“My back hurts.”
Probably a phrase we have either heard or spoken many times. In fact, back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide.
If you or a loved one are suffering from back pain, you are not alone.
Backs and spines are complicated. It can get confusing when talking about the different muscles, joints, ligaments, and bones.
Then add anatomies such as ruptured discs and sciatic nerve damage and it’s downright confusing.
Is your back pain affecting your everyday life? If so, it may be time to see a back and spine specialist. Here are 7 signs it’s time to schedule an appointment.
Back and Spine Specialist Checklist
There are a million different reasons why your back hurts, from serious accidents to something insignificant as picking up a penny off the sidewalk.
So, how do you know if your back pain is more than just a result of a bad mattress or bad posture?
1. Pain that lasts longer than 4 to 6 weeks.
Two-thirds of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their life. It’s common to have minor aches and pain, but if the pain is constant you may need to call your doctor.
Most back pain will get better within 6 weeks with a self-care regiment that includes rest, ice, and anti-inflammatories.
If your pain doesn’t get better or it continues to get worse, it’s an indication that there is something serious going on that could need more advanced treatment.
2. Pain that follows an accident.
If your back pain is due to an accident such as a fall or a car accident, it is best to see a back and spine specialist away.
Even a small accident, such as being rear-ended in a car, can have lifelong effects on your neck and spine.
Even if the pain isn’t terrible, you should be seen by a specialist to make sure it is not a serious injury.
3. Pain is Worse at Night
Are you able to do your daily activities, but have a hard time sleeping?
Most back pain gets better when you rest. If you feel fine during the day, but your pain returns night after night, that could be a sign of something serious such as a sprain or disc degeneration.
If going to bed makes you cringe because of your back pain, or you are woken up from a deep sleep because of sudden pain, call your doctor.
4. Tingling Sensation
Ever have your hand or foot fall asleep? The tingling or numbness from back pain can feel similar. It can happen in any part of the body, but it is usually felt down the legs.
If you feel tingling or numbness, it may be a sign of nerve damage. This is more serious than the normal back aches you may get from bending and lifting.
If you feel tingling, numbness, or any shooting pain, contact a back and spine specialist to prevent any long-term nerve damage.
5. Fever Along With Back Pain.
A fever of 101 degrees or more is a sign of an infection somewhere in the body. If you have a fever accompanying your back pain, tell your doctor.
This could be a sign of some sort of infection in the spine that can come from a weakened immune system.
If there is an infection somewhere along the spine, it can usually be treated with antibiotics prescribed under physicians care.
6. Rapid Weight Loss
Most adults keep a steady weight. So, if you suddenly lose weight rapidly — such as 5 pounds in a week, for a few weeks in a row — contact your doctor.
If you have back pain and are experiencing a sudden loss of appetite, nausea, or vomiting, don’t hesitate to see a specialist.
These could be signs of something serious, such as a tumor growing around the spine.
7.Loss of Bowel or Bladder Control
Tell your doctor if you having trouble controlling your bowels or bladder. This can be a sign of a rare but serious condition called cauda equine syndrome.
This condition is caused by a herniated disc or trauma to the spine that causes the nerve roots in the end of the spine to become paralyzed.
Along with the loss of bowel and bladder control, let a back and spine specialist know if you have any feeling loss in your pelvis.
Other Areas of Concern
Other considerations that need to be addressed when deciding to call a specialist:
- If the back pain is persistent in a child or teenager. Most back pain doesn’t occur until about the age of 35. If your child is complaining of back pain, it’s best to get it checked out.
- Constant back pain for an individual who has been treated for cancer. If you have had cancer, or are currently being treated for cancer and you get new back pain, contact your doctor immediately.
- Anyone who may have a weakened bone condition such as osteoporosis or osteopenia. These conditions can cause a weak spine and cause back pain.
- If you are taking steroids for any reason. Back pain can be a side effect of taking steroids.
- Any individual who has a weakened immune system. Having a weakened immune system means the risk of infection is higher. If you have HIVs or Heart Disease, you may have a weakened immune system.
- Any obvious deformity of the spine such as scoliosis. There are certain procedures that can be done by a back and spine specialist.
- If there is blood in the urine, along with one-sided back pain. This could be a sign of a possible kidney infection.
Are you finding that you have to give up your favorite activities because of the relentless pain every time you move? Back pain that interrupts your life can be frustrating.
We are here you help you. When talking about back pain and different treatments, it can be scary and intimidating. We will provide the best care and the best course of action for your specific injury.
If you have any of these seven symptoms, stop relying on Google to find answers, and give us a call so we can help you find relief.