What Kind Of Doctor Should Be Used For Treatment Of Sciatica
Sciatica features pain that runs from the lower back or buttocks down the back of the leg. Caused by compression on the sciatic nerve, which runs from the center of the lower back down the back of the leg to the calf muscle, the pain can be intense and long-lasting. Fortunately, many different kinds of doctors can treat sciatica.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Common Causes Of Back Pain
Two of the most common reasons for back pain are muscle strains or ligament sprains. Obesity and bad posture can put strain on your back and make it hurt. Arthritis and other changes in your spine as you get older can cause back pain. More serious causes of the condition include a ruptured disc or fractured vertebrae. Possible causes of back pain include:
Herniated disc, when the soft center of spinal disc slips out of place
Osteoporosis, a disease that thins and weakens bones including the vertebrae
Osteomyelitis, a bone infection
Why Go To An Orthopedic Doctor
There are a variety of medical doctors who treat specific sets of conditions. Because it is impossible for one physician to treat all types of conditions and injuries that affect the human body, doctors specialize in subfields of medicine. Through this specialization, a physician becomes an expert in a distinct subfield of medicine and can diagnose, treat, and prevent issues within that subfield. One such field is orthopedics.
An orthopedic physician is an expert on the musculoskeletal system . Because back pain is most often caused by injury or damage to one of these components in the back, orthopedic physicians are often referred to for diagnosis and treatment.
Using advanced education and training, orthopedic physicians can pinpoint the exact cause of the back pain. Back pain can be caused by a variety of reasons, including a fracture, herniated disc, muscle strain, or damage to connective tissue. Orthopedic doctors can correctly diagnose the exact cause of the back pain and recommend effective treatment for it.
Orthopedic physicians have access to state-of-the-art and advanced medical technology and treatments that are proven to be effective for musculoskeletal issues. Because of this, when a patient has back pain, orthopedic physicians can offer treatments that will give fast and effective results. Using various methods for pain reduction, which include injections, medication, and physical therapy, orthopedic physicians can offer long-term relief from back pain.
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What Causes A Pinched Nerve
According to the American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine, a pinched nerve occurs when the tissue that surrounds a nerve puts pressure on it. The pressure can change how the nerve functions and cause pain or a tingling sensation. This pain or tingling can be temporary or long-lasting, and can be minor or severe.
A pinched nerve can be caused by a herniated disc, which is when one of the discs between the spinal bones pushes out. Spinal stenosis, which is the abnormal narrowing of the body channel occupied by the spinal cord, can also cause a pinched nerve.
Do Sports Medicine Doctors Treat Back Pain
The back is one of the most common body parts where people experience chronic pain. Do you feel stiff when you get out of bed in the morning? Or, maybe you need to get off your feet during the day because your back is aching.
Back pain can be complicated to treat, mainly because various underlying causes can result in chronic pain. A general physician might prescribe pain pills, but these medications simply cover up the symptoms without treating the root problem.
If you want immediate and long-lasting back pain relief, an orthopedic doctor can be a great resource. Many of these doctors specialize in sports medicine since its common for athletes to experience back injuries.
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What Is A Pain Treatment Clinic
A pain treatment clinic, such as Pain Treatment Specialists, is exactly what it sounds like. A group of diverse medical professionals who are dedicated to relieving your chronic pain, no matter the cause. This way, you do not have to search for different doctors that specialize in back pain, they are all in one facility for your convenience. At Pain Treatment Specialists, we focus on pain relief that does not involve large surgeries or addictive painkillers, but options that target the source of your pain in the least invasive way possible.For example, instead of spinal surgery, we like to try methods such as Sacroiliac Joint Injections, to treat back inflammation and numb the corresponding pain. We have a number of different doctors that specialize in back pain, as well as other types of pain. We work directly with you throughout the whole journey, to come up with a diagnosis and treatment plan that you are comfortable with.
Our team of pain treatment specialists are highly trained in many different causes and treatments of back pain. All of our back pain doctors were trained at Ivy-League schools, and work out of state of the art facilities. At Pain Treatment Specialists, we are constantly researching new and improved methods of treatment, to ensure that our patients receive the finest care. We operate as part of the VIP Medical Group, who are some of the top pain treatment institutes in New York and New Jersey.
Back Pain Diagnosis And Treatment Planning
You know your back is hurting, but it can be tricky to identify the underlying cause. Sports medicine doctors have training and education in orthopedics, which means they can pinpoint the exact cause of your pain.
The first step is to determine an accurate diagnosis. Then, the doctor can put together a personalized treatment plan to help you find relief.
The medical industry has many incredible advancements, providing doctors with more diagnostic and imaging tools. As a result, orthopedic doctors can offer more surety in the diagnosis, optimizing the likelihood of a successful treatment plan.
