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 TRIA Neck and Back Strengthening Program, formerly known as the Physicians Neck and Back Center spinal strengthening program can help.
Anxiety Can Cause Neuropathy
Anxiety and stress do affect the body in many different ways. A few of the most obvious symptoms of stress include numbness, burning, tingling, and pain or discomfort when moving. These symptoms are very similar to what you might feel with neuropathy. Thats why its very easy to think you have neuropathy when you actually dont. If you assume thats what youre dealing with and never confirm it with your doctor, you wont be able to address the actual problem .
Being Too Aware Of Your Body Can Actually Cause Problems
When youre dealing with anxiety and believe you may have peripheral neuropathy, you may be more aware of your body. Youre always checking for signs of neuropathy, and every odd muscle twinge or odd sensation is noticeable. This over-awareness can actually make it more difficult to move naturally. Youre always taking stock of your body, so you notice more oddities. You also pay more attention to things youd normally do without thinking, such as walking or reaching out for something. This can make those movements more difficult or more awkward. This, in turn, spikes your anxiety because the movement feels off. The worse your anxiety gets, the more youll experience symptoms similar to neuropathy.
Read Also: Is Tempurpedic Good For Back Pain
Diagnosing Cancer And Back Pain
A doctor will consider your symptoms and medical history when diagnosing potential lower back pain causes. Its important to include if you have a history of cancer or a family history of cancer.
Because cancer is a rare cause of lower back pain in those who dont already have cancer, a doctor may recommend other treatments before doing a full cancer work-up.
However, if pain persists after physical therapy or anti-inflammatory medications, a doctor may order imaging studies and blood testing. These tests can help identify if there are potential cancer markers that are causing the lower back pain.
Sensations That Might Indicate A Medical Emergency
1. Sharp pain rather than a dull ache: This could indicate a torn muscle or ligament, or a problem with an internal organ in the back or side.2. Radiating pain: This pain moves or shoots to the glutes or legs, which could indicate a nerve compression condition.
3. Sudden weakness in the legs: Limb weakness can be caused by compressed nerves in the spine due to conditions like sciatica or spinal stenosis. However, sudden leg weakness could also indicate a stroke.4. Incontinence: Back pain paired with inability to control the bowels or bladder might be a sign of serious nerve compression or a spine infection, such as discitis or meningitis.5. Numbness or pins and needles in the groin or glutes: This is known as saddle anesthesia and is also a sign of a serious nerve or spine condition.
If you have leg weakness, incontinence, and numbness together, you might have cauda equina syndrome, a serious illness characterized by spinal cord nerve damage. This is a medical emergency, and patients usually need surgery immediately to decompress the nerves and reduce permanent damage.
Also Check: What To Do For Back Pain During Pregnancy
Don’t Miss: Will Physical Therapy Help Back Pain
Lower Back Pain Right Side Above The Buttockscauses
When you feel pain in your back, its always best to see a doctor. Your symptoms might be due specifically or not just localized around one area of the spine and could indicate an issue with any number of other structures throughout our bodies. Here are some common causes
Strain & Sprain
When you lift something heavy or twist, it is common for your back muscles to get stretched. This can cause swelling and difficulty moving in the affected area of muscle tissue because theres been some tearing/stretching involved with this type of injury thus creating an old term known as back spasms.
There are many ways to avoid strain
- When lifting heavy objects and improper technique can lead you into trouble fast.
- Dont twist, jerk, or awkward bend the body position as this will increase your risk for muscle strain.
- Before each workout session begins, make light weightlifting movements such as squatting low bar squatting with an empty barbell on the floor.
The best way to treat a mild sprain or strain is with rest, ice packs, and OTC pain relievers.
This problem can also be treated with gentle massage, physical therapy, stretching exercise, electrical muscle stimulation, and surgery.
For more severe injuries, it may be necessary for you to visit your doctor, who will prescribe muscle relaxants if needed.
Kidney Infection & Stones
Chronic Low Back Pain Of No Specific Origin
Low back pain is defined as pain, tightness, and stiffness between the lower end of the rib cage and the buttocks. “Chronic” means the pain has lasted for twelve weeks or longer, and “no specific origin” means the pain cannot be traced to any specific cause, incident, or injury.
Most susceptible are individuals who perform heavy physical work, especially when there is ongoing anxiety, depression, and emotional stress at the same time. The longer the stress and back pain continue, the more difficult it is to ease the symptoms and return the patient to normal functioning.
Treatment involves nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and sometimes opioid medications for pain, though both have risks when used long term. Antidepressants may also be tried, along with psychological counseling.
