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When Should You See A Doctor For Back Pain

When Should I See A Doctor If I Have Lower Back Pain

When should you see a doctor for back pain? Penn State Health

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.

Read More On Back Pain

This is a condition whereby the thoracic spine has sclerotics bands – this means that the bones have reacted badly to the growing process.

Doctors also found that because of this, her body had created a ‘bone within a bone’ appearance.

Despite this, no fractures were present and the experts sent the woman for further tests.

It was during these tests that experts found a gene mutation.

This is known as autosomal dominant osteopetrosis, or Albers-Schönbergs disease.

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

Read Also: How To Treat Chronic Back Pain Naturally

Pay Attention To Your Back Pain

With any pain your body experiences, its important to pay attention to it. You should be extra attentive when it comes to your back pain.

While its most likely something simple, keep watch of your symptoms, so you know when to see a doctor. Catching a problem early always makes it easier to fix, so be smart about your health and use this guide to track your symptoms.

If youd like more health-related articles like this, browse through the rest of our website today!

Contact Citrus Spine To Discuss Your Back Pain

Medical Procedures

If you have experienced any of the warning signs above, it may be time to schedule an appointment with specialists at Citrus Spine. Our board-certified healthcare providers will listen to your concerns and review non-surgical or surgical options with you to create a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

If you are experiencing back pain symptoms, you should never ignore or try to suffer through the pain. Always consult your doctor and have open conversations. If you are not satisfied with your doctor or require specialized care, it is recommended to get a second opinion from a back pain specialist.

Dr. Toumbis is a board certified, fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in cervical, thoracic and lumbar surgery. He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from New York University in 1987, then continued on to receive his Masters in Natural Sciences as well as a PhD in Experimental Pathology from State University of New York at Buffalo. He completed his medical degree at Wayne State University School of Medicine with a distinction in Biomedical Research. After moving to Florida to complete his internship and residency in orthopedics at the University of Florida Shands Hospital, he went on to pursue a fellowship at Cleveland Clinics Florida Spine Institute. He moved to Citrus County and has been in private practice since 2005.

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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.

Who To See For Sciatica

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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Ask About Specific Red

While rare, certain types of sciatic nerve pain may indicate a medical emergency and require immediate treatment. Ask your doctor if there are specific red-flag symptoms that you need to look out for. Understanding these symptoms can help you make a timely visit to the doctor and prevent serious complications.

See When Sciatica Pain Is a Medical Emergency

As a general rule, if you have worsening neurological signs and symptoms, if neurological deficits occur in both legs, if you have bladder or bowel incontinence, or if symptoms occur after an accident or trauma, you should seek immediate medical attention. These signs and symptoms may indicate serious medical conditions such as cauda equina syndrome, which must be treated on an urgent basis to preserve leg function.

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When to See a Doctor for Back Pain

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How Do I Know My Back Pain Is Serious

Whether your back pain is intermittent, piercing or achy and constant, youre probably wondering if it should be a cause for concern. However, the severity of your symptoms isnt the only indicator of whether your back pain is serious.

For instance, you can experience intense pain from a pulled back muscle but this will usually go away after several days of treating it at home. But, with something like lumbar degenerative disc disease, you can experience a dull, moderate ache in your back, which wont necessarily be intense but could become worse over time if left untreated. In this case, youd want to see a doctor to discuss a long-term treatment plan.

If youre experiencing back pain, you should consider seeing a doctor if you have recently or are currently experiencing:

Ix Referred Pain To The Lumbar Spine

Pain in the area of the lumbar spine may be due to important problems that are actually unrelated to the back.Referred pain occurs when a problem in one place in the body causes pain in another place. The pain travels down a nerve. For example, a pinched nerve in the neck may cause pain that is felt in the arm or hand. Sources of referred pain may include abdominal aneurysm , tubal pregnancy, kidney stones, pancreatitis, and colon cancer. Clues to these maladies include pain that waxes and wanes over a short period, with frequent peaks of intense pain, weight loss, abnormalities found during abdominal exam, and trace amounts of blood in the urine.

