What Can Cause Lower Back Pain
Most acute low back pain is mechanical in nature, meaning that there is a disruption in the way the components of the back fit together and move. Some examples of mechanical causes of low back pain include:
- Skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis , lordosis , kyphosis , and other congenital anomalies of the spine.
- Spina bifida which involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord and/or its protective covering and can cause problems involving malformation of vertebrae and abnormal sensations and even paralysis.
- Sprains , strains , and spasms
- Traumatic Injury such as from playing sports, car accidents, or a fall that can injure tendons, ligaments, or muscle causing the pain, as well as compress the spine and cause discs to rupture or herniate.
- Intervertebral disc degeneration which occurs when the usually rubbery discs wear down as a normal process of aging and lose their cushioning ability.
- Spondylosis the general degeneration of the spine associated with normal wear and tear that occurs in the joints, discs, and bones of the spine as people get older.
- Arthritis or other inflammatory disease in the spine, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebrae.
Nerve and spinal cord problems
Ways To Tell That It Is Time To See A Chiropractor
If you are dealing with Back Pain, you may think that it is not serious enough to see a chiropractor about it.
However, it could be.
It is important to seek medical attention as soon as you can in order to prevent permanent pain or damage to your body.
In this blog, we highlight 12 signs of back pain that tell you it is time to visit your local back pain doctor.
There are many sources of pain and dysfunction in the back, and if one of the muscles or joints is injured or inflamed, it can create pain that may be difficult to treat.
The spine is made up of 24 bones that are connected to muscles and ligaments that create the spinal column. This gives the body its form, function, and also holds and protects the spinal cord.
If the spine becomes injured, it can cause chronic back pain.
Some symptoms of back pain will scream at you to see a Chiropractor for treatment.
If you are ever in doubt about the severity and symptoms of pain that you are experiencing, it is always important to see a Chiropractor immediately for a proper diagnosis and treatment options.
Below, we highlight twelve signs that signal an immediate visit to the chiropractor’s office.
Concerned About Your Back Pain Symptoms We Can Help
Most back pain goes away on its own. But if your back pain has been lingering for more than two weeks without improvement, its been coming and going for some time, or if youre experiencing any alarming symptoms, dont delay the care you need. After all, its much easier to take care of yourself when you can move without pain.
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Two Severe Back Pain Symptoms You Should Get Er Treatment For
Number two, are you having symptoms like, losing control of your bladder or your bowels? Maybe you didn’t have a direct injury to the back, maybe you’re just having pain in your lower back and you cannot get to the bathroom quickly enough, you just can’t hold it, you’re urinating on yourself or you try to go to the bathroom and you really can’t urinate. That is something that also you need to go to the ER for.
So that’s second thing, the first thing’s probably kind of obvious, you figure, “Okay, if I’ve been injured, let’s say I fell or something hit me on the back, I’m having pain right on my spine, probably need to get some X-rays or a CT scan,” but the second thing it’s kind of an unusual thing but something I always think about, It’s a term, it’s something medical condition called cauda equina, and what that means is cauda equina’s Latin for the horse’s tail.
In my mind, that really raises concern for that, and the way I diagnose that is an MRI. And that’s something you would need in the ER. So those are the two things that would say go to the ER for.
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.
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How Long Will You Sit In The Waiting Room
The length of the average ED visit for back pain is around 5 hours. Depending on the other cases that come in that day, you may sit for three hours without being seen by a medical provider.
For someone with back pain, sitting for that amount of time feels uncomfortable, worrying and frustrating.
We know pain is increased by fear, worry and uncertainty. If you suspect something bad is going on and no one can reassure you otherwise, it is very hard to relax and move normally. This guarding and compensation is very normal to see in people with back pain, and unfortunately it can cause your pain to feel worse.
Er Average Wait Times
ER wait times are approximate and provided for informational purposes only. If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
The ER wait time represents the time it takes to see a qualified medical professional, defined as a Doctor of Medicine , Doctor of Osteopathy , Physician Assistant or Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner .
ER wait times represent a four-hour rolling average updated every 30 minutes, and is defined as the time of patient arrival until the time the patient is greeted by a qualified medical professional. Patients are triaged at arrival and are then seen by a qualified medical professional in priority order based on their presenting complaint and reason for visit.