Corticosteroid injections for the back are effective for some patients, and fusion surgery is sometimes attempted. Lifestyle changes in the form of improved diet, exercise, and stress management are very helpful in most cases.
Top Symptoms: lower back pain, unintentional weight loss, back pain that shoots to the butt, fever, involuntary defecation
Symptoms that always occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin: lower back pain
Symptoms that never occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin: thigh numbness, buttocks numbness, lower back pain from an injury
Urgency: Primary care doctor
Recommended Reading: Does Sciatica Cause Lower Back Pain
Muscle Strain Or Sprain
Some of the most common causes of lower back pain on the right side are muscle strains or sprains.
Muscle strains are caused by strenuous activities like lifting something heavy, twisting too hard, or participating in high-impact activities like sports.
These injuries can happen from something as simple as throwing out your back during heavy liftinglike moving boxesor from an incident as severe as a car accident.
Acute low back pain from muscle strain typically starts suddenly and can be accompanied by inflammation, redness, swelling, soreness, or bruising.
The severity of your strain determines how long it takes for your symptoms to subside, which can range from a few days to weeks.
You can generally treat a muscle strain at home with rest, ice, warmth, and over-the-counter treatments.
Ready To Address Your Back Pain
The University of Maryland Spine Network can help you put your pain behind you. With convenient locations throughout the state, the UM Spine Network is home to the region’s leading spine surgeons and specialists that can help you identify the source of your pain and put an end to it for good.
Put an end to your back pain. Find a spine specialist near you.
In This Section:
Don’t Miss: How To Relieve Pain Lower Back
Is The Weight Of Pregnancy The Reason Why So Many Pregnant Women Get Sciatica
Its true that sciatica is common in pregnancy but increased weight is not the main reason why pregnant women get sciatica. A better explanation is that certain hormones of pregnancy cause a loosening of their ligaments. Ligaments hold the vertebrae together, protect the disks and keep the spine stable. Loosened ligaments can cause the spine to become unstable and might cause disks to slip, which leads to nerves being pinched and the development of sciatica. The babys weight and position can also add pressure to the nerve.
The good news is there are ways to ease sciatic pain during pregnancy, and the pain goes away after birth. Physical therapy and massage therapy, warm showers, heat, medications and other measures can help. If you are pregnant, be sure to follow good posture techniques during pregnancy to also ease your pain.
Dont Miss: Can Stress Cause Your Sugar To Go Up
What Are The Symptoms Of Lower Back Pain
Symptoms of lower back pain can come on suddenly or appear gradually. Sometimes, pain occurs after a specific event, such as bending to pick something up. Other times, you may not know what caused the pain.
Pain may be sharp or dull and achy, and it may radiate to your bottom or down the back of your legs . If you strain your back during an activity, you may hear a pop when it happened. Pain is often worse in certain positions and gets better when you lie down.
Other symptoms of lower back pain include:
- Stiffness: It may be tough to move or straighten your back. Getting up from a seated position may take a while, and you might feel like you need to walk or stretch to loosen up. You may notice decreased range of motion.
- Posture problems: Many people with back pain find it hard to stand up straight. You may stand crooked or bent, with your torso off to the side rather than aligned with your spine. Your lower back may look flat instead of curved.
- Muscle spasms: After a strain, muscles in the lower back can spasm or contract uncontrollably. Muscle spasms can cause extreme pain and make it difficult or impossible to stand, walk or move.
Read Also: Can Running Cause Back Pain
How Is Low Back Pain Treated
Treatment may include:
- A prevention program
- Assistive devices
Rehabilitation is often a part of treatment for low back pain. Generally, there are 3 phases of low back pain rehab.
- Acute phase. During this initial phase, the physiatrist and treatment team develop a plan to reduce the initial low back pain and source of inflammation. This may include using ultrasound, electrical stimulation, or specialized injections.
- Recovery phase. Once the initial pain and inflammation are better managed, the rehab team focuses on helping you return to normal daily activities while starting a specialized exercise program to regain flexibility and strength.
- Maintenance phase. In this phase, you will learn ways to prevent further injury and strain to the back. You will also learn how to start a fitness program to help further increase strength and endurance.
When Should I Contact My Healthcare Provider
See your healthcare provider soon if your lower right back pain is severe, constant or getting worse. You should see a provider quicker if you have lower right back pain plus:
- Urine that is bloody or cloudy, if it smells bad or if peeing is painful.
- You find blood or pus in your poop.
- Pain during or after sex.
Read Also: Who Do I See For Lower Back Pain
Lower Back Pain Diagnosis
To help diagnose your lower back pain, an expert at UPMC Sports Medicine will observe the way you walk and move.
