The U.S. Center for Disease Control recently reported that lower back pain is the leading cause of pain. Americans spend at least $50 billion each year on back pain.
Back Pain: Acute or Chronic?
Spine issues typically fall into two categories; acute and chronic. Acute pain is considered a new pain occurrence with typically no previously known issues. Often a combination of icing, heat and stretching aids a quick recovery.
Chronic back pain is pain that has been ongoing for weeks, months or even years. You may have self-treated with a combination of rest, over the counter medications or chiropractic care. Prolonged rest is no longer a recommended treatment so if your pain persists, a good first step is to talk to your doctor.
When to Get Help
Regardless if the pain is acute or chronic, if you experience any of the following signs and symptoms you should contact your doctor immediately:
- Constant or intense back pain, especially at night or when you lie down.
- Pain spreads down one or both legs, especially if the pain extends below your knee.
- Weakness, numbness or tingling in one or both legs.
- Occurs with unintended weight loss.
- Occurs with swelling or redness on your back.
Always seek emergency care if back pain occurs after a high-impact car accident, fall or sports injury; causes new bowel or bladder control issues; or occurs with a fever.
Don’t allow back or neck pain to keep you from the things you love. St. Joe’s offers a comprehensive Spine Program providing both non-surgical and surgical spine solutions. Our highly skilled care team includes board certified, fellowship trained doctors and surgeons, as well as a nurse navigator who will help guide you every step of the way.
By: Ahmad Issawi, MD, Board Certified Neurological Surgeon
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