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Can Lower Back Pain Be Related To Weather
If you feel like your lower back pain worsens on days when its cold or the weather is changing, you are not imagining things. Back pain can indeed be related to barometric pressure and outdoor temperature. Changes in pressure can sometimes cause pain in arthritic joints, including the spine. Muscles and joints in general react to the environment, which can make them stiffer and more likely to suffer an injury.
Treatment Of Nonspecific Pain
Many treatments are available for acute low back pain, but strong evidence for their benefit is lacking. Based on the evidence, a reasonable approach to treatment is described in Table 4.
|Reassure the patient that the prognosis is often good, with most cases resolving with little intervention|
|Advise the patient to stay active, avoiding bed rest as much as possible, and to return to normal activities as soon as possible|
|Advise the patient to avoid twisting and bending|
|Initiate trial of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or acetaminophen|
|Consider a muscle relaxant based on pain severity|
|Consider a short course of opioid therapy if pain is severe|
|Consider referral for physical therapy if it is not the first episode|
|Consider changing to a different nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug|
|Consider referral for physical therapy if not done at initial visit|
|Consider referral to a spine subspecialist if pain is severe or limits function|
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Specialists Who Treat Back Pain
There are many types of health practitioners that care for patients with spinal conditions, and each has a slightly different role. Selection of the most appropriate type of health professional – or team of health professionals – largely depends on the patient’s symptoms and the length of time the symptoms have been present.
The different types of health professionals who treat back pain tend to have varied training and interests. While it is common to start off with a primary care provider , if the patient’s back pain is resistant to initial treatment then the services of a spine specialist may be necessary.
Nothing Cute About This Back Pain
Back pain continues to plague Americans. Millions of dollars get spent in healthcare for back pain. Furthermore, 8 of 10 Americans will see a doctor for back pain at some point. Lower back pain happens the most as this area holds up most of the bodys weight. Acute back pain is even more stressful. The sharp pain comes suddenly, lasting a few days or a few weeks. With the help of a doctor, and sometimes a neurologist, back pain sufferers can find relief.
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Learn How Robotic Spine Surgery Impacts Patient Care
Hear from Carlos Bagley, M.D., Professor in the Departments of Neurological Surgery and Orthopaedic Surgery, about how robot-assisted surgery provides benefits not possible with conventional methods.
Some medications or medical conditions put patients at greater risk for low bone density, fractured vertebrae, or back pain. In these cases, we get referrals from and collaborate with oncologists, hematologists, rheumatologists, mineral metabolism doctors, and primary care doctors to reduce patients risks and manage their symptoms.
If you are worried about back pain, come see us for reassurance. The earlier you are diagnosed, the better your outcomes can be.
If you or a loved one might benefit from a back pain consultation, call or request an appointment online.
In Most Cases A Primary Care Doctor Or Chiropractor Can Help You Resolve The Problem
Low back pain is one of the most common complaints on the planet. And you may wonder where to turn when you start experiencing some of those aches or twinges in the lower part of your back. Take heart. “In most cases, you won’t need a specialist,” says Dr. Robert Shmerling, a rheumatologist at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
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Other Conditions That Cause Back Pain In Older Adults
We often see a range of less serious but still painful spine conditions in seniors. Most patients with these conditions will not require surgery. Physical therapy, medication, injectable anesthetics, or a combination of treatments usually can control symptoms.
- Degenerative disc disease, which can cause whole spine pain, and lumbar arthritis, which usually causes low-back pain, commonly develop with age and are considered wear-and-tear conditions.
- Sacroiliitis is an inflammation of the joints that connect your spine and pelvis. This condition can cause pain in the low back, glutes, and upper legs.
- Ankylosing spondylitis is an inflammatory arthritis that causes patients spines to become inflexible, resulting in a continual hunched forward position and spine pain.
- We also check for adult degenerative scoliosis and kyphosis, spine-curving conditions that can result in back pain and weakness in the lower extremities.
