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What Can Lower Back Pain Mean

Who Should I See For Lower Back Pain

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Your primary care physician knows you best and should be your first contact for lower back pain. If he or she is unable to diagnose or treat the issue, you may get referred to a specialist, such as a rehabilitation physician . These specialists practice a comprehensive approach to lower back pain, and can diagnose and treat a variety of conditions that have lower back pain as a symptom.

Later, you may get referred to a physical therapist, a chiropractor or another practitioner depending on the nature of your back pain. The good news is that surgery is rarely needed for lower back pain. Only about one in ten patients needs lower back surgery, Chhatre says.

Can A Person Prevent Labor Back Pain

In most cases, back pain during pregnancy and labor is unavoidable. However, a person can take steps to try to lessen the discomfort.

Some methods that could reduce back pain during labor include leaning over sturdy objects while standing and avoiding crossed legs while sitting.

A person should talk with their obstetric care provider if they have any questions or concerns about their pregnancy, no matter what stage of pregnancy they have reached.

Attending prenatal appointments and regular checkups will help ensure that the pregnancy is progressing healthily.

If a person experiences unexpected bleeding, severe pain, or other symptoms that may indicate a medical emergency, they should go to the emergency room.

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.

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Causes Of Low Back Pain

There is no one cause of low back pain, but various things can contribute. These are called contributory factors. The factors are unique to you and your situation.

Each of the factors is biological, psychological or social, or sometimes a mixture. They can all affect your pain.

Poor fitness and low levels of physical activity are associated with low back pain. Regular physical activity and better cardiovascular fitness are important for your general health. They help you to do daily tasks and leisure activities.

This is a biological factor.

Having less muscle strength can make daily tasks harder and contribute to low back pain. It is important to improve your muscle strength in your whole body. There is no one type of exercise that is better than another. The strength that you need depends on what you want to do.

This is a biological factor.

Everyone is built differently and there is no ideal amount of flexibility. It is important to build up enough mobility and flexibility to manage your daily routine.

This is a biological factor.

Sleep is an important part of feeling well and happy. Not having good sleep, or having disturbed sleep, can mean you do not get the rest you need. This can make it more difficult to manage your pain.

This is a biological, psychological and social factor.

There is a relationship between health conditions and low back pain. Improving your overall health and how you manage other health conditions can have a positive impact on your back pain.

Other Types Of Diagnosis

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  • A chiropractor will diagnose through touch, or palpation, and a visual examination. Chiropractic is known as a direct approach, with a strong focus on adjusting the spinal joints. A chiropractor may also want to see the results of imaging scans and any blood and urine tests.
  • An osteopath also diagnoses through palpation and visual inspection. Osteopathy involves slow and rhythmic stretching, known as mobilization, pressure or indirect techniques, and manipulation of joints and muscles.
  • A physical therapist focuses on diagnosing problems in the joints and soft tissues of the body.

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Exercise To Get Muscles Moving

It can be challenging to get up and move when back pain strikes. However, a short walk, yoga, water exercise, or another low-impact activity can often help alleviate back pain.

Exercise may loosen tense muscles and release endorphins, which are the brains natural painkillers.

A person can also consider starting a daily exercise program, including strength training and stretching, to help keep muscles flexible and strong.

Regular exercise may prevent future episodes of back pain that are due to tight muscles.

When Should I See A Doctor If I Have Lower Back Pain

In many cases lower back pain stops on its own. But if it doesnt, here are some guidelines on when you may want to start seeking professional help:

  • If the pain lasts four weeks or longer
  • If the pain keeps getting worse as time goes by
  • If you are experiencing other symptoms, such as fever, major weight loss or weight gain, loss of function or weakness in extremities, bladder problems, etc.

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You Have Unexplained Weight Loss

If you experience sudden weight loss that canât be explained by diet and lifestyle changes, then you should always pay attention to what your body is telling you. This is especially true when the unexplained weight loss is accompanied by back pain. See your doctor to rule out the possibility of a more severe condition, such as an infection or tumor.

