Pain can be described as our friendliest enemy. It keeps us away from doing the things we love and enjoy, so we won’t hurt ourselves even more. It’s a nice gesture, but the pain itself is the problem.
Did you know that 19 million people visit a doctor each year due to back pain? The spine gives the human body its form and function. The spinal column consists of 24 bones, which are each connected to ligaments and muscles. The spinal cord is a soft bundle of nerves that sends signals to various parts of the body, and it is protected by the bones that make up the spine.
Back pain is common among many people, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Sometimes, back pain may go away on its own. You may have strained something or injured yourself temporarily. Of course, we don’t usually run to the doctor at the first moment of pain. If your pain continues or worsens, it is a good rule of thumb to make a visit to your doctor.
What causes back pain?
There are many different factors that can cause back pain. Sometimes, low back pain might be linked to various conditions, such as degenerative disc disease or a lumbar herniated disc. The lower back consists of spinal muscles, nerves, bones, discs, and tendons, which provide a wide range of possibilities for your associated pain.
Your pain may be caused by a strained muscle, pinched or irritated nerve, damaged joints, and more. Your doctor will be able to examine you to perform a diagnosis. Younger adults are more likely to experience back pain because of a muscle or soft tissue strain. However, it is more common for older adults to suffer from compression fractures or join degenerative diseases.
There are a few ways that can help reduce the risk factors for back pain. Exercise, maintain a healthy weight, and quit smoking. You can also keep your spine happy and healthy by practicing good posture.
When is it time to see a doctor?
Don’t forget – it’s never a bad idea to see a doctor if you have a health concern. Most of the time back pain is temporary, but that doesn’t mean it always is. No one knows your body like you do. It is always beneficial to visit your doctor if you are unsure about anything. Here are a few red flags to look out for. If any of the following apply to you and your back pain, make an appointment with your primary care physician as soon as you can.
The pain continues for more than two weeks. Back pain sometimes improves with over-the-counter pain medication, but that may not always be enough. If the pain continues, visit your doctor for an evaluation.
The pain shoots down your arms or legs. This feeling might be associated with the sciatic nerve or other nerves. Depending where the pain stems from may indicate the possible causes.
You experience pain during the night. Some people might only have back pain in the evenings. Even if you experience back pain throughout the day, the pain may worsen at night. If the pain intensifies at night, let your doctor know – it may be something more serious.
Your arms and legs feel week, numb, or are tingling. If you are experiencing these symptoms, take note of where you are experiencing the feeling. This may help the doctor locate the area that is causing you pain.
You experience back pain or weight loss, along with your back pain. If you are losing weight quickly and aren’t dieting or exercising for weight loss, there may be an underlying problem.
You have a fever. A fever associated with back pain might indicate an infection. If it is a serious infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
You have trouble controlling your bowels or bladder. These symptoms could be associated with cauda equina syndrome, a very serious but rare condition. This disease is considered a medical emergency, so if you do believe you are affected, see a doctor immediately.
Where can you find a back pain specialist?
There are many different kinds of doctors who can treat back pain. The best option is to ask your primary care physician, and they may refer you to a specialist. Depending on the pain and problems that you are experiencing might determine if you need a chiropractor, acupuncturist, etc. Remember, a doctor’s diagnosis is one of the most effective steps to discovering pain relief.
South Texas Spinal Clinic in San Antonio, Texas
If you are experiencing back pain, help is close by. At the South Texas Spinal Clinic, our doctors are specialists in the medical and surgical management of back and neck disorders or injuries. You don’t have to continue living in unnecessary pain. Let us help you feel like yourself again. Call (210)614-6432 to schedule an appointment today.