What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Low Back Pain
Anyone can have back pain. Factors that can increase the risk for low back pain include:
Age: The first attack of low back pain typically occurs between the ages of 30 and 50, and back pain becomes more common with advancing age. Loss of bone strength from osteoporosis can lead to fractures, and at the same time, muscle elasticity and tone decrease. The intervertebral discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility with age, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae. The risk of spinal stenosis also increases with age.
Fitness level: Back pain is more common among people who are not physically fit. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. Weekend warriorspeople who go out and exercise a lot after being inactive all weekare more likely to suffer painful back injuries than people who make moderate physical activity a daily habit. Studies show that low-impact aerobic exercise can help maintain the integrity of intervertebral discs.
Weight gain: Being overweight, obese, or quickly gaining significant amounts of weight can put stress on the back and lead to low back pain.
Genetics: Some causes of back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis , have a genetic component.
Smoking: It can restrict blood flow and oxygen to the discs, causing them to degenerate faster.
Backpack overload in children: A backpack overloaded with schoolbooks and supplies can strain the back and cause muscle fatigue.
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When To See A Specialist For Lower Back Pain
If youre experiencing lower back pain thats not responding to rest and self-care, its 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.
The Lumbar Spine What Can Go Wrong
The low back supports the weight of the upper body and provides mobility for everyday motions such as bending and twisting. Muscles in the low back are responsible for flexing and rotating the hips while walking, as well as supporting the spinal column. Nerves in the low back supply sensation and power the muscles in the pelvis, legs, and feet.
Most acute low back pain results from injury to the muscles, ligaments, joints, or discs. The body also reacts to injury by mobilizing an inflammatory healing response. While inflammation sounds minor, it can cause severe pain.
There is a significant overlap of nerve supply to many of the discs, muscles, ligaments, and other spinal structures, and it can be difficult for the brain to accurately sense which is the cause of the pain. For example, a degenerated or torn lumbar disc can feel the same as a pulled muscle both creating inflammation and painful muscle spasm in the same area. Muscles and ligaments heal rapidly, while a torn disc may or may not. The time course of pain helps determine the cause.
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Be Proactive About Your Back Pain Treatment Plan
If the current treatment plan for your back pain isn’t working, consider researching various spine specialists on your own. There may be a different type of health professional who is better suited to treat your condition.
Before you see a specialist, write down a clear description of your symptoms and the treatments you’ve tried. This written record can help you to better communicate with your new doctor. Also, don’t be shy about seeking a second opinion if you think it will help alleviate your back pain.
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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How Is Low Back Pain Diagnosed
Along with a complete medical history and physical exam, tests for low back pain may include:
Why Radiographic Imaging May Not Be Helpful
Radiographic imaging may not be helpful in identifying the cause of a patient’s complaint of low back pain or in determining management for a variety of reasons. The two most compelling reasons are that imaging findings are poorly associated with symptoms , and important causes cannot be identified with plain radiographs .
Findings from both plain radiographs and advanced imaging studies are poorly associated with low back pain symptoms.2,51â55 The prevalence of lumbar disk degeneration increases with age beginning in the fourth decade and is common in patients without low back pain. A third of patients less than 30 years old have disk degeneration, as do 60% between 40 and 60 years and almost all patients over 60 years.54 Similar findings are found for patients with vertebral osteophytes and facet joint arthritis.2 Spondylolisthesis is found in 1% to 5% of normal subjects, and whether it is more common in symptomatic patients is controversial.53 Mild degrees of slippage are the most common and appear to be as common in asymptomatic persons as those with back pain. More severe degrees of slippage are probably associated with symptoms, but are distinctly uncommon. Spondylolysis is equally prevalent in normal and symptomatic subjects. Other findings including congenital anomalies, disk calcification, Schmorl nodes , and mild-moderate scoliosis are also found in both asymptomatic and symptomatic persons.55
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Systemic Or Visceral Disease
A history of cancer, unexplained weight loss, age over 50 years, or failure of conservative therapy are risk factors for low back pain due to cancer .40 Most cancer involving the spine is metastatic from the breast, lung, or prostate. Factors associated with spinal infections include a history of recent or ongoing urinary or skin infections, indwelling catheter, or injection drug use. Fever is not a common symptom or finding , but when present increases the chance of an infectious etiology. Compression fractures of the spine are associated with significant trauma, age over 50 years , corticosteroid use, or osteoporosis. Ankylosing spondylitis is suggested by morning stiffness, improvement with exercise, onset at age less than 40 years, slow onset, and pain for at least 3 months.41,42 Other factors such as symptoms unrelated to activity, pain that is worse when lying down, presence of atherosclerosis risk factors, and gastrointestinal or genitourinary symptoms can be helpful in suggesting other underlying visceral or systemic etiologies.