How Is Back Pain Treated

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Acute back pain usually gets better on its own. Acute back pain is usually treated with:

  • Medications designed to relieve pain and/or inflammation
  • analgesics such as acetaminophen and aspirin
  • non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen may be sold over the counter some NSAIDS are prescribed by a physician
  • muscle relaxants are prescription drugs that are used on a short-term basis to relax tight muscles
  • topical pain relief such as creams, gels, patches, or sprays applied to the skin stimulate the nerves in the skin to provide feelings of warmth or cold in order to dull the sensation of pain. Common topical medications include capsaicin and lidocaine.
  • Heat and/or ice may help ease pain, reduce inflammation, and improve mobility for some people
  • Gentle stretching upon advice by your healthcare professional
  • Exercising, bed rest, and surgery are typically not recommended for acute back pain.Chronic back pain is most often treated with a stepped care approach, moving from simple low-cost treatments to more aggressive approaches. Specific treatments may depend on the identified cause of the back pain.

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    How Your Back Works

    The spine, which is also called the backbone or spinal column, is one of the strongest parts of the body and gives us a great deal of flexibility and strength.

    Its made up of 24 bones, known as vertebrae, one sitting on top of the other. These bones have discs in between and lots of strong ligaments and muscles around them for support. There are also the bones in the tailbone at the bottom of the back, which are fused together and have no discs in between.

    On either side of the spine, running from top to bottom, are many small joints called the facet joints.

    The spinal cord passes inside the vertebrae, which protect it.

    The spinal cord connects to the brain through the base of the skull and to the rest of the body by nerves that pass through spaces between the bones of the spine. These nerves are also known as nerve roots.

    As you grow older, the structures of your spine, such as the joints, discs and ligaments, age as well. The structures remain strong but its usual for your back to get stiffer as you get older.

    Treatment Options For Lower Back Pain

    If you see a physiotherapist or GP for lower back pain, they will probably encourage you to try the self-help measures outlined above first. They can also advise you on what exercises you can do to help your back, or may refer you to a group exercise programme. But if your pain doesnt improve, they may be able to recommend other options you can try. They can also refer you to a specialist if necessary.

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    Why Do I Have Cramps But No Period

    Pelvic pain similar to a menstrual period can happen at times when no period is due or can occur because of conditions other than the monthly cycle. Sometimes it is hard to tell the exact reason for cramps that feel like a menstrual period.

    The following diseases and conditions are examples of situations that can cause pain or cramps when not on your period.

    What Is Lower Back Pain

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    Low back pain can result from many different injuries, conditions or diseases most often, an injury to muscles or tendons in the back.

    Pain can range from mild to severe. In some cases, pain can make it difficult or impossible to walk, sleep, work or do everyday activities.

    Usually, lower back pain gets better with rest, pain relievers and physical therapy . Cortisone injections and hands-on treatments can relieve pain and help the healing process. Some back injuries and conditions require surgical repair.

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    Prevention Of Lower Back Pain

    Looking after your back can help to reduce your risk of getting back pain. It can help to do the following.

    • Get plenty of exercise. Keeping active with regular exercise can help to prevent back pain coming back, or reduce your risk of getting it in the first place.
    • Take care with lifting and carrying heavy items. Dont lift or carry more than you can manage, and make sure youre using the right technique. This means slightly bending your back, knees and hips when lifting, rather than stooping from your back.
    • Keep a good posture. If you work at a desk, make sure your chair, desk and computer screen are set up correctly. Your employer should be able to assess your workstation.
    • Move regularly dont sit in the same position for long periods of time.

    You’re Running A Fever

    The flu can definitely make you run a fever and achiness, including in your back. However, if the fever is unresponsive to standard OTC medications, you could have a serious infection that needs treatment immediately. If you go to a doctor and they find an infection, they may prescribe antibiotics and a few days rest. Learn how to avoid the flu.

    Learn More:When to go to primary care, urgent care or the emergency room

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    When You Should Go To The Er For Back Pain

    If your back pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, head to your closest emergency room because you could be dealing with a more serious condition or injury:

    • Sudden spike in pain, discomfort, weakness or numbness
    • Loss of bladder function
    • Unexplainable weight loss
    • The pain results from a fall or severe blow to your back

    If you experience any of these symptoms, its a good idea to talk to your doctor so you can determine next steps for managing pain.

