When To See A Specialist For Lower Back Pain
If you’re experiencing lower back pain that’s not responding to rest and self-care, it’s time to consider seeing a spine specialist.
“A spine specialist will likely perform a physical exam as well as one or more imaging scans to diagnose the root cause of your lower back pain. Depending on your diagnosis, he or she will then design a treatment plan aimed at alleviating your pain and preventing it from disrupting the everyday activities you enjoy,” says Dr. Palmer.
Should You Go To A Doctor Or Chiropractor For Back Pain
The answer is always yes.
You should see a back pain doctor or chiropractor. In such a case, theres no difference between a back doctor vs. chiropractor any help is good.
Back pain could resolve itself easily with minor changes in your life, such as switching out your shoes for ones with more supportive souls or buying a firmer mattress.
Often, though, youll need a highly-trained lower back pain doctor to determine how best to treat your back pain. Perhaps theres something wrong with the discs in your back, or theres a pinched nerve somewhere.
You wont know until you have a doctor or chiropractor check your back out.
While you shouldnt ignore back pain, there are many reasons why someone wouldnt want to see a doctor for their spine.
First off, in the United States, back pain doctors or chiropractors tend to congregate in larger cities, meaning they might not be available in your area. Luckily, Beach Pain Center is located just east of downtown Fort Worth.
Secondly, it might cost too much to see them. Most insurance companies should cover you if you have back pain especially if youre growing older. But some might be more skeptical, as many have claimed back pain to acquire insurance benefits. The potential of having to cover medical costs out of pocket could be enough to determine anyone from receiving care.
Youll learn to manage it, but youll never learn to treat it until you go to a doctor or chiropractor.
What Kind Of Doctor Do I See For Back Pain
There are many doctors to see for back pain, so it can be confusing to find the one who would most effectively solve your problems a back doctor vs. chiropractor.
Broadly speaking, the doctors who can help alleviate your spine problems fall into the following categories:
- primary care providers
- back pain doctors
When youre back gets seized up in a fit of debilitating pain, a primary care provider will be the first person you should call. This group would include lower back pain chiropractors, primary care physicians, and doctors of osteopathic medicine.
These doctors assess the causes and remedies to your spine and would help if you have multiple pain locations that expand outside your spine.
The second group spine specialists mainly deal with issues concerning spinal conditions. They deal with back pain but are trained to understand the intricacies of the central nervous system.
Should you need surgery on your spine, spine surgeons have the expertise to handle that fragile organ with little harm done to you. Physiatrists, neurologists, anesthesiologists, and rheumatologists also reside in this category.
Finally, Therapists help rehabilitate mobility and function after back injury or surgery. Should something go wrong in operation, and you need extra time to recuperate, a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and clinical psychologist in this field would be your best friend.
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Where To Start With Back Pain
Low back pain is one of the most common complaints on the planet.
And when someone starts experiencing back pain it can be so frightening that we immediately want an expert that will somehow magically get rid of it.
Unfortunately, there’s just no unicorns and rainbows when it comes to solving back pain.
Realize that most back pain will resolve on its own. What I’m saying here is that your major ache or tweaked out back doesn’t require a specialist in most cases.
Some of the most common causes of acute or sudden back pain include an injury:
- to a muscle or tendon
- to a back ligament
- to a bulging disc .
And the reality is, many of these issues will eventually resolve on their own.
In my personal opinion, the first time someone starts to experience back pain, they should immediately start doing back extension exercises.
I would continue to do back extensions every 3-4 hours throughout the day for at least 3 days.
And if you notice that you’re feeling better, continue for another 1-2 weeks.
But if your low back pain doesn’t improve, then maybe there is something more serious happening.
More serious causes of back pain include:
- a narrowing of the spinal canal
- disc tears or herniations
- severe degenerative disc disease
- spinal infections
So if your back pain doesn’t improve with back extensions and modified activities, then you’d want to consider someone who is qualified to properly assess the situation.
When To Go To Urgent Care For Back Pain
Certain back pain symptoms may not require immediate attention on the same day of occurrence but may need medical assessment as early as possible. When an appointment with a primary care physician or specialist is not available within a week, visiting an urgent care facility may be recommended to evaluate these symptoms:
- A recent increase in back pain that does not subside with over-the-counter or prescription medications
- Back pain associated with nausea and/or vomiting
- Back pain that becomes severe with specific movements, such as while coughing, bending forward or backward, or during twisting movements
- Back pain that travels down the hip and/or leg
- Recent onset of back stiffness
While an urgent care facility may not be equipped for a complete evaluation and diagnosis, the physician can help identify any hidden red-flag symptoms. An urgent-care physician can also prescribe medication to help control the symptoms in the short-term and offer referrals/guidance for further evaluation or treatment.
