Back pain is one of the most common health problems faced by almost 65 million Americans. This medical condition is common at nearly every age and can be due to several causes. According to GU Health Policy Institute, back pain is the sixth most costly health condition in the United States.
The severity of back pain can vary from moderate to severe. It can have a serious effect on both your physical and mental health, hampering your lifestyle. Most of the time, back pains are just a result of bad posture or some less-important health conditions. Other times, neglecting them can make things worse.
So, when should you see a spine specialist? Today, we will be discussing which back problems need expert attention and how soon. But before that, let’s know who an orthopedic spine specialist is.
Who is an Orthopedic Spine Specialist?
If you face any spine or back-related problems, you would be asked to see an orthopedic spine specialist. Orthopedics is a medical category that specializes in the musculoskeletal system. A spine specialist under this category focuses only on the diseases and issues related to our spinal system.
Orthopedic spine specialists are highly trained medical professionals who can track and detect your problem quickly. They often run surgeries as a solution. So, we often call them orthopedic surgeons.
Spine specialists are highly trained with medical schooling of about eight years. They go through various clinical practices and always focus on developing their skills to the next level. People suffering from severe back pain or prolonged pain in the lower back should see an orthopedic spine specialist at the earliest.
When Should You See a Spine Specialist?
Chronxic Pain vs. Acute Pain
People often confuse acute and chronic pain. It either causes them to avoid unavoidable situations or panic without any serious reason. First, you have to understand what acute and chronic pains are.
Acute pain is a sudden pain that vanishes quickly. These happen due to temporary problems and go away sooner. Acute pain is most likely to last for up to 4 weeks. If your back pain is acute, you’ll soon get away with it without requiring much medical attention.
However, if it lasts for more than 4 weeks, it can be subacute pain. Subacute pains last for 4 weeks to 12 weeks. These can be treated using medicines and other therapies. You should see a spine therapist if your pain lasts for more than 4 weeks.
Chronic pain lasts for more than 12 weeks. It can be due to various reasons. Many times, chronic back pains may vanish under proper medical guidance (using medicine and therapies). But, other times, they could require surgery.
So, if your pain lasts longer than 4 weeks, you should see a spine specialist without wasting a minute. He/she can determine the cause quickly by running a few tests. The sooner you address the issue, the better results you would get.
Feet or Leg Pain
Leg or foot pain is not an uncommon issue. But if it is accompanied by back pain, it might be a sign that you should see a spine specialist. Pressure on nerves or your spine can cause numbness in your hips, leg, and thighs. Sometimes, a herniated disk can interfere with leg muscle control by pressing on the sciatic nerve.
Delaying treatment in such conditions can cause many physical damages. A spine specialist would be able to detect the problems and prescribe a treatment. Most of these problems should go away with proper medical guidance. But sometimes, surgical intervention might be necessary.
Fever is a common health condition. Feeling pain in the muscles is common during this state. Flu or cold can cause fever and muscle pains in any part of our body, including our back. So, if it is just a fever when you have back pain, you don’t have to worry.
But if the fever is consistent with the back pain, maybe it is time to visit a spine specialist. Fever with back pain can be a sign of more severe problems, such as bacterial infection or cancer.
Cancer symptoms mostly include fatigue, weight loss, and fever. Spine cancer or osteosarcoma is a rare kind of cancer. But, it is also possible for other cancers to spread to that area.
Shedding extra calories out of our body is a good habit. If you hit the gym regularly to keep yourself fit, having back pain with weight loss might be expected. Sometimes, it could happen due to weight lifting injuries. Other times, it can occur due to loss of bone density. But intentional weight loss is an entirely different thing.
If you keep losing weight without working out or anything, and if your back still hurts for more than 4 weeks, it’s time to see a doctor. Various reasons can cause this situation, including cancer and infections. A spine specialist can confirm the reason and treat your symptoms accordingly.
Sometimes, back pain is not a big issue. Stress, poor posture, lack of exercise, poor diet, and many other factors can contribute to this health problem. But, if it’s severe and chronic, you must never overlook it. Seeking expert guidance and physical therapy from The Spine & Rehab Group would help address the issue and keep you on the safe side.