Signs Your Backache is More Than Just Pain
Does your back give you pain? Well, you are not alone. About 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time. So, when should you be concerned that your back pain is too severe to cope with on your own? Read on to see if surgery or other interventions are right for you.
The Good News
The good news is that most back pain does not require surgery. You most likely can ease your back pain with alternative forms of treatment, depending on the severity of the pain. Ice, heat, spinal injections, physical therapy, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help tremendously. One of the best treatments is regular exercise. Research shows that proper exercise eases back pain and can keep it from coming back.
Reasons the Pain May Be Serious
If you have any of the following conditions, you should see your doctor for a full examination to determine what is right for your body:
- A slipped disk that isn’t getting better on its own
- Bone spurs in your spine that are putting pressure on your spinal cord
- A degenerative spinal condition like stenosis (narrowing of the protective bony canal around the spinal cord) that’s causing side effects, like weakness
- Weakness or numbness in your arms and legs that could be due to pressure on the nerves somewhere along your spin
- Trouble walking or using your hands
- Lost bladder or bowel control because of a problem with the nerves in your back
- A spinal infection, or high fever with back pain
- A broken or dislocated bone in your back
- A tumor on your spinal cord
Remember, talking to a surgeon doesn’t mean you have to have surgery. It is simply an opportunity to learn more about your options. A surgeon may even recommend trying all forms of alternative treatment to manage your back pain without surgery.