Alleviating Back Pain: Diagnosis & Treatment Options

Injuries to the back, neck, shoulder, and spine are incredibly common, but that doesn’t mean they should be taken lightly. Back pain has the potential to diminish your quality of life, but it doesn’t have to if you know when to seek care.

Back pain affects eight out of every ten adults in the United States. And, it affects each of them differently. Fortunately, with the right diagnosis and proper treatment, back pain can be alleviated.

When Should You Seek Help for Back Pain?

Back pain can range from a dull ache or constant throbbing to sharp, intense pains or sudden muscle seizes and spasms. At any level, back pain has the potential to be debilitating. It can keep you from engaging in day-to-day happenings or prevent you from enjoying the recreational activities you once loved. Back pain affects people of all ages and levels of physical ability. But, whether you’re a weekend warrior or a seasoned athlete, it is always better to seek medical attention sooner rather than later when it comes to back injuries.

The moment your back pain threatens or diminishes your quality of life is the moment you need to seek help. Pain thresholds will be different for everyone, but some common signs that you should seek medical help include:

  • PERSISTENT or failing to improve after one or two weeks
  • INCREASING in severity or range (starting in one area then spreading to another)
  • LIMITING your function and mobility to any degree

Even minor strains and injuries can worsen quickly if they aren’t treated properly, or if they’re ignored until they heal incorrectly. When in doubt, don’t “tough it out.” Speak with your primary care physician, who will be able to refer you to a specialist or orthopaedic surgeon if necessary, or if preliminary treatments like anti-inflammatories or physical therapy fail to improve your symptoms.

Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Causes for back pain vary greatly from person to person. Some may experience back pain after overexerting themselves during work or exercise, or enduring frequent muscle strain or tension due to stress. Other causes of back pain, like poor sleep, improper footwear, or simply having to sit for long periods of time are often overlooked, but they can be just as problematic.

Working with an orthopaedic physician can help you eliminate the root cause of your back pain. They will evaluate the injury thoroughly, whether it is a major or minor concern, in order to identify the source or probable cause of your back pain symptoms and determine the best course of treatment.

Orthopaedic physicians work closely with patients to design individualized treatment and rehabilitation plans that allows them to heal, recover, and prevent future complications. Treatments for back pain vary depending on the severity of the injury or condition and the specific health concerns of the patient. Treatment options range from rest and rehabilitative or physical therapy programs to targeted steroid injections and high-precision surgical interventions. The goal is always to restore patients to their highest levels of comfort, function, and mobility, optimizing their quality of life while minimizing recovery times as much as possible.

The board-certified orthopaedic physicians at Main Line Health offer compassionate and comprehensive care for an array of back, neck, and spinal conditions. Our patients also have direct access to specialists in sports medicine, knee, hip, and joint disorders, and a variety of complex musculoskeletal conditions via a referral from their orthopaedic physician or primary care doctor.

We prioritize minimally-invasive and holistic care options that ensure positive outcomes and personalized treatment, recovery, and rehabilitation experiences for our patients. Visit the Main Line Health website to learn more about orthopaedic care or to find an orthopaedic physician.

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