When To See A Doctor
Even though it’s common, most cases of back pain tend to clear up without the need to see a doctor.
You should see your doctor if your pain:
- is really bad
- lasts for a long time
- stops you from working or doing the things you enjoy
- affects your everyday activities
- gets worse.
You should also see your doctor if you have any changes in sexual function, for example, being unable to get an erection.
If the pain is causing you significant problems and stops you from getting on with normal life and work activities, your doctor will examine you and ask you questions.
These questions will help predict how likely it is that you need further help with your back pain. If you do need further support, your doctor will make a referral to physiotherapy so that you can have treatment early, to help with the pain and return to normal activities.
Its natural to want to know what has caused your back pain. However, specialists may not be able to tell you for certain what has caused your back pain, even after carefully assessing you.
If youre concerned about the cause of your back pain, it can help to talk openly about any worries with a healthcare professional, as reducing any fear may help speed up your recovery.
Can Lower Back Pain Be Related To Weather
If you feel like your lower back pain worsens on days when its cold or the weather is changing, you are not imagining things. Back pain can indeed be related to barometric pressure and outdoor temperature. Changes in pressure can sometimes cause pain in arthritic joints, including the spine. Muscles and joints in general react to the environment, which can make them stiffer and more likely to suffer an injury.
Nonsurgical Treatment For Osteoarthritis Of The Spine
If osteoarthritis of the spine is diagnosed early, doctors may recommend nonsurgical treatment to manage symptoms. NYU Langone physicians, physical therapists, and physiatrists, who specialize in rehabilitation medicine, can help you relieve pain and stiffness, improve flexibility, and build strength in muscles that support the spine.
These treatments do not reverse damage to cartilage or bone or prevent the progression of osteoarthritis, but they may make it possible for you to continue an active lifestyle.
You May Like: Does Aleve Help With Back Pain
Lifestyle Changes And Alternative Treatments
Certain lifestyle changes can help relieve the pressure on your spine and improve your overall outlook.
- eating foods that reduce inflammation
- quitting smoking
- reducing alcohol consumption
You may also benefit from working with a physical therapist. They can help you perform specific exercises that may restore lost range of motion in your lower back.
Pain from lumbar arthritis can also be treated by alternative or complementary medicine, especially in early stages. Acupuncture and chiropractic care felt in the lower back, but they arent long-term solutions.
Prescription Medications For Spinal Osteoarthritis
- Prescription strength NSAIDs are stronger doses of a chosen non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug that helps block certain pain-producing chemicals in your body.
- Muscle relaxants have a sedating effect and are prescribed to ease muscle tension.
- Opioids may be prescribed to manage severe pain.
- Lidocaine in an adhesive patch form may be prescribed for placement on the skin over the painful area.
Also Check: Aleve Or Advil For Lower Back Pain
How Is Arthritis In The Spine Treated
The available treatment options to the condition are wide and are directed towards the alleviation of the symptoms of pain. The primary goal of treatment is to increase a persons ability to function every day, improve his mobility, and also help in his feeling of helplessness which many patients often succumb to.
The recommended exercises for arthritis in the back are:
Surgery For Spinal Arthritis
Surgery may be recommended for spinal arthritis if other treatments dont sufficiently relieve pain. The goals of the surgery may include:
Stabilizing the spine by fusing several segments together in a procedure called spinal fusion
These surgeries can be performed as open procedures or with a minimally invasive approach. There are pros and cons to each method. The surgeon will review and discuss the options before the operation.
Don’t Miss: Tylenol Or Aleve For Back Pain
Overview Of Medications Used To Treat Spinal Arthritis A Common Cause Of Back Pain Also Called Osteoarthritis Or Spondylosis
The type of arthritis that more commonly affects the spine is osteoarthritis, also called spondylosis. Other types of arthritis that are inflammatory in nature include rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. Here, youll learn about medications for osteoarthritis that affects your neck , mid back , and/or low back .It is not uncommon for arthritic neck or back pain to be accompanied by other symptoms, such as tingling sensations, numbness, or muscle spasms. Photo Source: 123RF.com.
Facet Joint Syndrome And Arthritis
Because the numerous facet joints work together daily to help with movement, wear and tear can happen. Over time, the wear and tear of the joint and cartilage lead to arthritis. Arthritis can create tiny bone spurs, called facet joint syndrome. The situation becomes worse with conditions like degenerative discs or spinal stenosis.
