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Who Should I Go See For Back Pain

Signs You Need To See A Chiropractor For Back Pain

When should I see a doctor for my back pain?
  • Your back pain began because of a sudden trauma, like a car accident or slip and fall.
  • Your pain persists.
  • Fever along with back pain.
  • When you bend or flex the back, the pain becomes worse.
  • It is vital for you to know what type of pain is common for you and what type of pain is abnormal.

    If your everyday aches and pains become more intense, it may be time to visit a Chiropractor Near You.

    Back pain should not keep you from living your normal everyday life or stop you from doing the activities that you enjoy.

    Recognizing signs early on will help you to take a proactive step towards your spine health.

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    When Its Severe Pain

    If your pain is severe and ongoing, its time to see a specialist such as an orthopedist or a physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor, which is sometimes called a physiatrist, Dr. Gordon says.

    An orthopedist is a surgeon who is devoted to the prevention, diagnosis and surgical and non-surgical treatment of disorders of the musculoskeletal system your bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles.

    Some orthopedists are generalists, while others specialize in certain areas of the body such as hip and knee, foot and ankle or shoulder and elbow, Dr. Gordon says.

    A physiatrist is a medical doctor who has completed training in the specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation and may be subspecialty certified in other areas, such as brain injury medicine, neuromuscular medicine or sports medicine.

    Physiatrists focus treatment on function and treat the whole person, not just the problem area. They have broad medical expertise that allows them to treat disabling conditions throughout a persons lifetime.

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    What Causes Lower Back Pain And When Should I Get Help

    Orthopedic back and spine treatment usually starts with conservative approaches that include pain management, physical and occupational therapies, and rehabilitation. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons reminds us that chronic back pain can get worse if left untreated, so it’s important to visit a doctor early on who can start you with the right treatment.

    Some of the most common causes of lower back pain include:

    You Had A Fall Accident Or Trauma

    When Should You See a Doctor for Back Pain?

    If you’ve recently been injured via a fall, blow or accident, the back or neck pain that follows should be checked by a doctor as soon as possible. Even if you were able to walk away intact, any new spine pain may be related to the impact.

    If you have osteoporosis and have recently fallen or been in an accident, there is an increased likelihood of a spine injury.

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    Physiatry Offers A Holistic Approach To Improving Health

    If you experience chronic pain from an injury or medical condition, a physiatrist may be able to help you find relief without surgery. Physiatrists are medical doctors who teach you how to safely strengthen muscles, stabilize joints, rehabilitate injuries, and increase your flexibility. According to Carolyn Keeler, DO, a physiatrist at Duke Spine Center in Durham, physiatry treatments aim to reduce inflammation and other causes of pain.

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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 strongermedication 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

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    When Is The Right Time To Seek Help For Your Pain

    Dr. Dowdell says its rare that anyone comes to him after a week of back pain. Its more common that people have been living with pain for months or even years, and finally they decide theyve had enough.

    As with many health conditions, though, the sooner you get seen by a doctor, the better. If you get help within the first few weeks or months of having ongoing pain, you might be able to prevent it from becoming a lifelong battle, he says.

    Whats more, having spine pain for a long time can create pain pathways from your back to your brain, says Dr. Dowdell. As pain signals travel back and forth, the pathways get more and more well established, which can make pain harder to treat later on.

    A final note from Dr. Dowdell: Whenever you decide to seek help, you should understand that treatment may be a bit of a journey.

    Youre not going to walk into the doctors office and walk out with a quick diagnosis, he says. When youre in pain, that message can be hard to hear. But treating back pain is something that needs to be done one step at a time.

    How Common Is Back Pain

    When should you see a doctor for back pain?

    If youre like most Americans, youll probably have back pain at some point in your life. Four in five adults suffer from low back pain. Luckily, most back pain goes away within one to two weeks. But if your pain is long-term or chronicand if you have certain symptoms with your low back painyou may want to see a spine specialist.

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    Why Does My Back Hurt

    There are various causes of back pain, including muscle pain with or without muscles spasms, disc pain, joint pain, or nerve pain. In most cases, these are not harmful or dangerous.

    Muscle pain is the most common acute back pain. The period of acute pain is usually limited and may be treated at home or by primary care doctors. Sometimes, these patients may be referred to doctors who specialize in back pain. Some back pain can be a symptom of a more serious problem, like a fracture, infection, or cancer in the spine, said H. Michael Guo, MD, a Duke physiatrist who specializes in spine care. These patients should be seen by spine doctors. Fortunately, spine infections and cancer are very rare and usually only affect people with special risk factors. Spine fractures are also rare and may be associated with thinned spine bones or injuries.

    Who Will Likely Refer You To A Physical Therapist

    Generally, the first course of action for ongoing back pain is six weeks of physical therapy, plus at-home treatments like those mentioned earlier in the article.

    can also do assessments of how youre sitting, standing and movingand show you how to improve your workspace and posture, for instance. And theyll create an exercise or movement program thats designed to help your back feel better.

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    A Recent Study On Chiropractic Care For Low Back Pain

    A 2018 study published in JAMA Network Open is among the latest to weigh in on the pros and cons of chiropractic care for treating low back pain. Researchers enrolled 750 active-duty military personnel who complained of back pain. Half were randomly assigned to receive usual care while the other half received usual care plus up to 12 chiropractic treatments.

    After six weeks of treatment, those assigned to receive chiropractic care:

    • reported less pain intensity
    • experienced less disability and more improvement in function
    • reported higher satisfaction with their treatment
    • needed less pain medicine.

    While no serious side effects were reported, about 10% of those receiving chiropractic care described adverse effects . Five percent of those receiving usual care had similar complaints.