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When Can A Chiropractor Help With Back Pain
People often want to try the kind of conservative approaches that chiropractors provide first. In fact, this is what many clinical care guidelines recommend. So before trying treatments like injections or surgery for back pain, they may want to consider things like chiropractic care, physical therapy, or acupuncture. Much of the time, back pain resolves with those kinds of treatments.
How Often Do I Need To See A Chiropractor
At first, I might see a patient once or twice a week. If the condition is acute, I might see the patient every day to begin. As they improve, I recommend fewer visits and start giving the patient more things to do on their own at home. I want my patients to be as independent as possible. There are patients who have chronic problems and need to come back and see me once in a while. But the great majority of patients have issues that are resolvable, and I may never need to see them again after their condition has improved.
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The Surprising Omicron Symptom Thats Leaving 1 In 5 In Agony
- Vanessa Chalmers, Digital Health Reporter
- 10:12, 4 Feb 2022
- Vanessa Chalmers, Digital Health Reporter
- Invalid Date,
A NEW Omicron symptom has been flagged by scientists on a leading Covid study.
They say it is affecting one in five of those infected, but is not listed by the NHS.
The ZOE COVID Symptom Study has been tracking the virus since May 2020.
Using the help of millions of app users, it’s able to spot the common Covid symptoms of the disease in those testing positive.
Its recently been investigating whether Omicron causes different symptoms to that of Delta, which was dominant before Omicron emerged.
And, after weeks of looking at thousands of reports from Omicron patients, they say a new symptom has emerged.
Lower back pain is affecting one in five of people who have Omicron, Prof Tim Spector, lead of the study, said.
It suggests that if you have an unusually sore back, without a known trigger, you could be infected with the bug, especially if there are other signs.
What Are Some Other Causes Of Lower Back Pain
The shape of your spine, and well as spinal diseases, are other culprits in lower back pain. Depending on a range of factors, your doctor may look for:
Abnormal spinal curvature. A normal spine resembles a gently curved letter S when seen from the side. Abnormal curves include:
- Lordosis, in which the spine curves too far inward at the lower back
- Kyphosis, in which the spine is abnormally rounded in the upper back
- Scoliosis, in which the spine curves from side to side, often in a C shape
Normal and abnormal curves of the spineArthritis. There are more than 100 types of arthritis, many of which can cause lower back pain. The most common types include osteoarthritis , rheumatoid arthritis, and ankylosing spondylitis.
Cauda equina syndrome . Compression of the bundle of nerves that forms below the spinal cord in the lumbar spine. It is a rare but serious disorder that requires immediate medical attention and possibly emergency surgery. CES got its name from the fact that the fanned-out bundle of nerves resembles the base of a horses tail.
Discitis or osteomyelitis.Both infections of discs and bone can cause severe pain and require prompt medical attention.
Spinal tumors. When cells divide and multiply unchecked, the result is a tumor. Both benign and malignant tumors can cause lower back pain. They can either originate in the spine or metastasize there, meaning theyve spread from somewhere else in the body.
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Why Is Lower Back Pain Such A Common Problem
The bottom part of your back typically has just five vertebrae fewer than your neck and mid-back. And these vertebrae do a lot of heavy lifting! Your lower back is where your spine connects to your pelvis, bearing the weight of your upper body. This area experiences a lot of movement and stress, which may lead to wear, tear and injuries.
Two Back Pain Situations You Should Take Seriously Right Away No Delay
These two back pain scenarios might be medical emergencies. They do not necessarily mean something horrible is wrong, but its important to make sure.
Isnt it rather obvious that a potential spinal fracture is an emergency?
Youd think so. But consider this story of a motorcycle accident: many years ago, a friend hit a car that had pulled out from a side street. He flew over the car & landed on his head. Bystanders showed their ignorance of spinal fracture by, yikes, carelessly moving him. In fact, his thoracic spine was significantly fractured yet the hospital actually refused to do an X-ray because he had no obvious symptoms of a spinal fracture. Incredible! The next day, a horrified orthopedic surgeon ordered an X-ray immediately, confirming the fracture & quite possibly saved him from paralysis.
Pain + weakness in both legs as symptoms of cauda equina syndrome or not
That said, obviously you should be checked out if you are experiencing true saddle numbness.17 Even if its not CES, any significant malfunction of your plumbing should be taken seriously.
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Lower Back Pain: How To Tell If Its Muscle
When a patient visits my office with back pain, its my job to uncover the pain generator. We talk through the patients history, discuss their symptoms, and make a determination as to next steps. If need be, I prepare their case to be looked at by a surgeon, but generally, my goal is to help patients avoid surgery and find relief with more conservative measures.
