Urgent Advice: Ask For An Urgent Gp Appointment Or Get Help From 111 If:
You have back pain and:
- a high temperature
- you’ve lost weight without trying to
- there’s a lump or swelling in your back or your back has changed shape
- the pain does not improve after resting or is worse at night
- the pain is made worse when sneezing, coughing or pooing
- the pain is coming from the top of your back , rather than your lower back
Answers To Common Back Pain Questions
More than eight in 10 people will experience upper, mid, or low back pain at some point in their lives. Low back pain is the most common back pain. In most cases, the pain goes away over time. If your back pain is severe or does not improve, you may need medical care. Here are answers to some common questions about back pain and tips on when to seek help.
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.
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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.
Massage For Lower Back Pain
Massage has been proven as one of the effective means for alleviating lower back pain. Massage can provide effective pain relief and healing of low back pain caused by strains and tensions of the back muscles. There are two major types of massage used in treatment or reduction of lower back pain. They are:
Quadratus Lumborum Muscle Massage to Relieve Lower Back Pain
This type of massage for lower back pain helps a lot in reduction and elimination of adhesions and contractures habouring in the QL muscles. This state can be caused by repetitive strainious injuries, bending frequently, other traumatic injuries that cause damage to muscles and structures found in the iliolumbar part or the lower back through accident or slip and fall and healing state after traumatic muscle strains.
Gluteus Medius Massage
Request your physiotherapist to give more time in performing these two types of massage. You will experienced a great relief from back pains if performed well.
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You’ve Been In Pain For Over A Week
Most back pain will subside after a few days, but if you’ve been experiencing pain for over a week, then it’s time to call a doctor. Your doctor will perform any examinations or tests required to help get to the bottom of your pain before it could become a bigger problem. As is the case with many health conditions, prevention and addressing problems early is key.
Er Or Not: Severe Back Pain
Should you go to the ER for back pain? In this episode of ER or Not, emergency room physician Dr. Troy Madsen details the two symptoms you should be looking for that could be signs of something requiring immediate emergency care. The second one might surprise you.
May 11, 2018
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Sensations That Might Indicate A Medical Emergency
1. Sharp pain rather than a dull ache: This could indicate a torn muscle or ligament, or a problem with an internal organ in the back or side.2. Radiating pain: This pain “moves” or shoots to the glutes or legs, which could indicate a nerve compression condition.
3. Sudden weakness in the legs: Limb weakness can be caused by compressed nerves in the spine due to conditions like sciatica or spinal stenosis. However, sudden leg weakness could also indicate a stroke.4. Incontinence: Back pain paired with inability to control the bowels or bladder might be a sign of serious nerve compression or a spine infection, such as discitis or meningitis.5. Numbness or pins and needles in the groin or glutes: This is known as saddle anesthesia and is also a sign of a serious nerve or spine condition.
If you have leg weakness, incontinence, and numbness together, you might have cauda equina syndrome, a serious illness characterized by spinal cord nerve damage. This is a medical emergency, and patients usually need surgery immediately to decompress the nerves and reduce permanent damage.
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Sudden Onset And Wont Go Away
Again, some people have experienced minor back pain for years. But sometimes it can appear suddenly and rapidly. This is often a bad sign, especially if a couple of days pass and the pain is not any better.Lets say you are at the gym doing some squats, and pull a muscle, or you hurt your back doing yard work. These things can cause your back to hurt a lot even though your back was fine before that incident.If the pain persists for more than a day without showing signs of improving, then come to Emerald Coast Urgent Care.
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People Tend To Ignore Back Pain Problems
There is a tendency for people to tolerate their back pain because they may not understand the potential for real problems that can come from it. While back pain can be temporary and mild, it is always a good idea to pay attention to the signs of something more. Remember, if the pain is unbearable, there is a reason for it, and the best thing to do is make an emergency visit to avoid further complications.
Symptoms Of Back Labor Vs Back Pain Or Typical Labor
If youre wondering what it feels like when your babys sunny-side up or how you can tell the difference between back labor and plain ole pregnancy back pain, here are some pointers to keep in mind:
- Back labor will set in when youre actively in labor. Dont worry that the aches and pains that you may be feeling in your back are a sure sign of back labor theyre not. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists ticks them off as regular back pain that comes from strain on your back muscles, weak abdominal muscles, and pregnancy hormones.
- Heres where it can get confusing: Regular contractions come and go, giving you time to catch your breath between contractions. But back labor may not give you that rest. You may feel a constant pain in your lower back that becomes especially intense at the height of a contraction.
- If you go into labor preterm you probably wont have back labor. Some experts says that back labor is more likely if youve passed week 40.
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Certain Medical Conditions Accompanied By Back Pain May Require An Er Visit
For individuals with the following medical conditions, back pain may indicate a more serious issue. If you are experiencing severe or chronic lower back pain and have any of these medical conditions, you should visit an emergency department:
- Any recent injury or trauma, especially in the elderly
- History of cancer
- Recent immunosuppression, either from surgery or prescribed drugs
Imaging Studies Do Not Improve Outcomes For Acute Mechanical Low Back Pain
Most patients with acute, mechanical low back pain do not require imaging studies, as the pain usually is self-limited and the findings may not change the treatment plan.
