When Is Surgery A Good Idea For Back Pain
These red flags can be indicators for surgery, if theyre found to berelated to your spine condition:
- New or progressing bowel/bladder issues
- Weakness in limbs
- Gait and balance problems
- Evidence of increased reflexes
Surgery can also be an option for chronic back pain if there is a knowncause confirmed by imaging and if other treatments didnt help. Getopinions from at least two surgeons, suggests Nava, as pain can stillcome back after the surgery.
What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Low Back Pain
Anyone can have back pain. Factors that can increase the risk for low back pain include:
Age: The first attack of low back pain typically occurs between the ages of 30 and 50, and back pain becomes more common with advancing age. Loss of bone strength from osteoporosis can lead to fractures, and at the same time, muscle elasticity and tone decrease. The intervertebral discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility with age, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae. The risk of spinal stenosis also increases with age.
Fitness level: Back pain is more common among people who are not physically fit. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. Weekend warriorspeople who go out and exercise a lot after being inactive all weekare more likely to suffer painful back injuries than people who make moderate physical activity a daily habit. Studies show that low-impact aerobic exercise can help maintain the integrity of intervertebral discs.
Weight gain: Being overweight, obese, or quickly gaining significant amounts of weight can put stress on the back and lead to low back pain.
Genetics: Some causes of back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis , have a genetic component.
Smoking: It can restrict blood flow and oxygen to the discs, causing them to degenerate faster.
Backpack overload in children: A backpack overloaded with schoolbooks and supplies can strain the back and cause muscle fatigue.
Ready To Address Your Back Pain
The University of Maryland Spine Network can help you put your pain behind you. With convenient locations throughout the state, the UM Spine Network is home to the regionâs leading spine surgeons and specialists that can help you identify the source of your pain and put an end to it for good.
Put an end to your back pain. Find a spine specialist near you.
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Fractures And Lower Back Pain
are often very difficult pain problems and indicate the possible presence of . In patients with severe osteoporosis, spinal fractures can occur with no early warning and no significant trauma the patient does not have to fall to fracture a vertebrae.
Patients with spinal compression fractures experience spasms and, often, very high pain levels.
In patients with low back pain where the cause is difficult to determine, especially for elderly patients with osteoporosis, a fracture in the sacrum may be the cause of the pain. A standard X-ray or bone scan may not show a sacral fracture. Imaging techniques such as CT scan or MRI can often reveal these fractures.
It is very important that patients with acute lumbar compression fractures be tested for osteoporosis. A bone density study is needed, unless the patient has no other osteoporosis risk factors and has had a very high impact fracture. Studies have shown that many patients with fractures in the U.S. are discharged from hospitals with no plans for management of their bone density problems, which then are left to worsen.
Although pain can be very intense, it is best for patients with lumbar fracture to resume activity as soon as possible. This is especially true for elderly patients, who can too easily become weakened, and develop other complications, if mobility is reduced for too long. may be needed for pain control, for as brief a period as possible.
What Are The Risks
Long bed rest can lead to slower recovery.Staying in bed for any prolonged period can make you stiff and increase pain. When you dont move and bend, you lose muscle strength and flexibility. With bed rest, you lose about 1 percent of your muscle strength each day. And you can lose 20 to 30 percent in a week. It becomes more difficult to return to any activity. As you become weaker and stiffer your recovery takes longer.
Who needs bed rest?Almost no one! The only people who might require time in bed are those with unstable spinal fractures awaiting surgery.
What can I do for the pain?Hot or cold packs often help. Some people can get pain relief from non-prescription analgesics or anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen or naproxen . But no medication should be taken for an extended period of time.
When should I see a health care provider?You should see your health care provider right away if:
- You have severe continuous back pain that lasts longer than 48 hours.
- You have severe continuous back pain and fever.
- You have back pain with accompanying pain, numbness or weakness in one or both legs or feet. Your leg symptoms are more disabling than your back symptoms.
- You have back pain and the onset of numbness in your private/genital region or changes in your ability to control your bladder and bowel function.
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How To Sit On A Chair
To sit on a chair safely:
To help your back and make sitting more comfortable:
- Try to get up and change position regularly
- Try to sit right back in the chair
- Put a rolled up towel in the small curve at the bottom of your spine
When To See A Doctor
Any chronic low back pain ought to be checked by a doctor, especially if your symptoms interfere with your daily activities. By properly identifying a pinched nerve and the possible underlying cause, your doctor can then direct you to treatments that can help.
