Many people frequently seek medical attention to treat symptoms of back pain. Approximately three in four adults will experience some sort of back pain throughout their lifetime. Back pain is identified as a painful symptom which originates along the spine.
From acute back pain to chronic back pain, the symptoms can often vary. Acute back pain is characterized as a severe but temporary pain. Chronic back pain generally occurs on a daily basis and can go on for an extended period of time. Some individuals may experience severe symptoms while others may experience mild, deep, achy, burning or electric-like symptoms. These symptoms are typically manifested in conditions such as lumbar radiculopathy.
Back Pain and Other Symptoms
Back pain can also be accompanied by a variety of other symptoms, including tingling sensations, numbness, stiffness, achiness and weakness. Some physical activities may also aggravate back pain. Sitting, walking, standing, bending over and twisting at the waist are several types of movements which can worsen symptoms of back pain. Depending on the region of the spine affected and the diagnosis or cause, the symptoms may vary.
Many healthcare professionals specializing in back pain who can help diagnose the source of the individual’s symptoms. The spine is divided into several regions, the thoracic, lumbar, lumbosacral or sacrum. The symptoms of back pain may differ depending on which area of the spine is affected.
- The thoracic spine is the upper and mid areas of the back, where the ribs attach to the spinal column.
- The lumbar spine refers to the low back.
- The lumbosacral is the low back, sacrum, and the tailbone, also known as the coccyx.
- The sacrum refers to the part of the spine that located at the back of the pelvis.
The spine is a complex structure consisting of approximately 17 vertebral bones, extending between the upper back and tailbone, joints, the sacrum and tailbone. The spine is also surrounded by fibrous and muscular supporting structures, intervertebral discs, the spinal cord and nerve roots, and blood vessels. An injury such as a back sprain or strain caused by improperly lifting and twisting simultaneously, can often be a cause for back pain.
However, not all forms of back pain are caused by trauma or injury. Many back issues are congenital, meaning they occur at birth, degenerative, age-related, disease-related and they may also be associated with improper posture, obesity or unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as smoking. In some instances, the symptoms of back pain may be worse than the actual injury or condition. More over, when should you seek medical attention for back pain?
- If you cannot stand upright.
- Fever accompanies pain.
- There is loss of bladder or bowel function or control
- Leg pain and/or weakness progressively worsens.
- And the pain is relentless or worsens.
Many patients with back pain have described feeling afraid and anxious, which is often also a normal symptom that can generally manifest with complications. Most people who experience upper, low or lower back pain, even down into one or both legs, will know when itâ€™s time to seek medical care.
What to Expect from a Healthcare Specialist
Whether your back pain is mild or severe, temporary or chronic, and whether the symptoms require urgent medical core or not, make sure to seek medical attention to receive a proper diagnosis for your back pain. Once you’ve visited your healthcare provider, below is what you can expect from them.
- A review of your medical history, including the medical history of immediate family members to determine if they’ve also had back issues. Some back problems, such as scoliosis and osteoporosis, may develop genetically.
- Full discussion of when back pain started, what you were doing when pain began, current pain severity and characteristics, how pain may have changed since it began, and other similar questions. Your doctor wants to learn as much about your pain and symptoms before he examines you.
- Physical examination evaluates your vital signs, such as your heart rate. It is not unusual for your blood pressure to be elevated as a result of pain. The doctor examines your spine, feeling for abnormalities and areas of tenderness.
- Neurological examination will involve assessing sensation and function. The doctor may employ the pin prick test to determine if feeling is the same on both sides of the body. Function, flexibility and range of motion are also evaluated while you walk, bend forward and backward and during other movements. The doctor may also test your reflexes as well.
After a thorough examination, the healthcare professional may be able to determine the source of your back pain and other symptoms. To obtain more information about your specific back issue and to help confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may order an x-ray, CT scan, or MRI. Sometimes lab tests are ordered too. Keep in mind that an accurate diagnosis is essential to a well-developed treatment plan.
For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Additional Topics: What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic care is an well-known, alternative treatment option utilized to prevent, diagnose and treat a variety of injuries and conditions associated with the spine, primarily subluxations or spinal misalignments. Chiropractic focuses on restoring and maintaining the overall health and wellness of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. Through the use of spinal adjustments and manual manipulations, a chiropractor, or doctor of chiropractic, can carefully re-align the spine, improving a patientâ€™s strength, mobility and flexibility.
The information herein on "Back Pain Relating to Different Regions of the Spine" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
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