery with one of the top endometriosis experts in the country literally gave me my life back. As a result, I stopped having to make those uncomfortable trips to the hospital.
A few years ago, I found that bottle of pain relievers in the back of my medicine cabinet. It still had three pills in it, long since expired.
I pushed them into a glass jar Id filled with bacon grease, screwed the lid on, and threw it all away.
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Ask For A Female Doctor
I dont want to disparage male doctors. My amazing endometriosis surgeon is male, and hes one of the most knowledgeable experts on endometriosis that Ive ever met.
But in my experience, his compassion toward women struggling with this disease is unique. And all of my most traumatic hospital visits involved a male doctor who didnt believe I was in as much pain as I said I was.
Ive had bad experiences with female doctors as well, but in general, Ive found them to be a better bet than men in these situations.
This isnt foolproof, of course. Most hospitals have spent decades trying to cut down on prescribing patients with unnecessary pain medications, and for good reason: The opioid crisis in this country is very real.
But so is endometriosis pain. There have been times when prescription pain relievers are the only way to get through the pain Ive experienced.
What About Chronic Pain
Acute pain can become chronic pain if left untreated or undertreated. According to a study in Pain Research and Management, the emergency department is not considered an appropriate setting for chronic pain treatment, and many emergency room visits for chronic conditions can be prevented with early intervention and management.
The study stated that the most common reason patients visited the ER was an inability to cope with their pain, and that many patients were interested in other methods to manage their pain. The researchers concluded that it would be beneficial to explore options such as referring patients to a pain clinic or having a health professional better explain the pain condition.
Although pain is one of the most common reasons patients go to the ER, it may not always be the right place to seek care. If you are having a true medical emergency, call 911 or go to straight to an emergency room to get the care you need. But if your condition is not life-threatening, try an urgent care facility first for quicker care.
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What If I Dont Want Surgery For My Back Pain
Fortunately, most people with back pain dont need surgery. We usually take a conservative approach first, using a wide variety of nonsurgical spine treatments, said Dr. Guo. For example, I might send you to physical therapy or chiropractic therapy. I might recommend medications such as anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, or some nerve-pain medications. We offer injection therapy, including epidural injections, joint injections, and nerve blocks and ablation if your back pain fails to improve with the conservative treatments. Chances are, one of these approaches will help reduce your back pain and improve your function and quality of life.
Sudden Onset And Wont Go Away
Again, some people have experienced minor back pain for years. But sometimes it can appear suddenly and rapidly. This is often a bad sign, especially if a couple of days pass and the pain is not any better.Lets say you are at the gym doing some squats, and pull a muscle, or you hurt your back doing yard work. These things can cause your back to hurt a lot even though your back was fine before that incident.If the pain persists for more than a day without showing signs of improving, then come to Emerald Coast Urgent Care.
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First A Review Of Spine
Because back and neck pain are so common, you may downplay your symptoms. But if you develop any of the following emergency signs, you should see a doctorimmediately:
- Loss of bowel and/or bladder function
- Worsening or disabling spine pain, such as in the neck, mid back, low back
- Arm and/or leg weakness, pain, numbness, or tingling
- Saddle anesthesia
- Difficulty with balance or walking
- Difficulty controlling hands for fine motor control
Its also important to see a doctor if youve sustained a head or other bodily injury, such as may result from a car crash or sports accident. Even if you think your injury is minor and/or didnt involve your spine, a doctors evaluation can determine if youve sustained a spinal injury.
The Two Types Of Back Pain
But while back pain is very real and can be quite debilitating, the good news is that most cases of back pain are mechanical or non-organicmeaning they are not caused by serious conditions but rather things like a sports injury or bad posture. However, there are times when back pain can indicate an underlying issue that needs immediate attention, says Neel Anand, MD, professor of orthopaedic surgery and director of spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles. Its important to know the difference between I overdid it at the gym pain and bad pain, he says. Back pain that doesnt go away or start to feel better after a few days, intensifies, or is excruciating is always a bad sign and needs to be taken seriously. Call your doctor right away.
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Come To The Emergency Center If You Have Severe Back Pain
There is a tendency for people to tolerate their back pain because they may not understand the potential for real problems that can come from it. While back pain can be temporary and mild, it is always a good idea to pay attention to the signs of something more. Remember, if the pain is unbearable, there is a reason for it, and the best thing to do is make an emergency visit to avoid further complications.
If you have back pain symptoms that appear to be an emergency, do not hesitate to come to The Emergency Center right away. The Emergency Center provides up to 23 hours of Observation and offers 24/7 care with NO WAITING. Visit our freestanding emergency room in San Antonio, to get the care you need, or call us at 210-485-3644 for more information.
Study Selection And Data Collection
Two independent reviewers screened the titles and abstracts from the electronic database searches for studies meeting our selection criteria. In the case of disagreement, resolution was achieved by discussion with a third reviewer. The primary author screened the titles from the grey literature searches, reference lists , results of the scoping review , and citation searches. Full articles were obtained for potentially relevant studies, or where relevance was unclear two authors independently assessed the full text to determine eligibility prior to data extraction.
Two independent reviewers performed data extraction. In the case of disagreement, resolution was achieved by including a third reviewer. We used a data extraction form , to record information about the methods and results of each included study, including study objectives, location and type of emergency setting, study period, sample size, the definition of low back pain used by the study authors to calculate prevalence, population characteristics including age and sex, and the prevalence estimate. In studies using the same datasets, we extracted the prevalence data of the study that was conducted over the longest period of time and rated as having the lowest risk of bias. Finally, one reviewer collected information from an independent Google search to characterize each studys country-level healthcare system funding system.
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Youve Got A Cut And Are Bleeding Like Crazy
Think about: Needing stitches. One minute youre cutting up tomatoes for a salad, and the next minute your kitchen looks like a crime scene. Even small cuts can produce what appears to be a lot of blood. Its hard for someone whos not a doctor to know which wounds need stitches and which dont, but the majority will heal without treatment, says Sean McGann, MD, an emergency medicine physician at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. That said, an especially deep cut could result in damaged nerves or tendons, and, of course, heavy bleeding that wont stop is always an emergency. Stitches will also minimize scarring, and ER staff can clean out the wound to prevent infection and give you a tetanus shot if you havent had one in the past five years.
What to do: Put direct pressure on the wound for at least 10 minutes . Head to the ER if bleeding doesnt stop blood is spurting out the cut reaches the bone, muscle, or fat or you dont have normal movement or sensation beyond the wound. Youll also need medical attention if the cut stops bleeding but the edges are jagged or gaping, its on your face, or you cant get it clean. If you have a clean wound thats stopped bleeding but still arent sure whether you need stitches, go to urgent care to save on waiting time. Or call your doc: You may be able to text a pic so he can make the call, says Dr. McGann.
Youre Also Having Pain While Peeing
Intensesome call it screamingback pain is a telltale sign of a kidney stone trying to make its way through your ureter, says Dr. Ramin. If your back pain occurs in spasms and/or you feel pain when trying to urinate or notice blood in your urine, you may need to head to the ER to be diagnosed and treated, he says. Youll likely be given painkillers and an IV to help flush out the stone.
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