If youre currently undergoing treatment for a pinched nerve in your lower back, its also important to see your doctor if symptoms worsen or dont improve within 4 to 6 weeks.
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Seeking Relief: Will You Get Pain Medication
In the emergency room, doctors typically start with prescribing lower level medications. These are similar to the ones youd buy at the pharmacy. Often, they dont significantly reduce pain, and patients are disappointed.
Strong pain medications, like opioids and benzodiazepines, have tight restrictions for prescription, and are not routinely prescribed to people with back pain. Research has shown that medication such as opioids and benzodiazepines can be harmful when given as first-line treatments for back pain.
People often leave the ED unhappy because they dont get any relief or diagnosis for their pain . Patient review forms from the ED often say they didnt do anything for me.
If theres no medical emergency, the advice to stay as active as you can and to not even get an x-ray doesnt seem worth 5 hours in the waiting room.
When To See A Spine Specialist For Chronic Back Pain
Sometimes back pain comes on quick, and you know exactly what caused it. After some stretching, resting and pain relievers, you’ll remember to bend with your knees next time.
But, other times, people experiencing back pain are often left thinking: I don’t even remember when the pain started or what I did to cause it. The reality is that the source of you back pain may not always be evident which can also make it hard to know when it’s time to see an expert.
Dr. Hwang says the following five signs likely indicate that it’s time to see a spine specialist for your back pain:
1. Your pain is severe. While some back pain is only mild to moderate, severe back pain is when your pain is constant, intense or gets worse when you’re resting or at night.
2. Your pain is persistent. If your back pain lasts longer than three months, it’s considered chronic and may require a tailored treatment plan.
3. Your pain isn’t isolated to your back. If your pain is traveling down your leg, you have numbness or weakness in your hips or legs, or you’re experiencing tingling in your legs and feet, it may be a sign that there’s pressure on your spine.
4. Everyday activities have become difficult. If your back pain is already affecting routine activities, don’t let it get so debilitating that it keeps you from doing things you enjoy.
- Find a Houston Methodist spine specialist that can treat your back pain at a location convenient for you
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Why Back Pain Requires A Team Approach To Care
Whether back pain requires surgery or is manageable with conservative treatment, its important to see a spine specialist for diagnosis and care. The doctors at our Spine Center work as a team with experts in nerve, muscle, and bone conditions, as well as nurses and physical therapists who work closely with patients to manage symptoms and reduce the risk of recurrence.
Each week, our multidisciplinary team meets to discuss challenging cases and educate each other on the latest research and techniques. Together, we see a range of patients with complex medical needs. For example, if a patient with a spinal infection is taking a medication that suppresses the immune system, such as immunotherapy for cancer, we work together to find an effective treatment that is safe for their unique needs.
Seeking Help For Lower Back Pain
You may not need to seek help from a health professional for lower back pain. Most people find their lower back pain improves by itself within a few weeks. But if there’s no improvement after two to three weeks or the pain is getting worse, seek advice from a GP or physiotherapist. It’s also worth seeking help if your back pain is stopping you from doing normal activities, or if it goes on longer than six weeks.
Physiotherapists are often best placed to help with back pain. In some areas, you may be able to self-refer to a physiotherapist on the NHS, whereas in others you need a referral through your GP. You can also choose to pay for private physiotherapy.
There are some circumstances when you should always see a doctor straightaway for back pain though. These include if:
- you have numbness or tingling around your bottom or genitals
- you cant control your bladder or bowels
- youre unsteady when you walk, or your legs or feet feel weak, you have sudden, severe lower back pain
- youve been in a major accident, such as a traffic collision or fall
- you have osteoporosis
- theres a visible deformity in your back
- the pain continues when youre lying down or overnight, disturbing your sleep
- you have a history of cancer or have had a recent bacterial infection
- you also have a fever, chills or unexplained weight loss
These can be signs of more serious problems.
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Find Out How To Spot Red Flags That Can Indicate A Serious Condition
Here’s how to tell if your back pain may be something serious
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In many cases, back pain can be as commonplace as a mild headache, a sneeze here and there, or eye strain. In fact, non-specific low back pain is a frequent ailment. One study reports that the lifetime prevalence of chronic low back pain is as high as 84%, making ones chances of experiencing discomfort at one time or another pretty high.
Then there are those other times, when the back pain just doesnt feel right and your gut is saying that something more is going on. Many people have been known to go to the emergency room when experiencing low back painin 2012, a study found that low back pain accounted for 3.15% of all emergency visits in the United States. When you consider how many conditions can land someone in the ER, that number is fairly substantial.
