When To See Your Doctor About Back Pain
You should see your doctor or physiotherapist if you have back pain that is not getting better after a few weeks of trying simple exercises and following the tips for a healthy back.
Although rare, back pain can be a sign of a more serious condition. If you experience any of the following ‘red flag’ symptoms with your back pain then please see a doctor urgently.
|‘Red flag’ symptoms see a doctor urgently if you have:|
You should also see your doctor or physiotherapist if:
- your pain is worse in your lower leg than your back and is not easing
- you have weakness and numbness in one of your legs
- you have a rash in the same area as your pain.
Things You Should Know
Ideas about back pain have changed a lot over recent years. It is a good idea to read more about back pain as you may be surprised to discover that some of the things you thought were bad for the back are actually not a problem . Examples include:
- sitting is not bad for the back
- poor posture cannot injure the back
- the back is designed to bend, twist and lift
- moving and using the back makes it more healthy.
Read more at 10-facts-about-back-pain or 15 things you didnt know about back pain.
How Do Chiropractors Help Reduce Back Pain
Chiropractic Doctors are specially trained physicians whose expertise lies in treating conditions and injuries to the Musculoskeletal and Nervous system, which includes the upper, middle, and lower back. Chiropractors use treatment methods such as Spinal Manipulation, Chiropractic Adjustments, Exercise Therapy, Electrical Muscle Stimulation, Ultrasound, Spinal Decompression, and more to help reduce back pain in patients.
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When To Go To The Emergency Room For Back Pain
Back pain is a very common problem that affects almost everybody. It may be a simple and common complaint among many, but there are times when back pain becomes a symptom of a serious underlying condition. So how do we know if our backache warrants a visit to the emergency room?
The most important thing to do during an occurrence of a back ache is to monitor the symptoms. Can you tolerate your pain? Does the quality of pain resemble soreness, fatigue, or ache? Was there an actual identifiable cause such as engaging in a high-intensity sport a day or two before the onset of pain?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, its highly probable that you are experiencing muscle spasm or muscle fatigue. In such a case, it would be prudent to get in touch with your doctor, but a trip to the emergency room may be unnecessary.
If however, your backache becomes intolerable and is accompanied by other symptoms such as persistent stiffness, tingling sensation, or numbness, you may need to be provided with highly specialized medical attention or an urgent procedure conducted in an emergency facility.
Here are the common causes of backaches that require emergency medical care.
Slipped disc In between the individual bones that comprise the spine are rubber-like cushions called discs. They prevent each bone of the spine from coming in contact with each other.
Usually, kidney related back pains are accompanied by fever, vomiting, painful urination, and nausea.
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.
Related reading: Get help for back, neck, and leg pain caused by spinal stenosis
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Should I Go To Emerald Coast Urgent Care For Back Pain Dont Wait Go Now
You dont want to mess around with back pain. If you are debating, Should I go to urgent care for back pain, then chances are you should. You know how bad your pain is, and putting off seeing a doctor will only make it worse.It is important to go to urgent care as soon as possible. Here at Emerald Coast Urgent Care, we help people with back pain all the time. Use our contact page to ask us any questions, or walk in today. No appointments necessary!
What Are The Symptoms
Depending on the cause, low back pain can cause a range of symptoms. The pain may be dull or sharp. It may be in one small area or over a broad area. You may have muscle spasms.
Low back pain can also cause leg symptoms, such as pain, numbness, or tingling, often extending below the knee.
A rare but serious problem called cauda equina syndrome can occur if the nerves at the end of the spinal cord are squeezed. Seek emergency treatment if you have weakness or numbness in both legs or you lose bladder or bowel control.
Most low back pain is short-term and will go away in a few weeks. It is more likely to become long-lasting if you are depressed or under stress.