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Common Treatments For Low Back Pain
Combining information from the patients medical history, physical exam, and possible diagnostic tests, the healthcare provider will recommend a course of back care that fits the patients needs.
Non-surgical treatments for low back pain will be recommended first. Common non-surgical treatments include:
- Physical therapy, which typically works to strengthen muscles and mobilize joints in order to better support the spine and minimize painful movements.
How Often Do I Need To See A Chiropractor
At first, I might see a patient once or twice a week. If the condition is acute, I might see the patient every day to begin. As they improve, I recommend fewer visits and start giving the patient more things to do on their own at home. I want my patients to be as independent as possible. There are patients who have chronic problems and need to come back and see me once in a while. But the great majority of patients have issues that are resolvable, and I may never need to see them again after their condition has improved.
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You’ve Been In Pain For Over A Week
Most back pain will subside after a few days, but if you’ve been experiencing pain for over a week, then it’s time to call a doctor. Your doctor will perform any examinations or tests required to help get to the bottom of your pain before it could become a bigger problem. As is the case with many health conditions, prevention and addressing problems early is key.
Waiting For A Doctors Appointment Later In The Week
If back pain is tolerable and does not cause alarming symptoms or signs, it may be safe to wait for a doctors appointment later in the week or by the following week. It is important not to ignore a back problem evaluating and treating back pain at the earliest can help prevent the problem from becoming chronic. Chronic back conditions can be more challenging to treat.
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Straight Leg Raise Test
The straight leg raise test determines the source of your pain. The test stretches the sciatic nerve and, if its compressed, the symptoms will occur.
- Lie flat on your back with your legs extended.
- Flex your foot and lift your leg 30 to 70 degrees upwards, keeping your leg straight.
- Repeat with the other leg.
If you experience pain down your leg to your foot or are unable to lift your affected leg as much as the other, this is a positive sciatica test result. If no pain occurs, the test is considered negative and any pain youre experiencing may be due to other spinal conditions.
Abdominal Pain With Acute Back Pain
Lets say you have a sudden onset of acute back pain but you havent done anything strenuous lately. If its coupled with abdominal pain as well, you need to go to urgent care for back pain.
The reason these two symptoms together are so alarming is that they could be symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm.
Your aorta is the main artery of the body. It runs from your heart through your abdomen. When it ruptures, youll feel as if you have an intense stomach ache.
A ruptured aorta is life-threatening. Dont waste time asking should I go to urgent care for back pain?, just go to a walk-in clinic.
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Symptoms Of Back Pain
Symptom-wise, acute pain and chronic pain can be very similar. Back pain symptoms can include:
- Shooting, burning or aching pain that doesnt go away or returns after using home remedies like icing or over-the-counter medications, or massage or physical therapies
- Regular tightness or stiffness, especially after laying, sitting or standing for long periods
- Trouble sleeping
- Lower extremity weakness
So, how do you tell the difference between acute and chronic back pain?
It can be hard to tell the difference between acute back pain and chronic back pain, but timeframe is the biggest indicator.
The most common symptom of acute back pain is a shooting, burning or aching pain that comes on suddenly. With a little time and at-home remedies such as over-the-counter pain relief medications, cold and heat therapy, acute pain can start going away quickly as soon as two weeks.
But with chronic back pain, your symptoms can come on quickly or build over time, but they last for more than six weeks or are recurrent.
Living Well With Sciatica
Many people find that having sciatica is a pain in the butt literally and figuratively. It can stop you from doing everything you want to do, and that often limits activity and can lead to being more sedentarya ripple effect that can have negative impacts on all aspects of your health. If youre experiencing even minor symptoms, get checked by your doctor, suggests Dr. Abitbol.
The longer it goes on, the more difficult it is to treat, so there is no point in waiting to see if it gets better even though your symptoms are worsening, he says, adding that if youve gone for six months or longer, and your symptoms are getting worse, even surgery may not be as gratifying as it could have been at an earlier point. Dr. Abitbol suggests that to prevent issues related to prolonged compression, address the problem as soon as you can.
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Most Common Causes Of Tailbone Injury
The most common ways people injure their coccyx include:
- Falling in a seated position with majority of impact on tailbone.
