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What Doctor Should You See For Back Pain

You Are Experiencing Severe Symptoms

When to See a Doctor for Back Pain

If youre experiencing minor symptoms that dont have a big impact on your day-to-day, then a visit to your primary care physician may be enough. However, if youre experiencing particularly severe symptoms, you may have a critical condition that requires specialized care. A few critical back pain symptoms are:

  • Weakness in your legs, hips or groin area
  • Radiating pain that travels down your leg
  • Fever alongside back pain symptoms
  • Loss of bladder and bowel control

If you are experiencing any of the above alarming symptoms and cannot schedule an appointment with a specialist in a timely manner, it is recommended that you visit Emergency Care especially if you are experiencing bladder and bowel incontinence, which requires immediate emergency medical attention.

What Is The Difference Between A Herniated Disc And Muscle Pain

There are a few ways to tell if back pain is muscle pain or a herniated disc. However, the best option is to make an appointment with your healthcare provider to rule out anything serious.

A herniated disc can cause pain while coughing, bending forward or returning to an upright position. Slipped or ruptured discs may also cause weakness in the legs, a duller reflex on the affected side or shooting pain to one side or the other. In very extreme cases, bowel or bladder control may be affected.

Back pain can be caused by:

  • Lifting, twisting or bending with poor form

What Doctor Should I See For Back Pain

If your back pain is from a recent strain or mild injury, your primary care doctor can probably help. But if the pain is severe, ongoing, or accompanied by other symptoms such as numbness or tingling in your arms or legs, it may be time to see a back doctor. Start with someone who specializes in nonsurgical treatment for back pain. This can include a physiatrist, chiropractor, physical therapist, or orthopaedic physician assistant. They can evaluate your condition and offer appropriate treatment to help alleviate your pain. Depending on your circumstances, they might also refer you to another type of back specialist — for example, a pain management specialist or spine surgeon.

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How Is Sciatica Different From Back Pain

What is sciatica? Sciatica is not a condition, but a symptom of other conditions. It is characterized by pain that runs from your lower back, along your sciatic nerve, and down your legs. The most common cause of sciatica is a herniated disc in your spine. Other causes include spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, or degenerative disc disease.

How is sciatica different from back pain? Sciatica is a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Back pain can be caused by many different things, including injury, arthritis, and muscle strain. Unlike back pain, sciatica always involves the sciatic nerve.

What are the symptoms of sciatica? The most common symptom of sciatica is pain that starts in your lower back and radiates down your leg. Other symptoms include numbness, tingling, or weakness in your leg. If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor for a full diagnosis.

How long does sciatica pain last? Sciatica can be a short-term or long-term problem. The length of time depends on the underlying cause of the pain. In most cases, symptoms go away within a few weeks with conservative treatment methods like physical therapy and over-the-counter pain medication. If the pain does not improve with conservative treatment, you may need surgery to correct the underlying problem.

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Causes Of Sternum Pain

Sciatica Treatment Culver City, CA
  • Bruising or tenderness of a chest wall muscle

A strained or pulled muscle in the chest wall can cause chest bone pain. This injury is caused by overuse or repetitive movement, an increase in activity level, or a sudden improper movement. Pulled muscles can also happen during an illness that causes coughing or vomiting.

Rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications can relieve muscle strain. But in more severe cases, you may need physical therapy or surgery.

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Signs That Its Time To Call A Doctor For Your Back Pain

Most people have experienced back pain at some point in their lives. Its actually the leading cause of disability worldwide and the most common reason people call out of work. Back pain can come in many different forms, ranging from a dull ache that lasts only a few days to severe pain that lasts for weeks.

Depending on the intensity of the pain, there are many treatments you can try at home to help. But how do you know when its time to stop home remedies and see a physician?

If any of the following applies to your back pain, then its time to make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible.

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.

Prescription medications

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Emergency Room Healthcare Providers

If you have serious neck or back trauma, you should go to the emergency room. Trauma can include car accidents, falls, or gunshot wounds.

Remember not to move someone with a possible spinal injury. If you’re the one who’s hurt, stay still and tell others not to move you.

Also, go to the ER you have back pain with loss of bowel or bladder control, or your legs get progressively weaker. Those are symptoms of an emergency condition called cauda equina syndrome.

