You Have Experienced A Traumatic Injury
If you have recently been in a car accident, experienced a fall, or any other type of injury that resulted in back pain, you should visit a doctor immediately. The impact from traumatic injuries can cause the discs inside your spine to bulge, herniate or rupture. In cases where discs may be damaged or injured, a back pain specialist can review all options, including minimally-invasive procedures, to treat your back injury.
Sciatica Treatment At Home
Many cases of sciatica will resolve in a few days. If you experience sciatica symptoms, you can:
Rest: Decreasing your activity can help minimize additional irritation of the sciatic nerve and give the area time to heal. Bedrest, however, is not recommended. Its best to get up and move around gently. Avoid any movements that lead to increased pain.
Stretch: Stretching exercises of the low back can help relieve nerve compression. Avoid twisting the back. Aim for slow, gradual stretches.
Use cold packs: Applying an ice pack to the irritated area can provide some relief. You can ice the area for 20 minutes at a time, a few times per day. Cold therapy is most helpful soon after symptoms begin.
Apply heat: If your symptoms have persisted for more than two or three days, try heat instead of cold. Use a heating pad or hot packs.
Take anti-inflammatory medication: Ibuprofen and naproxen are over-the-counter medicines that relieve pain and decrease inflammation.
Whats The Role Of Chiropractic Care
Some doctors refer back pain sufferers to a physical therapist right away. But many people with back pain see acupuncturists, massage therapists, or a chiropractor on their own. Experts disagree about the role of chiropractic care, and there are not many high-quality studies to consult about this approach. As a result, there are a number of questions regarding the role of chiropractic care: Should it be a routine part of initial care? Should it be reserved for people who dont improve with other treatments? Are some people more likely to improve with chiropractic care than others?
The answers to these questions go beyond any academic debate about how good chiropractic care is. Estimates suggest that low back pain costs up to $200 billion a year in the US , and its a leading cause of disability worldwide. With the backdrop of the opioid crisis, we badly need an effective, safe, and non-opioid alternative to treat low back pain.
Nonoperative Treatments For Back Pain
It can be comforting to know that you dont alwaysor even usuallyhave to go the surgery route when addressing back pain. Every case of–and person with–back pain is different, and what works for one instance may not work for another. Luckily there are a wide array of treatments you can try, both on your own or with a treatment team.
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.
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When To See A Doctor For Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most common medical conditions more than eight in 10 of us will experience it during our lifetime. There are many reasons why your back may hurtfrom a pulled muscle to more serious back and spine conditions. The type of discomfort ranges from a dull backache to sharp pain. The most common type of back pain is acutewhich means it goes away within weeks. Chronic back pain lasts longer than three months. Knowing when to see a doctor for back pain is half the battle when it comes to finding relief. Many people continue to function with mild backaches and find relief with at-home care measures. But, its important to know the signs and symptoms of a more serious back problem that requires a professional medical diagnosis and treatment.
How Does Lower Back Pain Work
Mechanical problems in the feet can negatively affect the way a patient walks or stands, which over time places strain on the lower back, causing pain.
Many sources of back pain are mechanical problems with the legs and feet. Stress might be placed on a weak or injured muscle group in the legs or feet, causing issues in the lower back.
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Who To See For Lower Back Pain: Doctors And Specialists That Can Help
Back pain is one of the most common ailments for adults in the United States, with 8% of the population suffering from chronic back pain.¹ Not only does it affect your quality of life, but it can also be concerning when you dont know whats causing it.
There are doctors and other healthcare professionals who specialize in treating lower back pain. Their expertise can help you deal with this condition so you can improve your quality of life.
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When Should You Consider Medical Care For Lower Back Pain
While acute lower back pain often resolves itself, sometimes there are red flags² you need to look out for.
If you have any of these symptoms alongside your back pain, its best to seek medical attention:
Recent severe trauma, including a car accident or falling from a height
Excruciating pain around your mid-back, rib cage, or between the shoulders
Tingling, numbness, or loss of sensation in your legs
Loss of bowel or bladder control or difficulty urinating
Abdominal pain, chest pain, fever, or chills
Pain that does not improve with rest and worsens at night or with exertion
If you dont have any of these symptoms, you may wait a few weeks to see if your back pain resolves with rest. Note, however, that resting too much can exacerbate back pain, so keep up with your daily activities if you can.
