Most everyone experiences back pain – and in most cases it resolves itself within a few weeks with the aid of rest, applying cold or heat, and perhaps an over-the-counter ibuprofen. However, there are times when back pain should be reason for concern and a visit to your physician. Such as:
- If the pain does not improve after a week to two of home treatment and rest.
- If the pain is constant or intense, especially at night or when you lie down.
- The pain spreads down one or both legs, especially below your knee.
- It causes weakness, numbness or tingling in one or both legs.
- It is accompanied by unintended weight loss.
- In addition to the pain, there is swelling or redness on your back.
- If it is accompanied by a fever.
- If it’s related to a high-impact car accident, bad fall or sports injury.
- If you’re over 50 and have experienced trauma, even what appears to be minor.
- If it causes bowel or bladder control problems.
- If you have medical history of cancer, suppressed immune system, osteoporosis, or chronic steroid use.
What you can expect if your back pain does require medical attention
After providing your physician with your medical history, you will likely be given a physical exam. During the exam, the doctor may observe your muscles and joints, ask you to sit and lie down, have you move your back in different positions, observe and feel the area of most pain, and/or check to see if other areas of your body are tender or painful (such as the kidneys, intestines or other organs). If the doctor can identify the likely cause of your back pain at this point, no further tests will be needed. However, additional testing required may include any of the following:
- CT Scan
- Bone Scan
- Blood tests
Call Dr. Stephen Courtney today!
Again, the good news about back pain is that it typically resolves itself in a matter of a week or two.
But if you have any of the symptoms of concern regarding your pack pain, we invite you to contact us today and schedule an appointment with Dr. Courtney.
As a fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon and founder of the acclaimed spine division at Plano Orthopedic Sports Medicine and Spine Center, Dr. Courtney is well known for his straight-forward and honest approach. Dr. Courtney operates only if clearly indicated with the most proven techniques, which has earned him a superb reputation among his professional colleagues, medical peers and patients.
Dr. Courtney has been Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at the Medical Center of Plano and a member of the hospital’s Executive and Operating Room Committees. He is a current member of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, North American Spine Society and the Texas Spine Society. Contact us today!