Back pain is a relatively common malady, and it can be due to factors such as work, pre-existing conditions, and aging. Some people assume that they can simply rest to alleviate their back pain when in reality, pain can be a sign of a bodily disorder or damage. Depending on the circumstances, it may necessitate a visit to your doctor. Learning when to visit your doctor for back pain can save you from further medical trouble and a lot of discomfort.
Severe and Persistent Pain
Back pain can be acute or chronic, with six months or more of ongoing discomfort falling under the latter category. Many people think that chronic pain is normal, so they fail to seek medical advice. However, any pain that persists after a week of self-treatment should alert you of a possible underlying disorder. Pain severe enough to limit your everyday activities also requires attention.
Chronic back pain may come from several conditions that require medical attention. A common cause is disc herniation or rupture. Your spine is composed of several sections of bone called vertebrae, with discs acting as cushions between each vertebra. Advanced age or injury can cause these discs to bulge or rupture, putting pressure on the spinal cord and causing pain.
Osteoarthritis is another typical cause of chronic back pain. In this condition, the cartilage that protects your spinal bones deteriorates, causing inflammation. In some cases, osteoarthritis can cause the canal surrounding your spinal cord to narrow, causing further symptoms.
These conditions are treatable with lifestyle changes, medication, and surgery. However, delayed treatment can cause these conditions to progress, making it harder to recover completely. Even if the back pain seems tolerable, the underlying conditions might already be causing irreversible damage to your spine. Visiting a doctor for early treatment can help you attain a better quality of life.
Other Symptoms of Back Trouble
Be alert if your back pain comes with other symptoms, especially those that involve other body parts. For example, consult a doctor if you feel pain radiating downward from your back into your lower legs. Any tingling or numbness, as well as loss of sensation, weakness, or poor control over the bladder and the bowels, should alert you of a need to schedule a doctor’s appointment.
Relatively mild symptoms of neurological involvement can come from compression of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower spine to each of the legs. While there are multiple ways to deal with nerve compression, prompt treatment is vital to avoiding lengthy recovery or permanent damage. Severe neurological symptoms may indicate tumor growth or other conditions that directly compromise the spinal cord.
Likewise, consult a doctor if your back pain comes with a fever or unexplained weight loss.
Trauma From Injuries
Falls, crashes, and other traumatic events may cause back pain by straining the muscles supporting the spine or stretching some of the adjacent ligaments and tendons. However, you should still make a medical appointment for any back discomfort after an injury, mainly if it is severe or persistent.
There is a risk that mechanical stress might have caused a fracture to occur on one or more vertebrae. Even if you have no other symptoms aside from pain, you will still require treatment to ensure that the fracture heals properly. Unresolved spinal trauma may progress to paralysis or make you more vulnerable to future injuries.
Pain After Surgery
Some discomfort is inevitable after surgery as the body responds to the trauma of the operation. However, lasting or intensifying pain should prompt you to seek medical advice. You might have surgery complications, such as an infection, that need immediate attention.
Some surgical procedures can predispose you to further injury. For example, spinal fusion can increase the rate of degeneration of the parts of your spine around the fused vertebrae. Consult with your doctor if you feel pain even after completing the post-operation recovery period, as you might have developed another condition that needs therapy.
Treatments for Back Pain in Florida
By now, you should know when back pain requires medical intervention. Severe and persistent discomfort, as well as having additional symptoms, means that your back pain might signify a more dangerous illness. Significant pain after events like surgery or trauma are also reasons for concern. By seeing a doctor and gaining access to orthopedic services as soon as possible, you can maximize the success rates of treatment and improve your overall prognosis.
Through our centers in Pembroke Pines and Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, Total Orthopaedic Care is here to provide focused health care for people from all stages of life. Our board-certified orthopedic specialists work hard to provide you with various services to diagnose and treat your concerns, as well as help you in your recovery. For any inquiries, call us at (954) 735-3535 or fill out our online appointment form.