Gentle exercise can improve your symptoms, such as walking, yoga, or stretching. Anti-inflammatory painkillers are another option for relieving pain and reducing any swelling. However, if your symptoms dont improve, there are specialists you can see.
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Which Lifestyle Factors Contribute To Lower Back Pain
There are three major lifestyle factors that may affect your chances of developing lower back pain:
- Multiple studies have established a link between smoking and lower back pain. Smoking raises inflammation inside the body and hinders the body from healing itself.
- Obesity is also associated with several types of chronic pain, including lower back pain. In people with high body mass index , the stress on the spine increases, contributing to even more wear and tear.
- Your level of physical activity can also play a role in your lower back health. While a sedentary lifestyle could increase your risk of developing lower back pain, so can excessive or strenuous physical activity. Check with your doctor if you are unsure about your ideal level of physical activity.
Chiropractic Care For Back Pain
It may take several types of tests including x-rays, MRIs, and blood tests, to determine the exact cause of your back pain.
And you may need more than one expert managing your back pain.
It really just depends on your specific situation and the amount of damage that has occurred in your spine.
But for back sprains, strains, and even herniated discs, a visit to your local chiropractor may be all it takes to start feeling better.
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What Can Cause Lower Back Pain
Most acute low back pain is mechanical in nature, meaning that there is a disruption in the way the components of the back fit together and move. Some examples of mechanical causes of low back pain include:
- Skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis , lordosis , kyphosis , and other congenital anomalies of the spine.
- Spina bifida which involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord and/or its protective covering and can cause problems involving malformation of vertebrae and abnormal sensations and even paralysis.
- Sprains , strains , and spasms
- Traumatic Injury such as from playing sports, car accidents, or a fall that can injure tendons, ligaments, or muscle causing the pain, as well as compress the spine and cause discs to rupture or herniate.
- Intervertebral disc degeneration which occurs when the usually rubbery discs wear down as a normal process of aging and lose their cushioning ability.
- Spondylosis the general degeneration of the spine associated with normal wear and tear that occurs in the joints, discs, and bones of the spine as people get older.
- Arthritis or other inflammatory disease in the spine, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebrae.
Nerve and spinal cord problems
In Most Cases A Primary Care Doctor Or Chiropractor Can Help You Resolve The Problem
Low back pain is one of the most common complaints on the planet. And you may wonder where to turn when you start experiencing some of those aches or twinges in the lower part of your back. Take heart. “In most cases, you won’t need a specialist,” says Dr. Robert Shmerling, a rheumatologist at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
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All Studies Have Limitations
And this one is no exception. While this study suggests that chiropractic care may be helpful for low back pain, some aspects of the study make it hard to be sure. For example:
If any of these factors had been different, the results might have been different. For example, its possible that if an older population of people with chronic low back pain had been studied, “usual care” might have been the better treatment.
Help Which Doctor That Specializes In Back Pain Is Right For Me
There are clearly many different types of doctor that specialize in back pain. All of them focus on different types of back pain, different causes of the pain, and different types of treatment options. These are important factors to consider when you are deciding where to seek medical help. We understand that it can be difficult to try and know where to start, and it may feel frustrating as you try different options, seeking to find one that helps you.
We recommend trying a pain treatment clinic.
A pain treatment clinic is a one-stop shop for understanding and treating back pain. The clinic houses a number of different medical specialists, who are all highly trained in different areas, but all function as pain doctors, to relieve your pain. They will help you to diagnose the cause of your back pain, and work with you to find a treatment option that is likely to help, and suits your preferences.
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Complementary And Alternative Therapies
Scientific evidence for the effectiveness of complementary and alternative therapies is somewhat limited, mostly due to a lack of high-quality research. That doesnt mean that these treatments dont work, though it just means they need to be studied more.
Other types, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, work best when combined with other forms of treatment .
Anecdotally, many people with back pain have great success with some of these therapies, such as:
Types Of Lower Back Pain
The frequency in which lower back pain is experienced will define the type of pain occurring. Lower back pain occurs as either acute or chronic. These two different types of pain may require different treatment methods.