Most cases of back pain are not caused by serious conditions. But its important to always rule out the possibility that a patient has another internal issue that mimics back pain . Colitis, kidney stones, gallbladder issues, vascular problems, or an aneurysm are examples of serious conditions that are capable of causing pain to radiate into the back, making it feel like youre experiencing back pain.
A thorough fact-finding investigation should help determine the cause. When did the pain start? How long did it last? What makes it better or worse? Key to determining the pain generator is the patients description of their condition and their medical history. For example, if a patient describes the pain as having come on suddenly and causing nausea, nearly prompting a trip to the emergency room, then disappearing just as suddenly, they may be suffering from a kidney stone rather than back pain from a spinal condition.
- Muscle pain
- Disc pain
Lets take a look at each type in more detail.
When You Should Go To The Er
Sometimes back pain just can’t wait. For example, if you were in a major car accident, or fell from a dangerous height, you want to check for any fractures, ruptures, and dislocations. And while it’s rare, lower back pain can be a symptom of more serious neurological issues, infection, cancer, and other worrisome conditions.
So get to an ER ASAP if any of these situations are true for you:
- Have back pain associated with serious trauma
- Have cancer or have a history of cancer
- Have HIV/AIDs or are taking immunosuppressive drugs
- Have trouble going to the bathroom or can’t hold your urine or stool
- Are experiencing neurological dysfunction like leg weakness or numbness
- Lose sensation around the groin area
- Have a fever in associated with your back pain
- Have back pain that’s worse when lying down
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What If I Dont Want Surgery For My Back Pain
Fortunately, most people with back pain dont need surgery. We usually take a conservative approach first, using a wide variety of nonsurgical spine treatments, said Dr. Guo. For example, I might send you to physical therapy or chiropractic therapy. I might recommend medications such as anti-inflammatories, muscle relaxants, or some nerve-pain medications. We offer injection therapy, including epidural injections, joint injections, and nerve blocks and ablation if your back pain fails to improve with the conservative treatments. Chances are, one of these approaches will help reduce your back pain and improve your function and quality of life.
When To See A Doctor For Back Pain
Back is one of the most common medical conditions more than eight in 10 of us will experience it during our lifetime. There are many reasons why your back may hurtfrom a to more serious . The type of discomfort ranges from a dull to sharp pain. The most common type of back pain is acutewhich means it goes away within weeks. Chronic back pain lasts longer than three months. Knowing when to see a doctor for is half the battle when it comes to finding relief. Many people continue to function with mild backaches and find relief with at-home care measures. But, its important to know the signs and symptoms of a more serious back problem that requires a professional medical diagnosis and treatment.
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What Is Radiating Pain
Radiating pain is pain that “radiates” from one area of the body to other areas of the body. When pain in one area of the body causes pain in other areas, this is known as “referred pain.” In fact, radiating lower back and hip pain can cause pain in all kinds of places near these areas like
- Thigh muscle pain
- Pain back of the knee
- Knee pain at night
- Pain in the upper thigh
- Numbing of nerves in leg
- Hip and groin pain
- Pain in the back of leg behind the knee
- Pain in one side side
- Pain in the calf
- Pain in back of the knee
- Hip and groin pain
- Sharp pain in the toes
- Lower calf pain
Note your symptoms from the list above and use these to learn your diagnosis with our helpful descriptions of symptoms, possible causes, and when you should get to a doctor or emergency room to know how to treat your injury.
When Should I See A Doctor For Back Pain
When your back first starts to hurt, try taking an over-the-counter pain reliever and applying ice in the first 48 hours. You may apply heat after 48 hours. You may need to take it easy for a while, but its best to stay as active as tolerated, and to avoid absolute bed rest, said Dr. Guo.
If your back pain lasts more than two weeks and keeps you from participating in normal, daily activities, see your family doctor. If your pain is severe, you should see a doctor sooner. You should seek urgent medical care if you have:
- Fever associated with back pain
- Back pain after trauma
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Loss of strength in your arms and legs
- Unexplained weight loss associated with back pain
Also, always be more cautious if you have special risk factors for cancer, infection, or fractures that may affect the spine.
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Your Pain Extends To Other Body Parts
If you’re experiencing severe back pain that is coupled with pain in other areas such as shooting pain down your leg then you should see a doctor. This could be a sign that you have sciatica, a form of pain that affects the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back and through the buttocks before branching down each leg. This condition usually results from a herniated disk. A doctor will be able to offer a variety of ways that you can relieve this pain.