Learn About The Different Back Pain Specialists

When to See a Doctor for Back Pain

When a back problem occurs, it’s typically a good idea to first consult with a primary care physician. This doctor will conduct an initial exam and, depending on the findings, he or she may refer you to a spine specialist.

If you are referred to a specialist for chronic back pain, it will likely be to one of the following:

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Best Doctors For Back Pain

Since you shouldn’t try to diagnose your own back pain, make your first call to a professional who can assess your problem, such as a primary care physician or a chiropractor.

Both can serve as an entry point for back pain.

Generally speaking, your primary care provider will only offer pain medications or injections designed to reduce pain, but not necessarily correct the issue.

Chiropractors on the other hand, have much more training when it comes to addressing back pain.

A chiropractors training contains over 150 more hours of education in biomechanics, while medical students learn more about pharmaceuticals.

Chiropractors use posture exercises and hands-on spinal manipulation to relieve back pain, improve function, and help the body heal itself.

According to Harvard Health, the most positive research on chiropractic therapy has focused on spinal manipulation for low back pain.

Here’s a few quotes including the scientific journal reference discussing chiropractic care for back pain:

âFor patients with chronic low back pain, clinicians and patients should initially selectnon-pharmacologic treatment with exercise, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, acupuncture, mindfulness-based stress reduction , tai chi, yoga, motor control exercise, progressive relaxation, electromyography biofeedback, low-level laser therapy, operant therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or spinal manipulation .â

American College of Physicians

Goertz et al. , Spine

Ways To Manage Arthritis

There are a lot of things you can do to manage your arthritis. The day-to-day things you choose to do to manage your condition and stay healthy are self-management strategies and activities. CDCs Arthritis Program recognizes five self-management strategies for managing arthritis and its symptoms.

Practice these simplestrategies to reduce symptoms and get relief soyou can pursue the activities that are important to you. These strategies can even help you manage other chronic conditions you may have, such as diabetes, heart disease, or obesity.

Use these 5 strategies to manage your arthritis at any age.

Join a self-management education workshop, which can help you learn the skills to manage your arthritis and make good decisions about your health.

How can a self-management education workshop help me?

Learning strategies to better manage your arthritis can help you:

  • Feel more in control of your health.
  • Manage pain and other symptoms.
  • Plan and carry out valuedactivities, like working and spending time with loved ones.
  • Improve your mood.
  • Communicate better with your health care provider about your care.

Learn about CDC-recognized self-management education programs that improve the quality of life of people with arthritis.

Stay as active as your health allows. Some physical activity is better than none.

Unsure about what kind of activity is safe?

The focus of arthritis treatment is to

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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 occasionally. 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.

Who To See For Sciatica

Why You Should See A Chiropractic Doctor For Your Lower Back Pain

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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Types Of Doctors That Might Treat Your Back Pain

Back pain seems to be a problem that plagues so many, so it can be easy to operate under the assumption that treatment is relatively interchangeable. There are actually many different types of doctors that specialize in more specific areas of treatment when it comes to back injury or chronic pain.

It is important that you seek help from the correct type of doctor if you want your pain addressed in the most expedient and thorough fashion. Here is a more in-depth look at the most common types of spine doctors and how they might be able to help you with your pain.

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Will The Er Do Anything For Back Pain

Upper and middle back pain, in most cases, does get better with time and rest. If your back pain is unrelenting and not relieved by rest, you should immediately visit the closest emergency department. If the pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, you should also seek emergency care: Fever.

How do I get admitted to the hospital for back pain?

When to Go to the ER for Back Pain

  • Inability to walk or stand.
  • Inability to control bowel movements.
  • Difficulty in passing urine or uncontrolled bladder movements.
  • Sudden, intolerable pain in the lower back and/or leg
  • How do you know if your back injury is serious?

    Emergency signs and symptoms of a spinal cord injury after an accident include:

  • Extreme back pain or pressure in your neck, head or back.
  • Weakness, incoordination or paralysis in any part of your body.
  • Numbness, tingling or loss of sensation in your hands, fingers, feet or toes.
  • Loss of bladder or bowel control.
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    At What Age Do Most Hip Injuries Occur

    Most hip injuries occur with older people. This is because their hips have had decades of use and impact. Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of various hip injuries. This is otherwise known as wear and tear arthritis. Older patients, particularly females, are also prone to having osteoporosis, the deterioration of their bones. In the hips, this leads to fractures during falls.

