Back Pain Again?

Back Pain Again?

Back Pain Again?

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We do not have time for Back Pain.

But,  unfortunately,  there is a good chance we will all experience back pain sometime in our lives.  The good news is that most episodes of back pain are not serious and resolve over time.

But,  physicians are always on the lookout for more serious causes of back pain.  Not to alarm the reader,  but your physician will usually ask questions trying to see if you have any reason to suspect the more serious causes.   Typical questions asked are:

1.  Have you had a serious fall, or injury?  If yes,  there will be suspicion for potential break to the bones,  or a significant traumatic tissue injury.  Depending on your complaints,  your physician may order diagnostic tests such as x-rays or MRI’s.  If not,  these tests may not be necessary in the short run, as you may improve,  and not need them.

2.  Do you have any history of cancer?  Unfortunately, people with a prior history of cancer may have back pain secondary to recurrence.  If you do have this history, and the pain does not improve within a few days,  you should consider followup with your physician.

3.  Are you experiencing fevers, sweats, or chills?  In rare instances,  this could mean an infection causing your back pain.  People with prior histories of other infections,  cancer, diabetes or any immune compromise disorder need to be aware of this possibility and should contact their physician.

4.  Are you experiencing inability to control your muscles,  or lose control of your bladder or bowels?  This is sometimes very embarrassing for patients to discuss.    But,  if you are definitely losing control of your bodily functions and soiling yourself,  you need to contact your physician immediately,  or go to the emergency room for an evaluation.  Sometimes back pain is a side effect of a significant nerve compression in the spine.  The nerves can be permanently irritated causing permanent loss of muscle strength, or bodily function.  While some functions ultimately recover,  the nerves to the bladder and bowels are more sensitive and need urgent evaluation to determine the  cause of the lack of control.  If it is a nerve compression,  aggressive measures including surgery may be necessary.

Fortunately,  most episodes of back pain do not have the associated problems above.

More typically,  a person does not really even recall exactly what caused the back pain.  It can be something as simple as reaching for your shoes,  or twisting in bed.  Many people describe back pain  in terms of “wrenching the back”, or lumbago.  Often times back pain is associated with a listing to the side,  or spasms with restriction of motion.  In the end,  as  long as you are not experiencing excruciating and progressive pain,  you can usually wait, slowly stretch,  take over the counter medications such as tylenol, and ice the area until you recover.

If  however,  the pain lingers for more than a few days,  a visit to the doctor may be beneficial.  Often times,  your doctor will obtain a detailed history, and once it becomes apparent there is no significant concern,  will counsel you on stretches,  medications,  mild muscle relaxers,  ice, and time.  It can be frustrating,  and we know we do not have time for back pain,  but time will heal the back.  Then,  your physician will counsel you on ways to prevent recurrence, or  techniques to reduce the duration of back pain.

In the end,  for most people,  back pain will resolve.  To prevent or minimize future episodes,  you should speak to your doctor about preventative techniques and regimens.

 

Citations

  • Waterschoot FP, Dijkstra PU, Hollak N, de Vries HJ, Geertzen JH, Reneman MF. Dose or content? Effectiveness of pain rehabilitation programs for patients with chronic low back pain: a systematic review. Pain. 2014 Jan;155(1):179-89. PubMed PMID: 24135435

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Author and Contributor to www.Spine-Health.com – July, 2015

www.Spine-Health.com/author/john-h-shim-md-facs

Chief of Surgery, Mease Countryside and Mease Dunedin Hospitals, Safety Harbor and Dunedin, Florida. 2014-2016.

Orthopaedic Section Chief Mease Countryside Hospital; Safety Harbor, Florida Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.2008-2013

Board Member Morton Plant Mease Research Council

Co-Director of Mease Neuro-Ortho Spine Center Mease Dunedin Hospital; Dunedin, Florida.

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Top Ten Most Liked Spine Surgeons on the Internet – July 2016

2016 Spine Surgeons to Know list – January 2016

2014 Spine Specialists to know list – September 2014

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The Best Orthopedics in Tampa

The information provided on this website does not provide or should be considered medical advice. It is not a substitute for diagnosis or treatment of any condition. The information provided is for informational purposes only. You should not rely solely on the information provided on this website in making a decision to pursue a specific treatment or advice. You should consult directly with a professional healthcare provider.

As a condition of using the information on this website, ShimSpine and its physicians are not responsible for any advice, diagnosis, treatment or outcome you may obtain.

ShimSpine.com is completely self-funded. No outside funds are accepted or used. This website does not utilize paid advertising as a source of revenue.
Outpatient Spine Surgery Considerations. www.Spine-Health.com. January 2016.

What is Spinal Stenosis? www.Spine-Health.com. October 2015.

Surgeon insights on the Changing Landscape of Orthopedic Care. OrthopedicToday. June 2014

Chapter 33: Interspinous Spacers. Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

Chapter 35: Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Lumbar Fusion Technique.Shim JH, Mazza JS, Kim DH Published in Minimally Invasive Percutaneous Spinal Techniques. Elsevier Health Sciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Published 2011)

March 2010 Minimally Invasive Transforaminal Lumbar Interbody Fusion American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting New Orleans, Louisiana February 2010

February 2010 A Review of Dynamic Stabilization in the Lumbar Spine Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

November 2009 Lumbar Spinal Stenosis Community Based Lecture; Tampa, Florida

September 2009 Instructor/Proctor Minimally Invasive Lumbar Cadaver Lab; Tampa, Florida

February 2009 New Spinal Technology: Cervical Disc Replacement and Interspinous Spacers. Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

February 2008 The Degenerative Spine: The Role of Dynamic Lumbar Stablization and Interspinous Spacers Selby Spine Symposium; Park City, Utah

October 2008 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

September 2007 Emerging Technology in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

October 2006 Emerging Technology and Techniques in Spinal Surgery Orthopaedics in the 21st Century Symposium; Morton Plant Mease Healthcare; Largo, Florida

May 2005 The Role of Kyphoplasty in the Treatment of Vertebral Compression Fractures Mease Neurosciences Symposium; Clearwater, Florida
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