Most people have experienced or will probably experience back pain at some point. Some may recover with rest and medication. However, if you’re feeling intense pain that lasts for weeks or even months, you may need to drop the home remedies and see a doctor to help with your spine issue.
Of course, you want to seek help from the right type of doctor if you want your pain to properly and effectively be addressed. In case of spine problems, a back doctor might be the appropriate healthcare professional to treat your back injury or chronic pain.
How Can A Back Doctor Help With Spine Problems?
If your back pain is severe, ongoing, or accompanied by other symptoms such as numbness or tingling, it may be time to see a back doctor. First, you’ll need to look for someone who is a specialist in your specific pain condition or injury. It can be one of the following:
- Orthopedic doctor
- Physical therapist
Once you choose a doctor, they can help with your spine problem by evaluating your condition and offering the appropriate treatment for your pain. They may also refer you to another type of back specialist, such as a spine surgeon or pain management specialist.
First, your back doctor will perform an examination on your spine. They’ll assess your ability to use your limbs and your ability to stand, sit, lift your legs, and walk. You may be asked to rate your back pain on a scale to determine its severity. Determining the location and cause of pain is crucial to arriving at the proper diagnosis. Your doctor might order one or more tests:
- X-ray. These images will show how your bones align. Your doctor can then determine whether you have a broken bone, a disc issue, or arthritic damage.
- CT scan or MRI. These images can show herniated discs or issues with muscles, bones, tissues, nerves, tendons, nerves, blood vessels, and ligaments.
- Blood test. This can help determine whether you acquired an infection or another condition that could be causing your back pain.
- Bone scan. This is used to look for compression fractures or bone tumors caused by osteoporosis.
- Nerve studies. By measuring the electrical impulses of your nerves and muscle responses, it detects nerve compression caused by herniated discs or spinal stenosis.
After your diagnosis, your doctor will suggest the treatment method most suited to your needs. The treatment options for spine problems include:
- This depends on the type of back pain you have. It could include over the counter pain relievers, muscle relaxants, topical pain relievers, or narcotics. You’ll need to follow the proper dosage for effective and safe relief. Remember that prolonged use may come with unwanted side effects.
- Diet modification. In some cases, your diet may be contributing to back pain, especially if it’s high in trans fats, refined sugars, and processed foods. Switch to a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight to lessen pressure on your spine.
- Lifestyle adjustments. Listen to your body. Avoid activities that worsen pain and limit your activity, if needed. Quit smoking because nicotine is notoriously known for accentuating pain and delaying healing.
- Physical therapy. It can help strengthen your back and improve your posture. For chronic back pain, physical therapy may include:
- Correcting your posture
- Testing your pain tolerance
- Stretching and flexibility exercises
- Aerobic exercises
- Core strengthening exercises
- Joint mobilization
- Surgery and other procedures. Cortisone injections, epidural steroid injections, nerve blocks, and ablations can help relieve your pain. Surgical procedures might also be required for more severe cases.
- Alternative medicine. While a back doctor may not be qualified to perform any alternative medicine procedures, such as chiropractic care and acupuncture, they can advise you on which alternative medicine would suit your spine problem.
When Should You Consult A Back Doctor?
Consider scheduling an appointment with a back doctor if:
- Your back pain lasts for more than two weeks.
- Your pain is starting to interfere with your daily activities.
- Your pain worsens and spreads to your hips, thighs, or legs.
- Your pain medicine is ineffective.
- Your pain follows a fall, blow to your back, or other injuries.
- Your pain is constant and intense.
- You experience weakness, numbness, or tingling in one or both legs.
- There’s swelling or redness on your back.
- You’re experiencing bowel or bladder problems.
- You have specific risk factors for cancer, infection, or fractures that affect the spine.
- You’re losing weight inexplicably.
- You’re running a fever.
Back Doctors In Hartford County, CT & Springfield, MA
Back pain can seriously disrupt your life. In most cases, it goes away on its own, but if your pain doesn’t improve and becomes increasingly debilitating, consult a back doctor who could advise you on treatment options and guide you in your recovery.
Advanced Orthopedics New England can help you put your pain behind you. With convenient locations in Hartford County and Springfield, our orthopedic doctors can provide holistic care for all orthopedic injuries and conditions. Our facilities are equipped with diagnostic imaging technologies allowing expedited, efficient, and effective care.
If you want to schedule an appointment, contact our staff at (860) 728-6740 or fill out our online appointment request form. Or you can just walk right in — no need to schedule an appointment. We look forward to ending your back pain and helping you feel better sooner!