Do I Need To See A Doctor For My Back Pain
If youre still wondering if you should see a doctor for back pain, the short answer is yes. Going to the doctor for your back pain can help you find relief so you can enjoy life once again. At the Desert Institute for Spine Care , you can rest assured our doctors and staff will take good care of you.
At DISC, we believe every patient deserves compassionate, personalized care. We developed Personalized Pain Diagnostics to identify the pain generator and most accurate diagnosis. With PPM we can personalize and tailor the right treatment or surgical option for our patients. We begin by asking questions and listening carefully to your experience. We then investigate your symptoms further through an examination and imaging tests.
Once we develop ideas about your pain, we will discuss them honestly and clearly with you and invite you to ask questions. We want to ensure you feel comfortable and can make an informed decision about your treatment.
When youre ready, well apply the latest technology to treat your pain and help you restore your lifestyle.
Types Of Doctors That Specialize In Back Pain
HARVARD TRAINED PAIN DOCTORS | VOTED #1 PAIN CENTER | PAIN TREATMENT SPECIALISTS
If you have back pain, there are a number of different specialists that can help. Back pain can be caused by a number of different reasons, and as a result, there are a number of different doctors that specialize in treating back pain in different ways. It can be difficult to know which type of doctor to see, so we have compiled a list of some of the most common back pain specialists, in order for you to make a more informed choice about your future treatment.
If you are experiencing severe pain and feel ready to find the best back pain doctor and book an appointment today, you can jump straight ahead to the bottom of this article and submit a contact form, or give us call at 767-3227. One of our team members will help you identify the best back pain doctor near you.
Medications For Sciatica Pain Relief
Different medications can help with pain and inflammation from sciatica, including:
Oral anti-inflammatory medications
Its best to start with over-the-counter options before talking to your doctor about prescription options. Oral anti-inflammatory medications can provide fast-acting, short-term pain relief. Ibuprofen and naproxen sodium are often recommended but ask your doctor about what makes sense for your unique situation.
Topical ointments, gels or creams
Topical creams, ointments and gels for sciatica can block nerve pain and relax the muscles that may be causing discomfort. Even better, they start to work right after you use them.
Most people find that these products help at least a little bit. But not all people experience sciatica in the same way, so look for one that says it will treat the symptoms you have. If youre pregnant, it can be a good idea to look for one that says its safe during pregnancy.
To use, rub the ointment, gel or cream near where it hurts. Its also important to apply the product to the rear pelvis the area thats closest to the sciatic nerve root. Sciatica starts at the nerve root, so if youre able to stop the pain there, you may be able to stop it from spreading.
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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.
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
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The Function Of The Sciatic Nerve
The sciatic nerve provides feeling and sensation throughout the leg and foot. This nerve is also responsible for most movement by stimulating the muscles in the leg to be able to feel and move. Due to the fact that it branches off into smaller nerves, it is able to accommodate a large area of the body.
What is Sciatica Pain?
Sciatica pain refers to pain that originates from the sciatic nerve. It causes pain that runs down your lower back through your gluteus maximus, and down your leg. You have a sciatic nerve that runs down each leg, however, in most cases, you only experience sciatica pain on one side of your body at a time. Due to the nerve’s massive size and length, sciatica can present in a variety of ways depending on the origination of the damage. Common symptoms include:
- Numbness and/or tingling in the affected leg
- Pain that ranges from mild to excruciating
- Burning sensation in the affected leg
- Muscle weakness
Everyone is different and may experience one or more of the above symptoms based on the severity and causes.
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.
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What Can I Expect From A Pain Management Doctor
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Chronic pain affects millions of Americans, negatively impacting their energy levels and overall quality of life. But they dont have to suffer alone. Pain management clinics are designed to address the unique needs of chronic pain sufferers, providing diagnosis of and treatment for chronic pain with either a targeted or comprehensive full-body approach. If you or a loved one suffer from chronic pain, heres what you need to know about pain management doctors and how they can help:
What does a pain management doctor do?
Pain management doctors specialize in the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of pain, especially for patients with chronic pain that is difficult to diagnose. Once the doctor identifies the source of your pain, they can develop a treatment plan that works best for you. Treatment may involve physical therapy, medication, or chiropractic care, as well as nonmedical interventions such as yoga, meditation or dietary changes.
Types of pain treated by a pain management doctor
The list of medical conditions that can lead to chronic pain is long, but the types of pain treated by pain management doctors typically fall into three main categories: direct tissue injury, nerve injury, or a combination of both.
Examples of conditions that cause direct tissue injury pain:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Examples of conditions that cause nerve injury pain:
When Should Back Pain Be Checked
As mentioned earlier, most back pain improves in a few weeks with self-care and isnt a cause for concern. Still, back pain can be debilitating, and some patients need a doctors help to cope with the pain or treat the problem with nonsurgical or surgical techniques. Back pain also can sometimes be a sign of a serious medical condition.
Its a good idea to visit a doctor if youre experiencing the following:
1. Nighttime PainFor some people, lying down in bed makes their back pain worse, no matter what position theyre in. They might not have any back pain until they go to bed. Although nighttime back pain may be caused by common conditions like a sprain or scoliosis, it can be due to something serious, like an infection, fracture, nerve compression or spinal tumor. You should always get looked at by a doctor for any condition that disrupts your sleep.
