5 Signs It's Time to See an Orthopedic Back Doctor for Back Pain

Chronic back pain plagues approximately 16 million adults. For these people, back pain makes daily tasks difficult or even impossible. Fortunately, the back doctors at Town Center Orthopaedics have years of training and experience to help you return to an active and healthy lifestyle.

A spine specialist talks to a patient about his chronic pain.

Some back pain, particularly acute back pain, may not need a back and spine specialist to guide you back to a functioning life. Acute back pain typically comes as a sudden injury such as incorrectly working out, lifting weight or items that are too heavy, sleeping in an uncomfortable position, etc. Typically considered flare-ups, these injuries generally heal within a few days. Rest and ice or heat can treat acute injuries. However, if not taken care of properly, an acute injury can turn chronic.

Though chronic pain (that is, pain that lasts for at least three months) can feel demoralizing, you do not need to live a life with chronic back pain. There are several ways to manage chronic back pain, such as physical therapy (including using stretches for back pain) or ice or heat for back pain. In some cases, surgery can bring relief. Regardless of the treatment method, visiting a back doctor and pain specialist will help get you on the right path.

When to Visit A Back Doctor or Spine Specialist

Not sure if you need to see a back doctor or pain specialist? These five signs will tell you if it’s time to visit a back and spine specialist.

Your Pain Lasts for Several Weeks

If you recently hurt your back and your pain has not gotten better over a few weeks with rest and at-home medication, you should schedule a visit with a specialist. At your appointment, you will discuss your symptoms with your back doctor and undergo further evaluation. It is important to address the pain as soon as possible before the injury becomes more severe.

You Have Pain Spreading Down One or Both of Your Legs

If you experience shooting pain down either or both of your legs, you may have sciatica. Sciatica is radiating pain from the lower back and buttock region along the path of the sciatic nerve. This occurs when a herniated disk pinches the nerve. During an evaluation, you will undergo a physical examination of your lumbar region and pelvis, your gait will be observed, and you will have a neurological exam.

You Feel Weakness, Numbness, or Tingling in Your Legs or Back

Weakness, numbness, or tingling associated with back pain may be an indication of nerve damage. In most instances, the nerve damage will not be serious, but there are times when an immediate trip to a back and spine specialist is advisable. Consider visiting a back doctor if over-the-counter medication does not help your pain. Ignoring weakness, numbness, or tingling can lead to serious and permanent damage.

You Experience Bowel or Bladder Problems

If your back pain or injury leads to bowel or bladder problems, such as loss of control, you should seek medical assistance as soon as possible. If these problems persist with back pain, the results may be serious. This could be cauda equina syndrome, where the spinal disc presses on the nerve roots.

You Have a Fever

Back pain accompanied by a fever can indicate a serious infection, which requires ruling out by a physician. If a doctor diagnoses you with an infection, they will prescribe antibiotics and closely monitor you until your symptoms improve.

If you experience any of the five signs associated with back pain, scheduling an appointment with a Town Center Orthopaedics back doctor will help you receive the treatment you deserve. Our back and spine specialists offer high-quality, state-of-the-art orthopedic care in multiple locations. When you experience problems with your back, spine, and neck, our back doctors and pain specialists can provide the treatment you need to reduce pain and get back to normal activity.

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If you feel you need to visit a back doctor because you are experiencing the above signs, call Town Center Orthopaedics or request an appointment today.

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TCO provides patients with orthopedic problems the trusted resources and patient-centered advice they need to “Feel Better. Move Better. Be Better.”