What to Know Before Visiting an Orthopedic Doctor for Back Pain
Back pain is an exceedingly common ailment that affects millions of people every year. Whether it shows itself through a dull ache or a sharp stabbing pain, it can make even simple tasks difficult.
If you suffer from occasional back pain or chronic discomfort, understanding the causes, relief options, and preventative measures for back pain can help you return to your normal routine. Read on to learn about your back pain and how to fix it with the help of an orthopedic doctor for back pain.
Back Pain Warning Signs of a Serious Problem
While most back pain is not a sign of a severe problem, it’s vital to be aware of back pain warning signs that may signal a more severe condition. If you experience any of the following symptoms, book an appointment immediately:
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Severe pain that doesn’t improve with rest
- Pain accompanied by a fever
- Pain accompanied by unexplained weight loss
- Numbness or tingling in the legs
- Weakness in the legs
Common Causes of Back Pain
Back pain can be a complex problem that originates in different body parts and because of various conditions. With that said, there are some common causes that orthopedic doctors for back pain frequently diagnose and treat, including:
Poor posture can put pressure on the spine and lead to back pain. Sitting for extended periods in a slouched position, lifting heavy objects improperly, or standing with a hunched back can all contribute to poor posture.
Lifting heavy objects, sudden movements, and overuse of back muscles can lead to muscle strain. Such movements can cause inflammation, pain, and discomfort in the back.
Bulging or Herniated Discs
The discs that cushion the spine can bulge or herniate, causing pressure on the nerves that run through the spine. Bulging or herniated discs can cause pain, numbness, and tingling in the back.
Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens the bones, making them more susceptible to fractures. Weak bones can cause spinal compression fractures, leading to back pain.
Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation of the joints in different parts of the body, including the back region. Often causing chronic back pain, arthritis can result in lasting pain and stiffness in the back.
Back Pain Relief and Prevention
Though back pain can make life difficult and uncomfortable, there are, thankfully, many treatment options available to get you back to pain-free living. The best treatment and outcomes will come from visiting an orthopedic doctor for back pain. With years of training and vast treatment experience, you can rest assured that the doctors at South Island Orthopedics have the resources to provide you with the treatment you need.
Although visiting a medical professional is the best course of action, there are some things you can try at home to relieve and prevent back pain, including:
Regular exercise can help strengthen the back muscles and improve flexibility, helping to prevent back pain and reduce the severity of existing pain. While general exercise is beneficial, a physical therapist will aid greatly in showing you which exercises are right for you.
Stretching can help alleviate back pain by improving flexibility and reducing muscle tension. Some effective back pain stretches include hamstring, spinal twists, and hip flexor stretches.
Heat and Cold Therapy
Applying heat or cold to the affected area can help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Hot packs, warm baths, and heating pads can all effectively relieve back pain. Similarly, cold packs and ice packs can help reduce inflammation and numb pain.
Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen, can help reduce back pain. However, following the recommended dosage and not relying on these medications for long-term relief is essential.
Proper Lifting Technique
Using proper lifting techniques can help prevent back pain caused by muscle strain. When lifting heavy objects, bend at the knees and lift with your legs rather than your back.
At-Home Stretching Routine for Back Pain
Although a physical therapist or orthopedic doctor for back pain will always be able to customize a stretching routine for your back pain needs, there are some stretches that you can try from the comfort of your living room. Some effective stretches that can help alleviate back pain include:
An excellent stretch for relieving spine and lower back muscle tension. Begin on all fours with your hands and knees on the floor. Arch your back by pressing your abdomen forward and bring your head up as you inhale (“Cow”), then round your spine by tucking your tailbone and bringing your head towards your chest as you exhale (“Cat”). Repeat this stretch for ten repetitions.
This pose is great for stretching out the lower back and glutes. Start on all fours with your hands and knees on the floor. Lower your hips back towards your heels, and stretch your arms out in front of you. Hold this pose for 30 seconds.
This pose is excellent for stretching the lower back and neck muscles. Lie on your stomach with your hands on the floor under your shoulders. Inhale as you lift your chest off the floor, keeping your shoulders down and away from your ears. Hold for 10 seconds, then release as you exhale.
Back Pain Treatment
Given how broad the term “back pain” is, there is no silver bullet in terms of back pain treatment. What might work for one person might have no impact on another. With that in mind, choosing a medical provider with expertise in treating back pain is essential to finding the optimal treatment for your ailment.
Whether you require physical therapy, injections, surgery, or a mixture of alternative treatments, the orthopedic doctors for back pain at South Island Orthopedics have you covered. With state-of-the-art training and equipment, we can diagnose and treat your back pain to get you back to the active, healthy, and pain-free life you want.
To schedule an appointment, click here.
In the meantime, we recommend reading our free eBook, Spine Surgery and Care for Long Island and Beyond. In it, you will learn all about:
- Common symptoms associated with back and spine conditions
- Symptoms that require immediate medical attention
- The potential causes of your back pain, including disc disease and osteoarthritis
- Non-surgical treatment options
- Surgical procedures to correct back pain when conservative measures fail to bring relief
- When to talk to an orthopedist instead of your primary physician
- The leading back and spine specialists on Long Island
Click here to claim your free copy!