Pain is our friendliest adversary; it keeps us away from trouble even though it usually is the actual problem. The body identifies pain near the skin surface quite well but has trouble identifying the source when the pain is deep. Pain arising from deep injuries, diseases or infections of organs, like the heart, stomach, lungs, and back may seem to be coming from some other nearby area or maybe radiating into many other places. Severe pain may be more localized but not at all times.
What Kind of Doctor Treats Back Pain?
There are many different types of doctors that treat back pain, starting from family physicians to other doctors who specialize in disorders of the nerves and musculoskeletal system. In the majority of cases, it is best to see first, a primary care physician. Most of the time, the physician can treat the problem. If they cannot treat the problem, the doctor would refer the patient to an appropriate specialist.
The different types of health professionals who specialize in the management of back pain tend to have differences in their training and interests. Although it is more common, to begin with consulting a primary care provider that can be a medical doctor, chiropractor, or doctor of osteopathic medicine, and if the pain persists then the services of a spine specialist would be necessary.
What Symptoms Associated with Back Pain Should Prompt you to see a Doctor?
The main purpose of these warning signs is to identify fractures, tumors, or infections of the spine on time. If one has any of these red flags together with back pain, one should see a doctor as soon as possible.
- Fever: of course, the back pain could be achy and tight from flu, but a fever which is not responsive and also accompanied by back pain could as well be a sign of a serious infection or may be indicative of something more systemic.
What to expect: a primary care doctor will understand that it is not an infection. If a case of infection is suspected, antibiotics will be administered. If the doctor rules out infection, the patient would be asked to rest for a couple of days. This can be very helpful. In some cases, back pain can be as a result or a tertiary consequence of infection causing the fever. However, once the patient starts to feel better, the doctor would recommend a slow resumption regarding daily activities. Resting for an excess of more than a day or two can make the back pain worse.
- Trauma: If one has had severe trauma, like falling from a height or a car accident or if one has even had a minor trauma and the individual is over 50 years of age, the doctor will want to make a thorough examination of the back. Even just a simple fall off a few steps when one is older can cause a fracture.
What to expect: the doctor will probably take an X-ray to rule out fractures. If fractures are ruled out, the patient will be prescribed medications to manage the pain at first before taking on physical therapy.
- Numbness or Tingling: the patient might think that they can stop numbness or prickly tingling with over-the-counter pain medications, but this is usually an indication of nerve irritation or damage, and it is clinically more of significance than the typical pain. If that feeling of pins and needles won’t disappear, the person may be experiencing one of several conditions, like a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, that may be putting pressure on a nerve. If left untreated, irreversible damage can occur, and this will lead to permanent disabilities.
What to expect: It is smart to first see a primary care doctor for evaluation of the condition. Treatment will be specific for each diagnosis. Other test involving imaging the spine and checking of nerve conduction may be carried out as well.
- Medical History of Cancer, Immunosuppression, Osteoporosis, or Chronic Steroid Use: A history of cancer would make the doctor check for cancer metastasis as a possible cause for the back pain. A suppressed immune system could make the doctor suspect an infection as the cause of the back pain. Also, having a history of osteoporosis or even chronic steroid use could also make the doctor suspect that the fracture is the cause of your pain as well.
What to expect: the primary care doctor may order a series of tests, like blood work or an MRI to check for tumors or an infection or they make also order X-rays to rule out fractures. The patient may be given antibiotics for the infection. Fractures can be treated using medication, physical therapy, and in most cases surgery. Pain management for cancer that has metastasized to the spine may include medications and definitely radiation therapy.
Back Pain Doctor Near Me
If finding a primary care physician looks hard, then, locating a specialist for chronic pain can seem almost impossible. There are some steps that can be taken in finding a qualified, compassionate back pain doctor near you. At first, one may want to scout the internet for answers to finding the right doctor for the type of pain one is experiencing. However, don’t forget that while it is possible to find excellent and qualified doctors, it is also possible to find quacks. Make sure to search using trusted sites and always read the reviews. Better still one should visit a regular doctor and let them be the one to make a referral to a specialist.
While the previously described symptoms may seem alarming, it is also important to remember that majority of back pain are not harmful and often gets better in several days or weeks. If the back pain comes without any of the symptoms described or other additional symptoms, there is a possibility that the back pain is just mechanical. Sometimes, it is usually related to some form of physical activity or as a result of poor posture. These usually get better on their own, and they may also respond to basic pain remedies. The main point is that everyone should remember that if in doubt, always consult a back pain doctor. With back pain, in general, if it is progressive, it will not respond to rest and simple pain remedies, and sometimes it involves neurological impairment, then it is not a bad idea to get it evaluated by a healthcare professional quickly.
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