Treatment is shaped by the type of pain felt. But what does it mean? Acute pain implies the pain is experienced for a short amount of time. The pain symptoms may resolve on their own with little medical involvement. Many individuals may find relief from simple home remedies and over the counter medicines.
The pain symptoms can resolve on their own with some rest and care. Chronic pain lasts longer than 12 weeks and can escalate in nature. Chronic lower back pain can progressively limit your mobility in your day-to-day life, greatly impacting your functionality.
This type of chronic pain usually requires seeking assistance from a back pain specialist who can evaluate your symptoms and determine a course of action. Chronic lower back pain may be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition or a manifestation of a larger injury.
A skilled lower back pain specialist will review the duration of your back pain and diagnose the cause of your symptoms. They will verify your pain history, associated pain symptoms, and review your medical history to better ascertain which treatment method would be most beneficial.
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How Is Back Pain Treated
You can do several things to manage back pain. A conversation with your doctor or physiotherapist can help address any concerns you may have and help you to better understand your treatment. Remember that not all information is trustworthy, so let your healthcare team know about treatments you are considering before you begin them.
Ways to manage back pain include the following:
Strong pain medication is not recommended for back pain. Research shows strong pain medication provides little benefit and can cause side effects such as drowsiness, sedation and/or dependence.
If you have severe back pain and your current medication is not adequately managing it, talk to your doctor about a suitable treatment plan. In some cases, your doctor may suggest an injection that can numb the pain such as an epidural injection, or a surgical procedure, such as a laminectomy to help manage your pain.
There are many other treatments to manage back pain, but they have not been well proven. These include:
- herbal medicines
- heat and cold therapy
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You Are Experiencing Chronic Pain
In a broad sense, there are two types of back pain: acute and chronic. Acute back pain is typically defined as pain that persists anywhere from a week to three months. Chronic back pain, on the other hand, is long term and lasts for three months or longer.
If youre experiencing chronic back pain, it may have a significant impact on your quality of life. This ongoing pain could also be an indicator of a larger issue, like Degenerative Disc Disease, which an orthopedic specialist would be able to offer guidance on.
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What Can I Do For Low Back Pain At Home
If your lower back pain has just started, the best thing you can do is start a log. Record your symptoms, times, dates and which activities trigger the pain or make it worse or better. Take this information to your family physician if the pain doesnt resolve on its own. It will make diagnosing the cause much easier.
Once you know which motion or position causes your lower back pain, try to avoid it and see if you get better. Icing the painful spot can also help. And so can over-the-counter pain relievers that help reduce inflammation. Just remember that pain killers treat only the symptom pain and not its cause.
How To Release The Sciatic Knot And Find Relief From Sciatica Pain
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body, running from the lower back, through the buttocks, and down the legs. Sciatica is a condition caused by compression of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica can be caused by a variety of things, including a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or Piriformis Syndrome. Sciatica can be very painful, and can make it difficult to walk or stand. If you are suffering from sciatica, there are a few things you can do to release the sciatic knot and find relief from the pain.
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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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When Should I See A Doctor About Back Pain
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About 80% of adults experience back pain at some time in their lives. It’s one of most common reasons people see a doctor or miss work. The pain can range from a dull ache to sharp, sudden and debilitating pain.
For most people, back pain is mechanical in nature, which means the elements of your back and how they move together has changed.
Possible back conditions could include:
Muscle or ligament strain
Heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain the muscles or ligaments in your back. Also, if you are overweight or in poor physical condition, the constant strain on your back can cause muscle fatigue and muscle spasms.
Bulging or ruptured disk
Disks are the cushions between the bones in your spine. You can have bulging or ruptured disks that may or may not cause pain by compressing a nerve root and causing pain that radiates into the leg.
Disks may narrow over time and cause your vertebrae to grind together resulting pain.
Most back pain even severe back pain goes away on its own in four to six weeks with self-care, such as rest, heat or ice, over-the-counter pain medication and exercise.
Surgery often is effective to correct a spinal deformity or instability issue. Surgery also is helpful to treat pain radiating down a leg due to compression of a nerve root in the spine if other conservative treatments have failed. However, surgery is not considered a good treatment for generalized back pain.
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