    Why Go To An Orthopedic Doctor For Back Pain

    When Should You See A Doctor For Back Pain

    Most us will experience back pain at some point in life. While most back pains resolve on their own or with conservative treatments, some need serious medical attention. Back pain may be a sign of a serious condition, and it will progressively get worse if left untreated.

    If your back pain is not getting better and is limiting the activities you can engage in, see an orthopedic doctor. Why go to an orthopedic doctor for back pain? Why cant your primary care physician just treat it? Orthopedic doctors have specialized knowledge, training, and experience in diagnosing, treating, and preventing musculoskeletal pain. While a primary care physician can treat a plethora of health issues, an orthopedic doctor can do it better.

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    Causes Of Severe Back Pain

    Though muscular strain is the most common cause of back pain, there are many possible causes, Dr. Gordon says, including:

    • Compression Fractures due to osteoporosis
    • Fractured vertebrae
    • Herniated disc or degenerative disc disease
    • Spondylolisthesis
    • Spinal cord tumor

    Watch for these symptoms that warrant medical attention: pain accompanied by numbness or tingling in the arms or legs back swelling and redness , bowel or bladder problems or unintended weight loss, Dr. Gordon says.

    Also, seek medical care if pain radiates down one or both legs, he says.

    To determine the cause of chronic back pain, your doctor may order tests such as X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging , computed tomography scan, bone scan or electromyography, which is a test to diagnose neuromuscular abnormalities.

    Referrals To Physical Therapists Are Likely To Come From

    In the case of ongoing back pain, physical therapy combined with at-home treatments such as those mentioned earlier in the article are usually the first steps to take.

    Also, a physical therapist can assess how you sit, stand, and move-and suggest ways to improve your posture and workspace. To help your back feel better, theyll design an exercise or movement program thats tailored to your needs.

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    What If I Dont Want Surgery For My Back Pain

    Fortunately, most people with back pain dont need surgery. We usually take a conservative approach first, using a wide variety of nonsurgical spine treatments, said Dr. Guo. For example, I might send you to physical therapy or chiropractic therapy. I might recommend medications such as anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, or some nerve-pain medications. We offer injection therapy, including epidural injections, joint injections, and nerve blocks and ablation if your back pain fails to improve with the conservative treatments. Chances are, one of these approaches will help reduce your back pain and improve your function and quality of life.

    Heartburn And Acid Reflux

    Chiropractic Care


    • Burning pain in the chest, abdomen, or throat after eating
    • Pain in the sternum
    • Bad breath or bad taste in your mouth

    Heartburn is a brief burning pain in your throat, chest, or abdomen that is caused by stomach acid. When it happens frequently, it can be a sign of acid reflux.

    Both heartburn and reflux are caused by a problem with the sphincter that separates the esophagus from the stomach. When the sphincter doesnt close tightly or opens too frequently, stomach acid or food can travel out of the stomach back into the esophagus.

    Heartburn can also be caused by a hiatal hernia, which happens when part of the stomach slips through a hole in the diaphragm .

    Certain foods and drinks, including spicy or fatty foods, alcohol, and coffee, can trigger heartburn. Overweight people and pregnant women have a higher risk for reflux.

    Your doctor may prescribe changes to your lifestyle and diet, medications, and sometimes surgery.

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    Risk Factors You Can Change With Lifestyle Changes

    • Not getting regular exercise
    • Doing a job or other activity that requires long periods of sitting, heavy lifting, bending or twisting, repetitive motions, or constant vibration, such as using a jackhammer or driving certain types of heavy equipment
    • Smoking. People who smoke are more likely than people who dont smoke to have low back pain.
    • Being overweight. Excess body weight, especially around the waist, may put strain on your back, although this has not been proved. But being overweight often also means being in poor physical condition, with weaker muscles and less flexibility. These can lead to low back pain.
    • Having poor posture. Slumping or slouching on its own may not cause low back pain. But after the back has been strained or injured, bad posture can make pain worse. Good posture generally means your ears, shoulders, and hips are in a straight line. If this posture causes pain, you may have another condition such as a problem with a disc or bones in your back.
    • Being under stress. Stress and other emotional factors are believed to play a major role in low back pain, particularly chronic low back pain. Many people unconsciously tighten their back muscles when they are under stress.


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