Your doctor will talk to you about different types of treatments for pain reduction. Each patient receives a personalized treatment plan.
First, the goal is to reduce inflammation and alleviate the immediate pain you are experiencing. Medication can be helpful for both of these goals.
Then, the sports medicine doctor will have you implement different treatments that strengthen your core and protect the back, giving you the long-term results you seek.
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What Is The Sciatic Nerve
The sciatic nerve is part of the nervous system and categorized as a major nerve that starts in the lower back, runs down the back of the thigh and branches off just above the knee into smaller nerves that run the length of the legs to the feet. What most people do not realize is that the sciatic nerve has the largest circumference of any nerve in the human body. It is no wonder that when damaged it can cause excruciating pain.
When To See An Orthopedist For Back Pain
At some point in everyones life, they start to experience pain in their back that might start as a simple soreness they progress to something unbearable.
Whether its lower back pain from bad posture, upper back pain from sports, or all over pain from aging, or a severe back injury that has caused immobility, it could be extremely detrimental to ones quality of life.
Although the majority of back pain will go away within months, about 5% of people will require medical treatment. It would be wise to get a consultation with a doctor specializing in orthopedics if the pain your back doesnt alleviate after 7 days if the pain starts to spread to the lower half of your body, causing loss of feeling or tingling sensations in your toes or legs, and if you notice that you have stopped doing normal day to day activities due to the pain.
If the orthopedic doctor feels that your pain is not something that will go away on its own, they will more than likely suggest scheduling an appointment for an exam.
While orthopedic doctors mainly specialize in bones and joints, they are widely known for helping those suffering from back pain or injuries. If the fear of surgery is keeping you from getting a much-needed examination, dont let that stop you.
Orthopedic Doctor vs. Chiropractor
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When You Need The Help Of A Back Pain Specialist
If the pain persists, even with your self-help efforts, it may be time to see a back pain specialist to determine what is causing the chronic lower back pain. Diagnosing your problem can be complex. Your spine has 24 moveable bones, called vertebrae and is divided into 3 sections. The neck or upper section of the spine is called the cervical spine, the mid back is called the thoracic spine, and the lower back is called the lumbar spine. Between each of these vertebrae bones is a shock-absorbing pad called the disc, comprised of fibrous tissue surrounding a gel-like substance. It very much resembles a jelly doughnut. The discs provide shock absorption, act as a spacer pad determining the size of the nerve hole openings of the spine, and, permit spinal movement.
Because of how the spine is engineered, the lumbar section of the spine is subjected to a great deal of compressionmore than the other discs in the spine. If the discs structure is compromised through trauma, the disc tissue may become damaged, causing the disc to fail. The tissues of the disc can rupture, the gel-like center can push out, causing a bulging disk, or it may protrude through the fibrous tissue causing a herniated disc. Your pain is very realand thankfully in most cases very treatableand most of the time, treatable without surgery or drugs.
When Back Pain Is Serious: How To Tell What To Do
Most adults will experience back pain at some point. One of the most common medical complaints is lower back pain.
Typically, back pain is muscular in nature and short-term, often caused by strain from lifting heavy objects or sudden movement, says UH orthopedic specialist Zachary Gordon, MD. More serious back and spine problems may be caused by nerves, joints and discs, he says.
Most back pain will resolve on its own within a few weeks. Home care, including over-the-counter pain relievers, heat, ice and rest can help. If back pain doesnt subside and is disrupting daily activities or sleep, you should see a doctor. A primary care physician may help in cases where pain is caused by strain or mild injury.
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Heat Things Up Or Cool Them Down
Hot and cold may be opposites, but both can help keep you comfortable. Cold treatment is usually best for an injury that just happened. After about 72 hours, doctors usually suggest switching to heat. Use an ice pack that’s wrapped in a towel or try a heating pad for about 15-20 minutes at a time. Be careful not to burn your skin.
When Should I See A Nerve Doctor Specialist
You should make an appointment to see a nerve doctor specialist if you have any type of ongoing pain that stems from a nerve condition. Even if you do not know what is causing the pain, a specialist can help you to diagnose and understand it. After the cause of your nerve condition has been determined, they can provide you with appropriate treatment, and ongoing support afterwards where necessary.
At Pain Treatment Specialists, our belief is that pain stemming from nerve conditions should not necessarily be managed by constantly taking prescribed narcotics. This method of treatment does not fix the root cause of the pain and it can cause other health concerns of its own, such as an opiate addiction. We also believe that surgery is not always the best option to treat nerve issues, and there are many non-invasive procedures that can be attempted first that achieve the same result. We focus on understanding what is causing your ongoing pain, and then providing alternative treatments to ensure that you can return back to your normal life free of health concerns as soon as possible.