Can Back Pain Be Prevented
Recurring back pain resulting from improper body mechanics may be prevented by avoiding movements that jolt or strain the back, maintaining correct posture, and lifting objects properly. Many work-related injuries are caused or aggravated by stressors such as heavy lifting, contact stress , vibration, repetitive motion, and awkward posture.Recommendations for keeping ones back healthy
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The Right Surgery For The Right Issue
There are some cases where surgery works best. A neurologist can then refer the patient to a surgeon. Surgery is recommended when all non-surgical treatment attempts have failed. The neurologist can also provide the surgeon with detailed information to complete the right procedure. In most cases, a microdiscectomy or laminectomy helps remove pressure on surrounding nerves. Severe cases of degraded discs or arthritis need fusion surgery. Neurologists are with the patient all the way, even assessing the results post-operation.
All The Red Flags For Ominous Causes Of Back Pain
Red flags are signs or symptoms that something medically ominous may be going on. Red flags are not reliable, and their presence is not a diagnosis. When you have some red flags, it only indicates a need to look more closely. Sometimes red flags are missing even when there really is something serious going on and sometimes they are a false alarm.24 Check off all that apply hopefully none or few or only the least alarming of them!
Some of these red flags are much less red than others, especially depending on the circumstances. For instance, weight loss is common and often the sign of successful diet! Obviously, if you know of a harmless reason why you have a red flag symptom, it isnt really a red flag . But every single actual red flag in combination with severe low back pain thats been going on for several weeks is definitely a good reason to get yourself checked out.
Most people who check off an item or two will turn out not to have an ominous cause for their low back pain. But why not check?
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Physical Therapy Or Exercise
Physical therapy can help improve your strength and flexibility, which can prevent back pain from returning. It also helps to manage symptoms when they do occur. Also, it can help to gain strength and prevent future injury.
A therapist may show the exercises that improve flexibility, strength and endurance. The doctor may also recommend a back brace or corset to support the spine after an injury or surgery.
How To Tell If Your Lower Back Pain Is Muscle
by Dr. Don DuffAug 20, 2019
The low back is a fairly complicated structure, so its no wonder the majority of peopleexperts estimate up to 80% of usexperience pain in this area of our bodies at some point in our lives. In fact, back pain is one of the most common reasons for visits to the doctors office.
The key to relieving back pain is understanding the cause. But diagnosing the of a patients pain isnt always a straightforward exercise. It could be muscle, joint, or disc-related in some cases, it may even arise from issues unrelated to the back. So how can you tell if your back pain is muscle- or disc-related, or attributable to something else entirely? Well cover all the possibilities in this post.
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Specialist Help Can Be The Key
Back pain can put a damper on living a healthy life. See a doctor for bouts of lower back pain. A general practitioner can provide initial help. But a neurologist can take things to the next level. With detailed info on nerve and muscle health, the neurologist can put together a plan to slay back pain. And if surgery happens to be the best course of action, rest assured the neurologist will advise on the right procedure.
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