According to the American Board of Internal Medicine, imaging studies within six weeks of pain onset are not recommended, unless red flags are present. Studies have shown that imaging of the lumbar spine before six weeks does not improve outcomes, but does increase healthcare costs.
Furthermore, structural abnormalities are common even among people without low back pain. For example, a herniated disc can be seen on MRI in 25 percent of people who do not have low back pain.
After reviewing the results, some patients may become fixated on the structural abnormality, such as mild arthritis or disc degeneration, which may not even be the source of their pain.
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Youre Also Having Pain While Peeing
Intensesome call it screamingback pain is a telltale sign of a kidney stone trying to make its way through your ureter, says Dr. Ramin. If your back pain occurs in spasms and/or you feel pain when trying to urinate or notice blood in your urine, you may need to head to the ER to be diagnosed and treated, he says. Youll likely be given painkillers and an IV to help flush out the stone.
Lower Back Pain And Cancer
Cancer involving the lumbar spine is not a common cause of back pain. However, in people who have a prior history of cancer, for example, in the breast or prostate, or who have weight loss or loss of appetite along with back pain cancer needs to be considered.
Night pain can be a clue to cancer in the spine. A benign tumor called osteoid osteoma, which most often affects young people, causes pain that tends to respond well to aspirin. Multiple myeloma is a malignancy that occurs when the plasma cells in the bone marrow begin spreading uncontrollably. It is most common in older people, and can cause pain in many parts of the spine. When tumor or infection are suspected, blood tests may be ordered, including a CBC , sedimentation rate , and protein electrophoresis .
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Surgery For Lower Back Pain
Because the vast majority of patients recover from their low back pain with little help from a doctor, the rationale behind choosing surgery must be convincing. Eighty percent of patients with sciatica recover eventually without surgery.
Severe progressive nerve problems, bowel or bladder dysfunction and the cauda equina syndrome make up the most clear-cut indications for back surgery. Back surgery will also be considered if the patients signs and symptoms correlate well with studies such as MRI or electromyogram .
In the most serious cases, when the condition does not respond to other therapies, surgery may well be necessary to relieve pain caused by back problems. Some common procedures include:
- , such as a or removal of a portion of a
- a bone graft that promotes the vertebrae to fuse together
- removal of the lamina to create more space and reduce irritation and inflammation
Treatments For Back Pain
Early treatments for benign back pain include simple things that can be performed at home. Try to rest, reduce activities, rotate ice and heat pack applications, and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or Aleve®. These things may provide some relief and give a chance for strained muscles or ligaments to heal.
If pain continues or becomes unbearable, other treatment options are available including:
- Physical therapy
- Neurostimulation therapy
- Prescribed and managed pain medication
Additional therapies may help to relieve your back pain such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, or myofascial release therapy. Muscle strengthening exercises are excellent for relieving pain and yoga-style exercise can also help with ongoing pain control.
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Abdominal Pain And Preexisting Conditions
Stomach and abdominal pain may be an indication of a more serious issue for individuals with certain medical conditions. If you have any of these medical conditions in combination with severe abdominal pain, you should visit an emergency department immediately:
- Individuals ages 45 years old or older experiencing upper abdominal pain or tightness in the chest
- Individuals who have undergone gastric bypass surgery
- Individuals who recently had endoscopy or abdominal surgery
- Women who are pregnant or who could be pregnant
When To Come To The Er For Back Pain
There are serious medical emergencies that can first present as back pain. Come immediately to the emergency room if your back pain is accompanied by pain in the shoulder or jaw or numbness in the arm or legs. If you have trouble standing, have lost sensation in the groin or have muscle weakness in your legs, seek immediate medical attention. If bowel or bladder control is lost, that is another emergency indicator. Back pain that is accompanied by a fever, nausea or vomiting also required urgent evaluation.
If your back pain is worse when you lay down, there may be something more serious going on. If you have cancer, HIV/AIDS or are taking immunosuppressant drugs or prolonged steroids, back pain should not be ignored. We can also evaluate patients with back pain caused by motor vehicle accident.
Weve got the diagnostic tools to determine the true cause of your back pain, said Dr. Vora. Dont hesitate to come in and let us work to help you start to feel better.
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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.
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.
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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Types Of Back Pain Emergencies
If you experience any of the abovementioned symptoms, your condition may be related to any the following back pain emergencies.
1. Spinal Fracture
Spinal fractures are caused by accidents or high-energy trauma. One of its initial symptoms is severe back pain that gets worse with movement. If the nerves and/or the spinal cord are involved in the fracture, the person may also experience bladder or bowel dysfunction, tingling, weakness in the limbs and numbness.
2. Cauda Equina Syndrome
Cauda equina is the bundle of spinal nerves at the end of the spinal cord. CES occurs due to spinal nerve compression which also disturbs the sensory and motor function of the bladder and lower extremities. At its worst, CES may lead to permanent paralysis. Symptoms of CES include severe low back pain, motor weakness, pain in one or both legs, sensory loss, inability to feel anything in body parts that sit on a saddle, urinary or bowel incontinence, sensory abnormalities in the bladder or rectum and loss of reflexes in the extremities.
3. Severe Herniated Disc
4. Metastatic Spinal Cord Compression
5. Vertebral Osteomyelitis