He or she will also ask you about the sports you play and other things you do each day that might cause your back pain.
Along with an exam, certain tests can pinpoint the cause of lower back pain.
Some tests look for issues with hard structures, like your spine or bones.
These may include:
- Bone scans to look for breaks, infection, or tumors in the backbones.
- Bone density studies to help diagnose osteoporosis.
Other tests look for problems in soft structures, like the nerves and spinal cord
These tests may include:
- MRI scans to take pictures of the lower back nerves or spinal cord.
- Electromyography and nerve conduction velocity tests to see how well the electrical signals in your nerves send messages to your arms and legs.
Can Lower Back Pain Be Related To Weather
If you feel like your lower back pain worsens on days when its cold or the weather is changing, you are not imagining things. Back pain can indeed be related to barometric pressure and outdoor temperature. Changes in pressure can sometimes cause pain in arthritic joints, including the spine. Muscles and joints in general react to the environment, which can make them stiffer and more likely to suffer an injury.
Recommended Reading: Why Do I Wake Up With Back Pain
Lower Back And Stomach Pain: Possible Causes And Treatments
Lower back and stomach pain is an unpleasant and worrying experience for any person. Because there are a number of organs in the abdominal and lower back area, there are many different reasons for having pain there. Pain in the stomach and lower back can be caused by constipation, stones in the kidney or gallbladder, or a cyst. However, sometimes the pain could be a sign of a more serious condition like appendicitis or even a heart attack.
Lower back and abdominal pain should never be ignored. Some home remedies can help you find relief from some of the symptoms of lower abdomen and back pain. However, if your symptoms last for more than a few days, or you experience intense or severe pain in your stomach and back, you should visit your doctor for a checkup. This is especially true if the pain is accompanied by nausea, vomiting, severe cramps, or pains in your chest.
Lets look at the different reasons why you can experience lower back and stomach pain. This will help you find the root cause of your pain and discomfort and discover if there are any natural home remedies to give you relief.
What Is Cauda Equina Syndrome
Cauda equina syndrome is a rare condition but has serious consequences if not treated promptly. It is most often caused by a large disc herniation in the lower back that compresses the nerve roots at the end of the spinal cord . These nerve roots are bundled together and resemble the tail of a horse. This is how they get their name. Cauda equina means âhorseâs tailâ in Latin.
Unlike most back problems that are longstanding or chronic, cauda equina is an acute event, like a stroke or heart attack. It most often develops rapidly, within as few as 6 to 10 hours. Classic symptoms of back pain, coupled with a sudden onset of numbness in the genital area and sudden urinary retention, are signs of a medical emergency. Relieving compression quickly can determine whether one resumes a normal life or lives with incontinence and paralysis of the legs.
Less often, in people with recurrent back problems, cauda equina can come on gradually, with a slow progression of urinary symptoms. Because cauda equina syndrome is a disorder of the nerves that control the bladder, its symptoms can be similar to those caused by bladder or prostate problems.
Read Also: Everything To Know About Prostate Cancer
You May Like: Which Mattress Best For Lower Back Pain
Constipation Back Pain Right Side
If youre experiencing back pain on the right side, it could be caused by constipation. When waste builds up in your intestines and colon, it can put pressure on your back and cause pain. Constipation can also cause bloating and gas, which can add to the discomfort. If youre having trouble going to the bathroom or passing stool, talk to your doctor. They can prescribe laxatives or stool softeners to help relieve the constipation and ease your back pain.
Treating Sciatica Pain And Managing Expectations
Many people think that the worse the pain, the more likely something bad is going on. However, this isnt true for sciatica. The body can reabsorb the disc material that is causing symptoms, even for those with severe pain. So, treatment focuses on controlling pain and keeping people as active as possible. If the pain is excruciating, lying down for short periods can help, but prolonged bed rest does not. So, once the pain diminishes, I tell patients to get up and start walking short distances. Since sitting increases pressure on the discs in the lower back, I recommend avoiding prolonged sitting or driving. Many people try treatments like physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic manipulation, but evidence suggests that while these approaches may help typical low back pain, they are less helpful for sciatica. Over-the-counter pain medicines like ibuprofen and naproxen can help. When they dont, I may recommend short-term use of stronger, prescription pain medicines.
Patients often ask about spinal injections where steroid medicine is injected into the affected area. It is worth considering for those with uncontrolled pain or for those with persistent, bothersome symptoms who want to avoid surgery. Injections can provide short-term relief. Like any procedure, it has uncommon risks including more pain, and it doesnt seem to decrease the need for future surgery.
Read Also: How To Relieve Stress From Anxiety
You May Like: What Can Cause Excruciating Lower Back Pain