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Seeking An Explanation: Will You Get Scans And Tests
If you go to emergency, you may have blood and urine tests, because theyre a good way to rule out anything nasty. They can quickly detect markers that tell doctors if you are fighting an infection, or theres a significant change to any of the systems that keep you alive, and if thats why youre hurting. They are there to rule out an emergency.
People almost always expect that they will get a scan or x-ray. The expectation that these tests will explain your pain, and why its severe today is not correct. Unless youve had a fall, a car accident, or some other trauma, or there are red flag symptoms present, you likely wont get scans, and probably wont gain much from a trip to the ED.
Emergency departments have limited resources, like MRI scanners, and they need to be available for emergencies. If someone comes into the ED with a possible stroke, and the scanner is being used by someone with back pain, theres a 30-60 minute wait for someone who is in a life and death situation.
What scans and x-rays tell doctors about pain is usually minimal. Its unusual for someone with back pain to have something thats found on a scan that changes the treatment and advice we usually give people.
These Symptoms May Necessitate Emergency Care
Upper back pain and middle back pain, in many cases, will heal with time and rest. Lower back pain, anywhere from your rib cage to your buttocks, can often result from stretching, reaching, lifting or twisting. If your back pain is unrelenting and not helped by rest, or if the pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, you should immediately seek emergency care:
- Bladder or bowel incontinence
- Loss of a neurologic function
- Sudden numbness or weakness
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Family And General Practitioners
When your neck or back pain first starts, your family doctor, general practitioner , or primary care physician is probably your best bet. They may prescribe some painkillers, give you a few exercises to do, and possibly send you to a physical therapist.
If your doctor deems your problem a serious one, they will likely order diagnostic tests and/or refer you on to a specialist such as a rheumatologist or a neurologist. But family doctors can be slow to include new back treatments as they come out.
According to a 2006 study published in Spine Journal. Other than taking your medical history and giving you a physical exam, which are two staples of spine diagnosis, the study found that even as new recommendations were published by leading medical organizations, physicians did not adopt them into their practices.
Because of this, taking a pro-active approach when shopping for spine care may be helpful to you. One way to do this is to research possible diagnostic and treatment options before seeking the doctor. Asking pointed questions while you’re at your appointment is another way.
Acute Back Pain: Short
If your back pain is acute, it probably means your pain came along suddenly. Things like stress, strenuous exercise, an awkward movement or lifting something wrong can all contribute to acute back pain.
Most back pain is diagnosed as acute. With acute back pain, the pain lasts no longer than six weeks. And in most cases, the underlying cause of the pain doesnt pose a serious or long-term problem.
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Waiting For A Doctors Appointment Later In The Week
If back pain is tolerable and does not cause alarming symptoms or signs, it may be safe to wait for a doctors appointment later in the week or by the following week. It is important not to ignore a back problem evaluating and treating back pain at the earliest can help prevent the problem from becoming chronic. Chronic back conditions can be more challenging to treat.
Er Average Wait Times
ER wait times are approximate and provided for informational purposes only. If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
The ER wait time represents the time it takes to see a qualified medical professional, defined as a Doctor of Medicine , Doctor of Osteopathy , Physician Assistant or Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner .
ER wait times represent a four-hour rolling average updated every 30 minutes, and is defined as the time of patient arrival until the time the patient is greeted by a qualified medical professional. Patients are triaged at arrival and are then seen by a qualified medical professional in priority order based on their presenting complaint and reason for visit.
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Pay Attention To Your Body Mechanics And Posture
Body mechanics are the way you use your body. Posture is the way you sit or stand.
- To prevent a return of low back pain, you will need to take extra care when you lift. When you must lift, bend your knees and flex from your hips. Don’t let your spine slump.