Also Check: Advil Or Aleve For Back Pain
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.
Arthritis Of The Spine Treatment Advanced Short
Although there is no cure for arthritis of the spine, treatments can improve joint function and keep joint pain and inflammation to a minimum. Your symptoms, age and general health will help determine your treatment. Your spine specialist may recommend a combination of the following arthritic spine treatments:
- Medications: Over-the-counter pain medications may be a viable option if your arthritis is mild to moderate. Prescription pain medications may be prescribed for the short-term if your arthritis pain is severe.
- Hot and cold compresses: Applying hot or cold compresses to your back may improve your arthritis back pain and inflammation.
- Physical therapy: Low-impact physical therapy exercises can relieve stiffness and improve your range of motion.
- Steroid injections: An injection of corticosteroid medication into your facet joint may temporarily relieve moderate to severe pain.
If conservative treatments do not provide you with relief from your arthritic spine, a surgical procedure may be recommended. We may suggest , a minimally invasive spine surgery using a tool called an arthroscope. Containing a camera lens and light, an arthroscope makes it easier for our spine surgeons to see inside your joint and make the most efficient surgical repair.
A minimally invasive spinal fusion, which involves joining two or more vertebrae into one single structure, can also be beneficial. It can correct the spinal weakness or instability that severe arthritis in the spine may cause.
Also Check: Does Motrin Help With Back Pain
What Are The Warning Signs Of A Serious Problem
Very rarely back pain or pain that travels down the leg is a sign of a serious problem.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek urgent medical attention:
- difficulty controlling or passing urine
- loss of control of your bowels
- numbness around your back passage or your genitals
- serious weakness in your legs so you find standing really difficult
- severe and ongoing back pain that gets worse over several weeks.
The above symptoms could potentially be linked to a rare but serious condition that needs urgent medical attention.
Symptoms Of Arthritis In Lower Back And Hips
When we think of arthritis, we think of joint issues in senior people. While senior citizens do suffer the most from arthritis, it isnt exclusive to any age group, nor is it a single condition describing a specific type of joint related issue. There are several different types of arthritis that affect different age groups.
If you are someone who experiences chronic joint pain, you should be aware of arthritis. In this article, well try to give you a detailed description of arthritis, and its symptoms in lower back and hips.
Also Check: Advil For Back Pain Dosage
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.
Lower Back Pain: What Could It Be
Do you have lower back pain? You are not alone. Anyone can experience lower back pain at any time, even if you dont have a prior injury or any of the risk factors. It is not always serious and can often get better on its own. But in some cases pain is your bodys way of telling you that something isnt right.
Learn more about lower back pain and what causes it from rehabilitation physician Akhil Chhatre, M.D., who specializes in back pain in the Johns Hopkins Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
You May Like: Exercise For Lower Back Pain Mayo Clinic
What Causes Sudden Onset Of Arthritis
Acute arthritis is a term that refers to rapid or suddenonset of joint inflammation and pain. Acute arthritis can be caused by several processes, including autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases occur when the body mistakenly attacks healthy cells and tissues, causing inflammation. The main symptoms of acute arthritis include joint pain
Can The Condition Cause Low Back Pain
The damaged facet joints can press on surrounding nerves causing numbness and tingling. These joints then struggle to move smoothly, increasing inflammation. Back pain can slowly develop over the years and eventually affect daily activities. Because the facet joint spurs touch nerves, persons may feel muscle pain, lower back stiffness, and spasms.
Also Check: Is Motrin Good For Back Pain
Could The Pain Be Joint Related
There seem to be numerous reasons for back pain. Every day, doctors see patients due to muscular issues, spinal issues, or a combination of both. At some point, 8 in 10 adults will consider seeing a doctor for low back pain. The doctor may talk about joint pain, namely, facet joint syndrome or arthritis. If this condition comes up, then there are some treatment options.
Can Wearing A Back Brace Hurt Your Back
Wearing a back brace for lower back pain does not pose any threat to your back. In plain answer, it is NO, if you are worried about hurting your back.
Instead, back brace keeps your back region safe and provide a conducive environment for healing of the back issue. Nevertheless, you do not have to wear a back brace at all times. It is advisable to not wear it to sleep.
Wearing it all night might make you uncomfortable and disturb your sleep. Although it is not a rule of thumb, if you find it comfortable to wear while sleeping, you can go ahead but we advise give your back that freedom all night long.