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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.

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

Lower Back Pain That Won

Most people have experienced back pain at some point in their lives. It’s 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 it’s time to stop home remedies and see a physician?

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

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Top Orthopedic Doctors For Back Pain In Northeast Tennessee

If you are experiencing back pain, its best to see an orthopedic physician for diagnosis and treatment. In most cases, back pain doesnt just go away on its own. There is often an underlying issue that needs to be addressed.

At Watauga Orthopaedics, we have the best orthopedic doctors in the tri-cities area. Find out what makes us the best in the field in Johnson City, Kingsport, and Bristol. Call 282-9011 today to make an appointment or request one now. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Back Pain Treatment At Home

The good news is that, given time, most back pain gets better on its own. Over-the-counter pain medication may help ease your symptoms. You can also try applying hot or cold packs to reduce your back pain. Both heat and cold stimulate the nerves so use whichever you prefer and see what works best for you. Doctors more commonly recommend heat to relax tight muscles, but you may find ice reduces swelling. Use your heat or cold pack for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Dont apply the heat or cold treatment directly to skin. Rest and avoiding activities that especially put strain on your back may also help while you heal. However, doctors dont generally recommend bed rest when your back hurts.

  • What can an orthopedic doctor do for a pinched nerve?
  • 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, or orthopaedic physician assistant.

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    Pain That Keeps You Up At Night

    Back pain that keeps you up at night, or gets worse when you rest, is generally not life-threatening. That said, it’s best to get it checked, especially when accompanied by fever.

    Back or neck pain with fever may be a sign of an infection such as meningitis. Infections can get serious, fast, so don’t delay that call to your doctor prompt diagnosis and treatment may save your life.

    When Should I See A Doctor About Back Pain

    When should you see a doctor for back pain?
    Topics in this Post

    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.

    • Arthritis

      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.

    Topics in this Post

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    When You See Your Doctor For Back Pain

    Your doctor will look at your back and ask you questions about how intense your pain is. They may also look at how easy it is for you to sit, stand, and move around. This will help them figure out where your pain is coming from.

    To find the cause, your doctor might recommend other tests such as:

    CT or MRI scans. These check for issues with your bones, disks, tissue, muscles, tendons, blood vessels, nerves, or ligaments.

    X-rays. This test can help find arthritis or broken bones.

    Electromyography . This test measures your muscles’ response to electrical impulses from your nerves. It can show whether you have pinched or compressed nerves along your spine.

    Blood tests. Your doctor will look for infections that could cause back pain.

    Bone scans. Doctors rarely use these for back pain, but they may help to find tumors or breaks caused by osteoporosis.

    After your doctor figures out what the issue is, theyâll discuss treatment options with you. For minor cases of back pain, they may suggest over-the-counter pain relievers like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or a heating pad.

    For more serious conditions, your doctor may give you stronger medication like narcotics, antidepressants, or muscle relaxers.

    You may need to see a specialist to understand your condition better. Your doctor may suggest you make an appointment with:

    • An orthopedist, a doctor who specializes in bones, muscles, and joints
    • A rheumatologist, who specializes in arthritis and similar conditions

    How Is Back Pain Diagnosed

    Your health professional will first assess your back pain. They may ask questions including:

    • When did your back pain begin?
    • What activities were you doing differently to normal before your back pain started?
    • How would you describe the pain? Is there tingling or numbness?
    • What makes the pain better or worse?

    If your pain doesnt settle after a few weeks or starts getting worse, ask your doctor or other health care professional about other management options. You may be referred for tests if there is reason to suspect a more serious cause for your back pain.

    In most situations, imaging such as X-ray, CT or MRI scans are not helpful unless there is an obvious injury or strain.

    Unnecessary tests can be expensive, and many investigations will show changes in your spine that reflect the normal passage of time, rather than damage to your spine.

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