    Common Treatments For Low Back Pain

    12 Signs That You Should Go See A Chiropractor For Your Back Pain

    Combining information from the patients medical history, physical exam, and possible diagnostic tests, the healthcare provider will recommend a course of back care that fits the patients needs.

    Non-surgical treatments for low back pain will be recommended first. Common non-surgical treatments include:

    • Physical therapy, which typically works to strengthen muscles and mobilize joints in order to better support the spine and minimize painful movements.

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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!

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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.

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    Your Back Pain Interferes With Day

    Quality of life is important, and if normal routine activities are becoming too much of a challenge, then its time to see someone who can help. Daily activities like walking, getting out of bed or bending over to reach objects shouldnt be a laborious effort. A back pain specialist will be able to pinpoint the source of your pain and offer solutions.

    Indications For When To See A Spine Surgeon For Low Back Pain

    When to See a Doctor for Back Pain

    Low back surgery is only capable of correcting anatomical conditions that result in either spinal instability or nerve pinching. If either of these problems is present on an imaging study and the patient’s symptoms fit with the clinical and radiographic picture, then spine surgery may be indicated. If there is no identifiable anatomic cause of a patient’s low back pain , then back surgery is not an option. If non-surgical treatments fail to alleviate a patient’s pain, this is not in and of itself an indication for having spine surgery. There must also be an anatomical lesion that can be identified as the cause of the patient’s low back pain.

    See Surgery for Lower Back Pain

    The decision on whether or not to undergo back surgery for low back pain is almost always the patient’s decision. Only in rare instances – such as cauda equina syndrome or an abdominal aortic aneurysm – is immediate medical attention required. The spine surgeon should be able to give the patient enough information about the pros and cons of the procedure to assist the patient with his or her decision making process. A spine surgeon who be either an orthopedic spine surgeon or a neurosurgeon that specializes in spine surgery.

    See Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Treatment

    Important factors that patients may want to consider prior to seeing a spine surgeon for their low back pain include:

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    What Are Some Other Aspects Of Chiropractic Care

    I spend about 20 to 25% of my time talking with and listening to my patients. We talk about flexibility we talk about strength-building we talk about balance. I look at your ergonomics: What do you do for work? How do you bend, turn, lift? Do you ride in a car all day? Do you sit in front of a computer? I try to understand what may be contributing to the pain or other symptoms you may be experiencing.

    Often Im trying to help patients by encouraging them: Yes, you can do this, or When something like this happens, try to do this instead of that. That way, theyre not anticipating pain and causing more pain and more muscle spasms. Pain scientists have found that anticipation of pain can lead to more episodes, more muscle spasms, more headaches, and so forth. So teaching patients how to think about pain is important.

    Our goals focus largely on returning people to the activities that are important in their lives, whether those are job-related, family or socially oriented, or recreational in nature. Active people are more healthy and more happy.

    Why Go To An Orthopedic Doctor

    There are a variety of medical doctors who treat specific sets of conditions. Because it is impossible for one physician to treat all types of conditions and injuries that affect the human body, doctors specialize in subfields of medicine. Through this specialization, a physician becomes an expert in a distinct subfield of medicine and can diagnose, treat, and prevent issues within that subfield. One such field is orthopedics.

    An orthopedic physician is an expert on the musculoskeletal system . Because back pain is most often caused by injury or damage to one of these components in the back, orthopedic physicians are often referred to for diagnosis and treatment.

    Using advanced education and training, orthopedic physicians can pinpoint the exact cause of the back pain. Back pain can be caused by a variety of reasons, including a fracture, herniated disc, muscle strain, or damage to connective tissue. Orthopedic doctors can correctly diagnose the exact cause of the back pain and recommend effective treatment for it.

    Orthopedic physicians have access to state-of-the-art and advanced medical technology and treatments that are proven to be effective for musculoskeletal issues. Because of this, when a patient has back pain, orthopedic physicians can offer treatments that will give fast and effective results. Using various methods for pain reduction, which include injections, medication, and physical therapy, orthopedic physicians can offer long-term relief from back pain.

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    Imaging And Blood Tests

    Most people do not need additional testing however, sometimes doctors order tests to rule out a specific cause for your pain or to confirm a cause for your back pain. Your doctor may order the following.

    • X-rays only show bones and can help diagnose:
    • Broken bones or fractures.
    • Changes due to aging.
    • Changes in the alignment of the spine.
  • MRI uses energy from a powerful magnet to produce signals that create a series of cross-sectional images. These images or slices are analyzed by a computer to produce an image of the back. MRI can help diagnose damage or disease of the soft tissues, such as the discs, ligaments, and nerve roots in and around the spine.
  • Computerized axial tomography uses a scanner to take images of the back at different angles. The images are analyzed by a computer to create three-dimensional views of the back. As with MRI, CAT scans help diagnose problems with the spinal canal and the surrounding tissues.
  • Electrophysiological tests, such as an electromyography or EMG, which helps measure the electrical activity in muscle. This test helps doctors check for problems with the muscles and nerves.
  • Bone scans use small amounts of radioactive materials to help doctors see more details in the spine, such as fractures and infections.
  • Blood tests help identify a possible cause for the back pain, such as inflammatory or medical disorders.
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    Should You See A Chiropractor For Back Pain

    Which Doctor Should I Go See For Low Back Pain?

    Nearly everyone suffers from back pain at some point. One treatment option is chiropractic care, which often includes spinal manipulation , exercise advice, and self-care recommendations. A review of research found that spinal manipulation can help relieve pain and improve function in people with acute low-back pain, one of the most common types of back pain.

    Duke chiropractor Eugene Lewis, DC, MPH, answers questions about how chiropractic care can help.

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