Lets say that youre experiencing a significant amount of back pain, wondering, How do I know if my back pain is serious? This guide will help you decide if it warrants a trip to your doctor or the emergency room.
Back Pain Symptoms That May Indicate A Serious Problem
See your doctor if back pain doesnt improve within 2 weeks of developing. There are times when back pain can be a symptom of a serious medical problem.
Symptoms that can indicate a more serious medical problem are:
These tips can help ease back pain when it happens. They can also help you prevent back pain in the first place.
Heavy briefcases, laptop bags, suitcases, and purses can add unnecessary stress and strain to your neck and spine.
Try to reduce what you need to carry, and use bags that distribute the weight more evenly, such as a backpack. If you can, use a bag with wheels to keep weight off your back entirely.
Work your core
The muscles in and around your abdomen and back help keep you upright and carry you through your physical activities. Strengthening them can also reduce the chances of pain, strain, or damage to your back.
Improve your posture
- have been diagnosed with a specific condition like arthritis
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When Should I See My Doctor
If you have back pain and have lost feeling or movement in your limbs or are having problems controlling your bowels or bladder, call triple 000 immediately and ask for an ambulance.
You should see your doctor or other health care professional for further advice if:
- your pain bothers you
- your back pain doesnt improve after a few weeks or worsens
- you have symptoms such as weight loss, tingling or numbness in the legs, or problems with bladder and/or bowel control
- you have osteoporosis
You should see your doctor as soon as possible, if you have a history of cancer, are prone to infection, or use intravenous drugs.
For most people, back pain will resolve in a few weeks with appropriate self-care. After 2 months, 9 out of 10 people will recover from back pain.
Ways To Manage Low Back Pain At Home
Back pain is one of the most common physical ailments. Studies show that eight in 10 Americans have back pain at some point in their lives, usually in the lower back.
Sudden or severe back pain should be checked by a doctor or a physical therapist. That also goes for pain that wonât go away.
But sometimes you can treat nagging pain and discomfort on your own.
Wilson Ray, MD, chief of spine surgery for the Department of Neurological Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, says home remedies â tend to be better when they’re combined than alone.â
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Maintain Correct Posture During Activities
To protect your lower back from injury, its important to maintain proper posture when performing physical activitiesespecially if you play sports or have a job that requires repetitive motions. Avoid slouching as much as possible and aim to keep your spine erect. When lifting, bend and straighten from the knees, not the waist. And be sure to move your hips when twisting from side to side.
What Is Back Pain
Back pain refers to pain that you may feel in your back or spine. It is a very common problem: 1 in 6 Australians report having back problems, and 4 out of 5 experience it sometime in their life. While both men and women report that they experience back problems, it is more commonly reported by people 25 years and older.
Back pain can be grouped into different categories. Lower back pain refers to pain felt in the lower part of the spine . Back problems can also affect the upper back , the neck as well as the tailbone .
People experience back pain in different ways. Some people say it feels like a sharp pain other people report aches or spasms. You may feel stiff, or find it hard to turn or bend in certain directions. In some cases, such as sciatica, pain can travel down one or both your legs.
Back pain can impact you physically and mentally. People suffering from back pain may feel irritable or short-tempered. They may worry about whether the pain will control their life and may experience feelings of helplessness.
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Start These 2 Simple But Very Effective Exercises Now
What you can do now at this point is to practice these 2 simple exercises. They are among many specific and targeted exercises from the eBook which are the Seated Twist and the Lying Twist. They will help you both to loosen, strengthen and stabilize your spine, making it much easier for you to turn and reach to avoid triggering another spasm.
Reducing your back spasms will also reduce muscle guarding, a major factor which causes many to suffer from recurring pain in the morning.
The Seated and Lying Twist exercises help to release tight, lower back muscles which can fatigue and trigger a spasm. If you suffer from them, you may find that even these simple movements can be difficult to execute in full range.
As with all exercises, dont force yourself to perform the full stretch right away. You may cause more pain by doing this. Work your way up one degree or inch at a time very slowly over several days. Remember, your body is NOT accustomed to such movement.
It is common to trigger yourself by reaching or moving in a twisted position due to excessive tightness. They can strike during even the most mundane and simple of action such as reaching for a pen on the floor. These exercises help you to improve these tight areas to protect you.
- Dont Bend and Lift the Wrong Way. Try a Safer Way to Lift.
STRETCH AND STRENGTHEN THE MUSCLES THAT ARE PRONE TO SPASM WHILE CONDITIONING THE CORE MUSCLES THAT PROTECT YOU
Back spasms are NOT a quick fix problem.