Read Also: Advil Vs Ibuprofen For Back Pain
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 simple strategies to reduce symptoms and get relief so you can pursue the activities that are important to you. These strategies can even help you manage other chronic conditions you have.
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.
- Carry out daily activities, like going to work and spending time with loved ones.
- Reduce stress.
- 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, and change your activity level depending on your arthritis symptoms. Some physical activity is better than none.
Unsure about what kind of activity is safe?
The focus of arthritis treatment is to
Can Lumbar Arthritis Be Prevented
Your age, family history, and gender can all contribute to arthritis development. Although these factors are outside of your control, there are certain things that you can do to limit the pressure on your vertebrae. Reduced pressure may prevent flares of lumbar arthritis or other symptoms.
To reduce your risk of flare-ups:
Maintain a healthy weight. Carrying excess weight can put unnecessary stress on your joints.
Opt for low-impact exercise. Stretching, yoga, and swimming can all relieve pressure on your back.
Move with care. When dealing with heavy objects, be sure to lift with your knees and not with your back.
Read Also: Will Aleve Help With Back Pain
How Arthritis In The Back Is Diagnosed
Diagnosing arthritis in the back begins with taking your medical history and doing a physical exam of your back and legs to assess your mobility/flexibility and make sure your nerves are working properly. The doctor will ask questions about:
- Where the pain is occurring
- How long the pain has lasted
- What the pain feels like/how severe it is
- What situations/activities make the pain feel better or worse
- How the pain is affecting/limiting your daily function
Imaging tests are usually needed to help confirm a diagnosis of arthritis. X-rays are typically the first imaging test ordered. They can joint damage/bone spurs, but cannot show damage to soft tissues such as muscles, ligaments, or bulging discs. Other tests may be ordered to look for changes or damage that is not visible on X-rays. These may include MRI, CT, ultrasound, bone scans, or other tests as needed. The gold standard to diagnose arthritis in the back is actually an injection called a medial branch block, but its not often necessary, says Dr. Kirschner.
Other blood tests may look for genetic markers associated with axial spondyloarthritis, such as HLA-B27, or antibodies associated with rheumatoid arthritis .
What Otc And Prescription Drugs Treat Spinal Osteoarthritis
Over-the-counter and prescription medications for spinal arthritis are usually the same as those taken to treat joint-related arthritic pain in the hips and kneesunless the diagnosis is rheumatoid or another type of inflammatory arthritis. For patients with symptoms of pain or numbness affecting the arms or legs, a may be considered.
Today, people with spinal arthritis have access to different types of pain medications that can be taken or applied to relieve pain. Some require a doctor’s prescription, some do not. However, do not assume that just because a drug is available without a prescription, or over the counter, that it is safe for everyone.
Recommended Reading: Ibuprofen For Back Pain Dosage
How Does Back Brace Reduce Back Pain
So many dont get the concept behind this. They wonder how putting something on the back can reduce back pain. There are lots of mechanisms behind the concept of back brace helping to alleviate back pain.
Serving as Additional Support
When you injure the back, most times the muscles at the back region get weaker and unstable. Most time, what the back brace does is to put your back into favorable conditions that will allow them to heal faster.
Furthermore, it serves as support that holds the torso in a safe position. When the back components are exactly where they are supposed to be, the pain that comes from their displacement subsides. While you are healing from an injury, the back brace will reduce the range of motion that can worsen the back injury.
Also, a back brace can help take pressure away from the lower back region. When you go through strenuous exercise, there are lots of stresses you exert on your lower back region. Using a back brace reduces pressure on the spine, muscles, disc, and others. When pressure is reduced on the lower back, the pain associated will automatically reduce or vanish.
Weight Loss Exercise And Diet
Think about the extra pounds people carry every day due to their being overweight. This puts added pressure and strain on the back and stomach muscles, causing those muscles to stretch and weaken. Weak back and stomach muscles cannot support the back properly. Poor posture can shift your body out of balance. This forces only a few muscles and joints to do all the work. Without proper exercise, muscles become weak and tire easily. Exercise is necessary to keep the back strong and limber. A good conditioning exercise program led by a trained instructor can be particularly helpful. An effective program includes a warm-up period about 30 minutes of aerobic activity isolated muscle group work and a cool-down period. Over a period of time, the rewards of regular aerobic workouts can include a slimmer waistline and healthier back.
Recommended Reading: How Does A Diuretic Help Back Pain