    What Type Of Doctor Should I See For Back Pain

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    This depends on your condition or symptoms. If you have no obvious injury that would explain your pain, you may want to start by seeing a . This is a specialist in physical medicine who can diagnose back pain and determine whether nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy may help. Depending on those findings, a physiatrist may also refer you to a , doctor or other type of back specialist, , for additional discussion.

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    Whats The Outlook For People With Back Pain And Cancer

    Less than 10 percent of spinal tumors actually start in the spine, according to the Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Even if a spinal tumor is present and causing lower back pain, the tumor isnt always cancerous.

    If the lower back pain is related to metastatic cancer, its important to talk to your doctor about your treatment outlook. When cancers start to spread, this may indicate a poorer prognosis.

    The Universal Guide To Lower Back Pain: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know Straight From The Experts

    In This Article: Lower Back Anatomy | How Long Does Lower Back Pain Usually Last? | Common Causes | Other Causes | Home Remedies | Nonsurgical Treatments | Complementary, Alternative, and Emerging Treatments | Surgery | When Is Lower Back Pain an Emergency? | Lower Back Pain Prevention |

    If youve ever had lower back pain stop you from doing what you want, youre not alone. Lower back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the world. It is a leading reason why people visit a doctor, affecting more than 80% of adults at some point in their lives. According to the Global Burden of Diseasea significant study published in the Lancet medical journallower back pain is also a leading cause of disability.

    While severe lower back pain can cause worry, pain severity is not always an indication something is seriously wrong. Photo Source: Shutterstock.

    You may not be able to prevent lower back pain, especially as you age and your back loses some strength and resilience. Fortunately, there are many ways you can get relief, no matter the cause of your back pain.

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    The Importance Of An Accurate Diagnosis

    The physician will need to take a careful medical history and do a physical exam to look for certain red flags that indicate the need for an X-ray or other imaging test. In most cases, however, imaging such as X-ray, MRI , or CT scan is unnecessary.

    There may also be certain clues in a patients medical history. Low back, nonradiating pain is commonly due to muscle strain and spasm. Pain that radiates into the buttock and down the leg may be due to , a condition in which a bulging disc presses on the sciatic nerve, which extends down the spinal column to its exit point in the pelvis and carries nerve fibers to the leg. This nerve compression causes pain in the lower back radiating through the buttocks and down one leg, which can go to below the knee, often combined with localized areas of numbness. In the most extreme cases, the patient experiences weakness in addition to numbness and pain, which suggests the need for quick evaluation.

    A persistent shooting or tingling pain may suggest lumbar disc disease. A pain that comes and goes, reaching a peak and then quieting for a minute or two, only to reach a peak again, may suggest an altogether different cause of back pain, such as a kidney stone.

    When tumor or infection are suspected, the doctor may order blood tests, including a CBC and sedimentation rate. .

    Chronic Lower Back Pain Treatment

    Low Back Pain Information Center

    Through years of experience, weâve figured out that good and long-lasting chronic lower back pain relief doesnât work unless all bases are covered.

    The best lower back pain management combines pain-reducing treatments combined with other selected therapies like physical and psychological rehabilitation treatment.

    TYPES OF TREATMENT

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    Low Back Pain Shouldnt Sideline You

    Explore the common but under treated and misunderstood issues that accompany chronic back pain in our Back Pain Series. Part 1 explains the latest treatments that could relieve that aching back.

    Many Penn State alumni fondly remember David K., now 34, as the student who crawled to class. Mired by back pain throughout his four years of college, David saw tons of doctors from top neurosurgeons to psychologists for the pain. Instead of listening to the popular college music of his day like REM, he listened to the soothing sounds of pain expert John E. Sarno, MD, on cassette tapes called Mind Over Back Pain when he drove his Mustang around the college campus.

    If you dont have chronic back pain, you cant possibly imagine what it feels like, he says. Its unbearable literally. He says that there were many times he couldnt walk and would have to crawl from his fraternity house all the way to class so he would not miss a midterm or final exam. My fraternity brothers made a lot of fun of me, he says. Still do.

    About 80% of Americans or four in five experience low back pain at some point in their lives and understand Davids plight all too well. Many people with chronic low back pain are working age and for them, back pain is the most frequent case of lost productivity. Treatment for back pain costs roughly $100 billion a year, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in Rosemont, Ill.

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    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.

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