2. Weakness, Numbness or TinglingIf youre experiencing numbness, weakness or tingling with your back pain, you could have nerve damage or irritation. You should go to a doctor for nerve pain if it persists, especially if OTC pain relievers dont help. If nerve pain does not get treated, it can lead to permanent damage.
3. FeverA fever, along with back pain, can mean theres an infection. Spinal infections include vertebral osteomyelitis, meningitis or a spinal epidural abscess. Spinal infections require immediate medical attention.
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There Are Many Types Of Health Practitioners That Care For Patients With Spinal Conditions And Each Has A Slightly Different Role
Selection of the most appropriate type of health professional -or team of health professionals- largely depends on the patient’s symptoms and the length of time the symptoms have been present. It also depends on the type of spine abnormality seen on diagnostic studies.
The different types of health professionals who treat back pain tend to have varied training and interests. While it is common to begin with a primary care provider , if the patient’s back pain is resistant to initial treatment, the services of a spine specialist may be necessary.
How To Find An Orthopedist For Lower Back Pain
Your primary care physician may recommend a leading orthopedist in your area. You can also ask your friends who they recommend, and search the website of the American Orthopedic Association or the AAOS. Once you have found an orthopedist, you’ll want to reach out to them to get more information on their specialty, experience, and background. If they are an orthopedic surgeon, it’s important to inquire about their training and experience all of which can be done through a consultation.
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When To Seek Medical Attention For Back Pain
It can be difficult to know when to go to the doctor for back pain. Generally, there are two major indicators of when its time to visit a doctor:
1. If your back pain doesnt go away after a week or two, you should see your doctor. While its more likely your pain isnt a sign of a serious medical emergency, your doctor can give you an accurate diagnosis and start treatment.
2. If you have other symptoms that accompany your back pain, you might require medical attention. See your doctor immediately if youre experiencing back pain with symptoms like:
- Increasing weakness in your legs
- Severe stomach pain
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Other Types Of Spine Specialists
Orthopedists arent the only type of doctor that can treat back pain. Depending on whats causing your pain, you may need to see a:
- Neurologist Neurologists specialize in conditions affecting the nervous system.
- Physiatrist Physiatrists specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation.
- Rheumatologist Rheumatologists specialize in systemic autoimmune conditions and other diseases affecting the musculoskeletal system.
Keep in mind that insurance companies often require a referral from a primary care provider before theyll cover visits to a specialist, so you may want to start out by making an appointment with your PCP.
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When To See A Doctor
Many cases of low back or neck pain improve relatively quickly on their own. It is generally a good idea to see a doctor if:
- Pain lasts longer than two weeks
- Pain is severe and does not respond to initial treatments, such as heat application or over-the-counter medications
- Shooting, sharp pain and/or numbness and tingling is spreading to other areas of the body, such as from the neck to the shoulder or arm, or from the back to the pelvis, groin, or legs
- Low back or neck pain interferes with basic mobility such as turning the head, standing, walking, or other everyday movements so much that daily activities become very difficult
Chronic Back Pain Treatment Options Whats Best For You
If you are struggling with back pain in Central Pennsylvania, youre part of a vast group. Around 80 percent of adults, at some point in their lives, experience back pain. Its one of the most common contributors to missed work days and job-related disability, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke . The Orthopedic Institute of Pennsylvania provides chronic pain treatment options at our eight locations, including conservative methods and surgical procedures if needed.
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Holistic And Osteopathic Specialists
In the event of chronic or severe back pain, many individuals tend to prefer to see osteopathic or holistic specialists. These types of doctors and professionals include osteopathic physicians and chiropractic specialists.
Osteopaths are put through the same training and licensing/certification processes that all medical doctors must obtain to practice medicine, but they tend to do additional studies of the musculoskeletal system. They then will prefer to treat pain problems medically, but with an additional emphasis on the potential lifestyle and environmental factors which may be contributing to the pain problem.
Chiropractors are trained in the proper alignment of the spine and may be able to provide some of the most immediate relief to back pain problems. This is done through periodic adjustments and treatments that attempt to maintain alignment and prevent further pain issues.
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.
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Causes Of Sciatica Pain
The majority of sciatica pain is caused by the nerve becoming pinched due to compression of the lower back. This can occur by either a herniated disc, bone spur or even a tumor compressing on the nerve. Only a medical doctor or specialist can make a qualified diagnosis. If you suspect you have a damaged sciatic nerve, which type of specialist should you seek out to treat your sciatica pain?
Pain Radiating Beyond Your Back
Pain that spreads from your back to your legs, especially if it extends below your knee, could be a sign of sciatica. Other symptoms include tingling, numbness, or a general feeling of weakness in your legs. The most common cause of the condition is a pinched nerve in the back, although spinal stenosis, disc herniation, and arthritis may also contribute to sciatic pain.
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Why Choose Atrium Health For Pain Management Care
- Convenient care and quick relief. With same-day and next-day appointments at 12 locations around Charlotte, NC, its easy to get the care you need, when you need it.
- Expert care and experience. Our highly trained and caring experts know how to treat pain. Weve been helping patients for over 30 years.
- Your partner to find relief. Our pain specialists treat every condition from new aches to chronic pain. We listen, help you understand treatment options and create a care plan just for you.
- Complete pain support. We care for the whole you, including your physical and mental health. If more specialized care is needed, we offer fast access to Atrium Healths award-winning team of specialists.
You Have Unexplained Weight Loss
If you experience sudden weight loss that can’t 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.
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