- Getting hit in the tailbone area, such as during a contact sport
- Childbirth can cause injury or fracture of the coccyx.
- Less common causes include bone spurs, injuries to other parts of the spine, nerve root compression, local infections, or tumors.
- Sometimes the cause of coccyx pain remains undetermined, but most of the time you can pinpoint exactly when the injury occurred.
How Is Low Back Pain Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask questions about your past health, symptoms, and activities. He or she will also do a physical examination. Your answers and the examination can help rule out a serious cause for the pain. In most cases, doctors are able to recommend treatment after the first examination.
But if you have a back pain problem that has lasted longer than 6 weeks, or if your doctor thinks you may have more than muscle pain, it might be time for one of these tests.
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Sciatica Treatment At Home
Many cases of sciatica will resolve in a few days. If you experience sciatica symptoms, you can:
Rest: Decreasing your activity can help minimize additional irritation of the sciatic nerve and give the area time to heal. Bedrest, however, is not recommended. Its best to get up and move around gently. Avoid any movements that lead to increased pain.
Stretch: Stretching exercises of the low back can help relieve nerve compression. Avoid twisting the back. Aim for slow, gradual stretches.
Use cold packs: Applying an ice pack to the irritated area can provide some relief. You can ice the area for 20 minutes at a time, a few times per day. Cold therapy is most helpful soon after symptoms begin.
Apply heat: If your symptoms have persisted for more than two or three days, try heat instead of cold. Use a heating pad or hot packs.
Take anti-inflammatory medication: Ibuprofen and naproxen are over-the-counter medicines that relieve pain and decrease inflammation.
When To Visit The Er For Back Pain
- When to Visit the ER for Back Pain
While many people tolerate occasional aches and pains in their back, severe back pain may indicate a larger problem. But how do you know if your back pain, or that of a loved one, has reached the point that it requires an emergency department visit?
If at any point you feel that your condition is serious enough that it can’t wait for a visit with your primary care physician, you should visit the emergency department. However, if you’re not sure whether your back pain requires emergency care, consider these guidelines.
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Tingling Numbness Or Weakness In Your Arms Or Legs
If you notice tingling or numbness that doesnt go away, these symptoms along with weakness in your arms or legs could point to nerve irritation or damage in your spine. Herniated discs and spinal stenosis can put undue pressure on your spinal nerves causing a pins-and-needles sensation. When left untreated, these conditions can lead to prolonged or permanent disabilities. Tell your doctor right away if you notice any of these symptoms.
When To See A Doctor For Back Pain
is one of the most common medical conditions more than eight in 10 of us will experience it during our lifetime. There are many reasons why your back may hurtfrom a to more serious . The type of discomfort ranges from a dull to sharp pain. The most common type of back pain is acutewhich means it goes away within weeks. Chronic back pain lasts longer than three months. Knowing when to see a doctor for back pain is half the battle when it comes to finding relief. Many people continue to function with mild backaches and find relief with at-home care measures. But, its important to know the signs and symptoms of a more serious back problem that requires a professional medical diagnosis and treatment.
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Can Lower Back Pain Be A Sign Of Something Serious Like Cancer
Lower back pain can be related to cancer. In fact, it is one of the first symptoms of prostate cancer when it metastasizes and creates lesions. Almost any cancer can spread to the back and some, like sarcoma, can originate in the back. Be cautious, especially if you are experiencing other symptoms besides lower back pain. Talk to your doctor if you have additional symptoms or concerns.
When To Go To Urgent Care For Back Pain
Certain back pain symptoms may not require immediate attention on the same day of occurrence but may need medical assessment as early as possible. When an appointment with a primary care physician or specialist is not available within a week, visiting an urgent care facility may be recommended to evaluate these symptoms:
- A recent increase in back pain that does not subside with over-the-counter or prescription medications
- Back pain associated with nausea and/or vomiting
- Back pain that becomes severe with specific movements, such as while coughing, bending forward or backward, or during twisting movements
- Back pain that travels down the hip and/or leg
- Recent onset of back stiffness
While an urgent care facility may not be equipped for a complete evaluation and diagnosis, the physician can help identify any hidden red-flag symptoms. An urgent-care physician can also prescribe medication to help control the symptoms in the short-term and offer referrals/guidance for further evaluation or treatment.
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