When to See a Doctor for Back Pain: The Top 5 Warning Signs
Hey there! If you're someone who's struggled with back pain, you're not alone. Back pain is a common issue that many people experience at some point in their lives.
While it can be tempting to just grin and bear it, or try to manage your pain at home with over-the-counter pain relievers, there are certain warning signs that indicate it's time to see a doctor. In this blog post, we'll go over the top 5 warning signs that you should never ignore when it comes to back pain.
By understanding these warning signs, you can take action to prevent serious complications and get the relief you need. So, if you're wondering when it's time to see a doctor for your back pain, this post is for you!
The Top 5 Back Pain Warning Signs to Never Ignore
Back pain is one of the most common issues that people face, but it can be tough to know when you should seek help.
Most people wait too long to address their severe back pain, which can lead to more serious issues down the road.
Here are the top 5 signs that you should never ignore when it comes to your back pain. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please see a doctor as soon as possible.
1. Persistent pain that lasts for more than a few days or weeks
If you're experiencing persistent back pain that lasts for more than a few days or weeks, it's a good idea to see your doctor. While it may be tempting to try to manage your pain at home with otc pain relievers and rest, this isn't always the best solution.
In some cases, chronic pain can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition that requires medical attention. By seeing your doctor, you can get a proper diagnosis and treatment plan to help you get relief and prevent complications.
Plus, early intervention can often lead to a quicker recovery and better long-term outcomes. So, if your back pain is sticking around for an extended period of time, it's worth getting it checked out by a doctor.
2. Pain that is severe or debilitating
Back pain can be incredibly frustrating and debilitating, making it hard to concentrate or get comfortable. If your back pain is severe or debilitating then it's the perfect time to book a visit with your medical professional.
Your doctor can provide advice for relieving your pain and identify if any underlying medical problems are causing it. They may also be able to refer you for treatment such as physical therapy, which can help alleviate your symptoms and have you feeling back on track in no time.
Don't underestimate the value that a visit with your doctor can bring and make sure to seize any opportunity they could offer at reducing your chronic back pain!
3. Pain that radiates down the legs or arms
Back pain is a common occurrence and many people simply shrug it off and accept it as a normal part of their lives. Unfortunately, this kind of attitude can be dangerous because back pain that radiates down the arms or legs could indicate something more serious.
Oftentimes, exercises or stretching alone can not resolve all kinds of back pain, and if you are experiencing a dull ache that has shifted into pain that radiates, then it's important to take it seriously and see your doctor.
A doctor will be able to provide a proper examination and investigation into why you're having pain in order to find the most effective treatment plan for your individual needs. Don't risk missing out on an early diagnosis, especially since you can avoid making the pain worse. Don't be scared to schedule an appointment with your doctor if you're dealing with back pain that radiates down your limbs!
4. Numbness or weakness in the legs or arms
Back pain can cause numbness or weakness in the legs or arms if it is related to a pinched nerve or a herniated disc. A pinched nerve occurs when a nerve is compressed or squeezed, causing pain, numbness, muscle spasms, and weakness in the affected area.
A herniated disc, on the other hand, occurs when the soft, gel-like center of a spinal disc bulges out and puts pressure on nearby nerves, causing pain, numbness, and weakness in the affected area. In both cases, the compression or pressure on the nerves can cause symptoms to radiate down the legs or arms.
This could also be a symptom of cauda equina syndrome which is a condition that occurs when the nerves at the very bottom of the spinal cord, called the cauda equina, become compressed or damaged. This can cause a wide range of symptoms, including weakness in the legs, loss of sensation or feeling in the legs and lower body, loss of bladder or bowel control, and saddle anesthesia (a loss of sensation in the area where you sit). Cauda equina syndrome is a medical emergency and requires prompt treatment to prevent permanent damage to the nerves.
It's important to see a doctor if you're experiencing numbness or weakness along with your back pain, as this could be a sign of a more serious underlying condition.
5. Difficulty standing, walking, or moving due to pain.
There are several back issues that can cause difficulty standing, walking, or moving due to pain. Some examples include spinal stenosis, spinal fractures, and degenerative disc disease. Spinal stenosis is a condition that occurs when the spinal canal narrows, putting pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
This can cause pain, numbness, and weakness in the legs and difficulty standing, walking, or moving. Spinal fractures, on the other hand, are cracks or breaks in the bones of the spine, which can cause severe pain and difficulty moving. Degenerative disc disease is a condition in which the spinal discs lose their cushioning ability and become less flexible, leading to pain and stiffness in the back.
If you're experiencing difficulty standing, walking, or moving due to back pain, it's important to see your doctor. Your doctor can diagnose the underlying cause of your pain and recommend appropriate treatment to help you get relief and prevent complications.
In some cases, this may involve medications, physical therapy, or surgery. By seeing your doctor, you can get the help you need to manage your back pain and improve your ability to move and carry out your daily activities.
What Your Doctor Can Do to Help Relieve Back Pain
Your doctor can do a lot to help relieve your back and nerve pain. First, they'll conduct a thorough examination to determine the underlying cause of your pain. This may involve taking a medical history, performing a physical examination, and ordering imaging tests like X-rays or MRI scans.
Once your doctor has a better understanding of what's causing your pain, they can recommend appropriate treatment options. These may include medications to help relieve pain and inflammation, physical therapy to help strengthen your back and improve flexibility, chiropractic adjustments, or spinal surgery to correct any structural issues in your spine.
Some pains can be a symptom of something underlying like a spinal epidural abscess which is a type of spinal infection that affects the spinal cord. It causes severe pain and can lead to serious neurological problems. Some symptoms of a spinal epidural abscess may include severe pain, weakness in the legs, unexplained weight loss, changes in sensation or reflexes, vomiting, fever, and headaches. Contact your doctor immediately as this could be a serious medical emergency.
Your pain may also just be something small like acute low back pain that doesn't require any medical attentio. Either way, your doctor can work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your individual needs and helps you get the relief you need.
How to Prevent Back Pain From Occurring in the First Place
There are several things you can do to help prevent back pain from occurring in the first place.
- It's important to maintain a healthy weight to avoid putting excess strain on your back. You can do this by eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise.
- Make sure you're using proper body mechanics when lifting heavy objects. This means using your legs to lift, rather than your back, and avoiding twisting or bending at the waist.
- Take frequent breaks if you have a job that involves sitting or standing for long periods of time. This can help reduce strain on your back and prevent pain from occurring.
- Make sure you're using a good quality mattress and pillows to support your back when you sleep.
- Seek out help from a trusted chiropractic team like the Spokane Spine Team
By taking these steps, you can help prevent back pain from occurring and keep your back healthy.
The Spokane Spine Team Advantage
At Spokane Spine Team, we're dedicated to helping our patients prevent and find relief from back pain. We offer industry-leading chiropractic care to help keep your back healthy and strong, and to provide relief from pain.
Our team of experienced chiropractors will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your individual needs. We use a variety of techniques, including spinal adjustments and more, to help relieve pain and improve your overall spinal health. In addition to chiropractic care, we also offer other services like massage therapy and physical therapy to help prevent back pain from occurring and to provide relief from existing pain.
If you're looking for relief from back pain and want to prevent future pain, the Spokane Spine Team is here to help. Contact us today!