When To See A Pain Specialist About Back Pain
Back pain is one of the most common medical conditions with more than 8 in 10 of us will experience it during our lifetime. There are many reasons why your back may hurt—from a pulled muscle to more serious back and spine conditions. The type of discomfort ranges from a dull backache to sharp pain. The most common type of back pain is acute—which means it goes away within weeks. Chronic back pain lasts longer than three months. Knowing when to see a specialist for back pain is half the battle when it comes to finding relief. Many people continue to function with mild backaches and find relief with at-home care measures. But, it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of a more serious back problem that requires a professional medical diagnosis and treatment.
Common Causes of Back Pain
Two of the most common reasons for back pain are muscle strains or ligament sprains. Obesity and bad posture can put strain on your back and make it hurt. Arthritis and other changes in your spine as you get older can cause back pain. More serious causes of the condition include a ruptured disc or fractured vertebrae. Possible causes of back pain includes:
- Herniated disc, when the soft center of spinal disc “slips” out of place
- Osteoporosis, a disease that thins and weakens bones including the vertebrae
- Osteomyelitis, a bone infection
- Sciatica, or pain along the path of the sciatic nerve
- Scoliosis, a type of curvature of the spine
- Stenosis, a narrowing of spaces in the spinal column or nerve passages
- Ankylosing spondylitis, arthritis in the spine
- Sacroiliitis, inflammation of the joint between the pelvis and lower spine
Back Pain Treatment at Home
Most back pain gets better on its own. Over-the-counter pain medication may help ease your symptoms. You can also try applying hot or cold packs to reduce your back pain. Both heat and cold stimulate the nerves (which can ease pain) so use whichever you prefer and see what works best for you. We commonly recommend heat to relax tight muscles, but you may find ice reduces swelling. Use your heat or cold pack for about 15 to 20 minutes at a time. Don’t apply the heat or cold treatment directly to skin are it can cause irritation. Rest and avoiding activities that especially put strain on your back may also help while you heal.
If you are still experience frequent back pain, give us a call at 408-766-4322 and we can do a free back pain assessment to help get rid of the back pain altogether.