- Back Problems: Proper Lifting
Can Back Pain Lead To Complications
The good news is that most people recover from back pain within a few weeks.1 See your doctor if you experience additional symptoms, such as:
- loss of bowel and/or bladder control
- severe pain that gets worse instead of better over time
- problems with passing urine or bowel movements
- numbness or a pins-and-needles sensation in your legs, back or elsewhere
- unexplained weight loss
- back redness or swelling
For some people, back pain becomes an ongoing problem. Around 1 in every 2 people who experience back pain will experience it again, and for 1 in 5 people, back pain may last beyond 8 to 12 weeks. Possible complications that result from persistent, long-term back pain include:
- dependence on strong pain medicines, such as opioids
- reduced quality of life
- more difficulty finding work and keeping active
See your healthcare professional if your back pain is unresolved and limits your movement and activities. A health care professional can help you find ways to manage your pain and regain a better quality of life.
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Stretch And Strengthen Your Back
When you no longer have acute pain, you may be ready for gentle strengthening exercises for your stomach, back, and legs, and perhaps for some stretching exercises. Exercise may not only help decrease low back pain but also may help you recover faster, prevent reinjury to your back, and reduce the risk of disability from back pain.
Walking is the simplest and perhaps the best exercise for the low back. Your doctor or a physical therapist can recommend more specific exercises to help your back muscles get stronger. These may include a series of simple exercises called core stabilization. The muscles of your trunk, or core, support your spine. Strengthening these muscles can improve your posture, keep your body in better balance, and decrease your chance of injury.
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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Back Exercises And Stretches
Simple back exercises and stretches can often help reduce back pain. These can be done at home as often as you need to.
For information about exercises and stretches that can help, see:
A GP may be able to provide information about back exercises if you’re unsure what to try, or you may want to consider seeing a physiotherapist for advice. Read about how to get access to physiotherapy.
Doing regular exercise alongside these stretches can also help keep your back strong and healthy. Activities such as walking, swimming, yoga and pilates are popular choices.
Should You See A Chiropractor For Low Back Pain
If youve ever seen a doctor for back pain, youre not alone. An estimated 85% of people experience back pain severe enough to see a doctor for at some point in their life. Yet despite how common it is, the precise cause of pain is often unclear. And a single, best treatment for most low back pain is unknown. For these reasons, doctors recommendations tend to vary. “Standard care” includes a balance of rest, stretching and exercise, heat, pain relievers, and time. Some doctors also suggest trying chiropractic care. The good news is that no matter what treatment is recommended, most people with a recent onset of back pain are better within a few weeks often within a few days.
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Back Pain Treatment In Westlake And Avon Ohio
Orthopaedic Associates, Inc. has an excellent orthopedic team comprised of 13 board-certified, fellowship-trained surgeons who deeply care for our patients. We take your treatment seriously and will stop at nothing to ensure you find relief.
If you are ready to say goodbye to back pain, call us today at 892-1440 to make an appointment. You can also request an appointment online. We look forward to serving you in our Westlake and Avon clinics!
How To Relieve Back Pain
The following tips may help reduce your back pain and speed up your recovery:
- stay as active as possible and try to continue your daily activities this is 1 of the most important things you can do, as resting for long periods is likely to make the pain worse
- try exercises and stretches for back pain other activities such as walking, swimming, yoga and pilates may also be helpful
- take anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen remember to check the medicine is safe for you to take and ask a pharmacist if you’re not sure
- use hot or cold compression packs for short-term relief you can buy these from a pharmacy, or a hot water bottle or a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth or towel will work just as well
Although it can be difficult, it helps if you stay optimistic and recognise that your pain should get better. People who manage to stay positive despite their pain tend to recover quicker.
Back pain usually gets better on its own within a few weeks or months and you may not need to see a doctor or other healthcare professional.
But it’s a good idea to get help if:
- the pain does not start to improve within a few weeks
- the pain stops you doing your day-to-day activities
- the pain is very severe or gets worse over time
- you’re worried about the pain or struggling to cope
If you see a GP they will ask about your symptoms, examine your back and discuss possible treatments.
They may refer you to a specialist doctor or a physiotherapist for further help.
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