Did you know that back pain accounts for over 264 million lost workdays annually? That is two workdays per full-time worker in the United States.
While back pain usually goes away on its own, it can also persist. The statistics just mentioned can tell you how it can interfere with your daily activities.
If back pain has started to take over your life, it is in your best interest to consult a back pain doctor to see how it can be alleviated. Consulting a doctor means you will have to go through an evaluation, which consists of you answering certain questions and giving your doctor specific details about your back pain.
Here are a few useful tips for describing your back pain effectively to help your doctor pinpoint the cause.
· Recall when your back pain started.
People often consult a back pain doctor if the pain goes on for more than a few weeks. Back pain may be regular or episodic.
To help your doctor assess your condition, it pays to try to remember when your back pain started. Don’t forget to mention if you recently sustained an injury or got involved in a traffic accident.
· Identify the exact location(s) of pain.
Your spine has three regions: upper, middle, and lower back. Different back conditions can be associated with different sections. For instance, upper back pain is commonly linked with problems associated with muscle overuse and strain, while persistent lower back pain may indicate soft tissue injuries, spinal cord problems, or degenerative conditions.
It also helps to describe if the pain is isolated or extends to other parts of your body. For example, low back pain extending to your legs may indicate the compression of the sciatic nerve, requiring you to seek sciatica treatment.
In addition to this, tell your back pain doctor if a specific movement triggers or intensifies the pain. Likewise, make sure to tell your doctor if you notice certain movements or positions that can alleviate your symptoms.
· Talk about the intensity of your pain.
You can use the numerical pain scale (0 to 10) to relay to your doctor the intensity of your pain: zero denotes no pain; one to three, mild pain; four to seven, moderate pain; eight to ten, severe pain.
While subjective, a pain scale can help your back pain doctor compare your ratings over time, determine if the pain has improved or worsen, and analyze if the treatment is responsible for any changes in the intensity.
· Know the exact adjective to describe your pain.
Adjectives such as “sharp,” “dull,” “stabbing,” or “tingling” are typically used for describing pain. Knowing their nuances and mentioning other symptoms, such as inflammation, swelling, and sensitivity to touch, may help your back doctor determine which condition may be the culprit in your pain.
Comprehensive Back Pain Treatment in Greater Detroit
At Ahlgren Spine, Dr. Bradley Ahlgren, our board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon, has over 25 years of experience providing comprehensive, high-quality spine care to countless patients in the Detroit area and surrounding communities.
To arrange a consultation with Dr. Ahlgren, you may call our friendly staff at (248) 215-8080 or request an appointment online now. We look forward to giving you the highest quality of spine care!