Back pain is so common that it is one of the main reasons why people worldwide take sick time off from work. In a majority of cases, back pain will get better without the need for medical intervention – sometimes, however, symptoms are more serious and warrant further investigation and treatment.
With back pain often the lower back is affected. This is because the larger spinal bones (vertebrae) in your lumbar region (lower back) have to support the weight of your upper body and withstand powerful forces from actions such as bending, lifting, and twisting, making it susceptible to painful injuries and chronic conditions.
The lower back is composed of muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and nerves, and damage to any of these structures can trigger low back pain. If you suffer with back pain and are finding that it is interfering with your daily life, it may be time to seek help from a doctor.
How Do I Know I Should See a Doctor for Back Pain?
Temporary back pain usually improves within a few weeks. Rest, heat/cold therapies, and over-the-counter pain medication may be all that is required.
However, it may be necessary to see a doctor for an evaluation if:
- You have severe back pain that has lasted for more than a week without improvement, or if it continues to get worse.
- Your back pain is preventing you from carrying out normal day-to-day activities or work duties.
- You also have other symptoms, such as weakness and/or numbness that travels into the groin, hip, and/or leg (which can indicate spinal nerve compression).
Back Conditions Best Treated by a Physician
When you have low back pain that is getting worse or isn’t improving, over-the-counter remedies will eventually cease to provide relief. A spine doctor can diagnose and treat your low back pain, which is often caused by one of the following conditions:
Sciatic pain happens when the sciatic nerve (the thickest and longest nerve in your body, which extends from your lower back down to your feet) becomes compressed or inflamed. Symptoms can include weakness, tingling, numbness, and shooting pains, and these often travel from the lower back down through the back of the leg and into the foot.
Arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling inside joints, including the joints of the spine. Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis, and this can result from wear and tear, injury, or overuse. It causes the protective cartilage at the ends of the bones to gradually wear away, resulting in painful bone-on-bone rubbing.
A herniated (ruptured) disc can cause significant back pain. Discs are the cushion-like pads which act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae bones in the spine. When a disc is herniated, the outer layer of the disc is torn and thereby allows its gel-like center to leak out. This can irritate and put pressure on the nearby nerves and spinal cord, causing pain.
The aging process and degenerative conditions can cause the spaces within your spine, where the spinal cord and nerves travel through, to start to narrow. This is a condition known as spinal stenosis. It places pressure on the nerves, causing pain, numbness, and weakness.
When spinal stenosis occurs in the upper spine, it can affect the neck, shoulders, and arms. When it occurs lower in the spine, it can affect the lower back, buttocks, and legs.
Doctor for Back Pain in Southeast Michigan
If you’re experiencing anything from low back pain to neck pain, call the specialists at Ahlgren Spine. Our dedicated team of medical professionals will diagnose your pain based on a comprehensive examination to evaluate your muscle strength, range of motion, symptoms, and medical history.
To find out more about the services we provide or to schedule an appointment, call us today at (248) 215-8080, or complete our appointment request form online now. We have offices conveniently located in Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, and Royal Oak. We look forward to helping relieve your pain and getting you back to doing the things you enjoy.