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Where To Start With Back Pain
Low back pain is one of the most common complaints on the planet.
And when someone starts experiencing back pain it can be so frightening that we immediately want an expert that will somehow magically get rid of it.
Unfortunately, there’s just no unicorns and rainbows when it comes to solving back pain.
Realize that most back pain will resolve on its own. What I’m saying here is that your major ache or tweaked out back doesn’t require a specialist in most cases.
Some of the most common causes of acute or sudden back pain include an injury:
- to a muscle or tendon
- to a back ligament
- to a bulging disc .
And the reality is, many of these issues will eventually resolve on their own.
In my personal opinion, the first time someone starts to experience back pain, they should immediately start doing back extension exercises.
I would continue to do back extensions every 3-4 hours throughout the day for at least 3 days.
And if you notice that you’re feeling better, continue for another 1-2 weeks.
But if your low back pain doesn’t improve, then maybe there is something more serious happening.
More serious causes of back pain include:
- a narrowing of the spinal canal
- disc tears or herniations
- severe degenerative disc disease
- spinal infections
So if your back pain doesn’t improve with back extensions and modified activities, then you’d want to consider someone who is qualified to properly assess the situation.
How To Choose A Pain Specialist
Your doctor can tell you which kind of specialist you need and possibly give you a referral. In choosing a provider, youâll want to find out their general approach to managing pain and how they would treat you specifically. Pick a doctor who:
- Has the training and experience in treating your specific type of pain. Most will have done a pain medicine fellowship, which is training above and beyond a doctorâs training in a specialty.
- Is âboard-certified,â which means they have passed in-depth tests in fields such as anesthesiology, neurology, or physical medicine and rehab
- Has a good reputation in the medical community
- Encourages you to ask questions
- Allows you to disagree
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Do Orthopedic Doctors Treat Nerve Pain
Orthopedic doctors can help reduce pain
This includes muscles, nerves, bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, cartilage, and other connective tissue. There are many musculoskeletal conditions and injuries that can cause pain, and often, orthopedic specialists can help reduce or eliminate pain.
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When Your Sciatica Warrants A Visit To Your Doctor
Its important to recognize when at-home therapies arent easing your sciatica. If these treatments dont help you, it may be time to see your personal doctor or spine specialist.
People avoid the doctor for a variety of reasons. Maybe youre unsure about how to use your health insurance or you dont have any. Or perhaps you simply dont like visiting the doctor and prefer an ignorance-is-bliss approach.
Whatever the reason, some sciatica symptoms truly warrant medical attention. In rare cases, delaying medical care could lead to or cause permanent nerve damage.
If you experience any of the following, please see your doctor as soon as possible:
- You have severe pain in your low back and legs
- You experience nerve-related symptoms, such as weakness, numbness, tingling, or electric shock-like pain
- Your pain doesnt improve after 2 weeks
- Your pain gets worse, even when using at-home therapies
- You have loss of bowel and/or bladder control
Easing the extreme pain of sciatica doesnt always require an extreme treatment approach. Relieving sciatic nerve pain at home with gentle exercise, ice and heat therapy, proper posture, and medication may go along way to speed your recovery. But the most important thing you can do for your low back and leg pain is to take it seriouslyalways call your doctor if you arent experiencing relief.
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Who To See For Sciatica
Family doctors and general practitioners can diagnose and treat simple cases of sciatica. Chiropractors and physical therapists also treat people with sciatica.
A , or physician who specializes in the nervous system, is the best person to manage severe sciatica. Your primary doctor may refer you to a specialist in such cases.
Approximately 40% of people will experience sciatica in their lifetimes. Report any episodes, even ones that resolve with self-care, to your primary healthcare provider. If youre unsure if your symptoms are related to sciatica, or if your symptoms get worse despite home therapy, consult a physician.
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Nothing Cute About This Back Pain
Back pain continues to plague Americans. Millions of dollars get spent in healthcare for back pain. Furthermore, 8 of 10 Americans will see a doctor for back pain at some point. Lower back pain happens the most as this area holds up most of the bodys weight. Acute back pain is even more stressful. The sharp pain comes suddenly, lasting a few days or a few weeks. With the help of a doctor, and sometimes a neurologist, back pain sufferers can find relief.
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What Should I Avoid Doing If I Have Sciatica
Avoid putting added pressure onto your lumbar spine and sciatic nerve as much as possible. Activities such as sitting with bad posture, heavy lifting, difficult or strenuous exercise, and sitting or laying down for prolonged periods can aggravate your body.
Be sure not to rest too much when you have sciatica, as your back can weaken and worsen your pain. With this in mind, dont ignore your pain signals or fight through them. Taking a few minutes to sit down and let your pain pass is perfectly okay.