If you’re no stranger to lower back pain, you may be suffering more than you need to. Lower back pain can also be a sign of an underlying problem or condition that should be treated to prevent worsening symptoms or other serious developments. Here are some critical signs to watch out for if you’re experiencing lower back pain. If you identify with any of the following, we recommend you go in for an evaluation with an orthopedic spine surgeon.
1. Your Lower Back Pain is Persistent
Occasional or short-term back pain, such as may be brought on by straining to lift a heavy piece of furniture, is one thing. But persistent lower back pain that lasts for longer than 6 weeks is quite another. If your back pain has become chronic, you should come in for spinal imaging and evaluation. We can identify the source of your pain and indicate what treatment could best alleviate your symptoms.
2. Your Lower Back Pain is Significant
No one should have to live with significant lower back pain. Some people experience back pain that is so intense that they have to lean over a cart, walker, or other assistive device to experience relief. If your back pain is extreme and/or debilitating, treatment can help! An orthopedic spine surgeon can conduct testing and evaluation to identify the source of the pain, then recommend a treatment plan to ease your symptoms.
3. Your Lower Back Pain Began After You were Injured
Lower back pain can sometimes be caused by a traumatic event or injury to your back. If you were in a car accident or experienced a sports injury or similar, it’s definitely worth taking the time to get an evaluation of your spine. Lower back pain brought on by a traumatic injury should always be checked out by a professional.
4. Your Lower Back Pain is Spreading
Is your lower back pain spreading to other areas of your body? Some underlying health problems can cause lower back pain to radiate into the buttock/s or leg (sciatica). If your back pain is accompanied by pain in these areas, you should get spinal imaging and evaluation.
5. Your Lower Back Pain is Cyclical
Some people have lower back pain that is not constant, but comes and goes in waves. If you experience ongoing cycles where your lower back pain remains stable and then suddenly worsens, or if certain activities and movements cause your lower back pain to flare up, these are signs of an underlying spinal problem. It’s time to get an evaluation.
6. You Are Experiencing Numbness, Weakness, and Other Neurological Problems in Addition to Lower Back Pain
Many people do not know that spinal problems can cause significant neurological issues beyond lower back pain. Some back problems that start with lower back pain may progress until they cause permanent numbness, weakness, incontinence, balance problems, and even paralysis. If you are already noticing any of these, you should meet with an orthopedic spine surgeon right away for spinal imaging and evaluation. Timely intervention may be able to prevent worsening and/or permanent nerve damage.
Getting an Accurate Diagnosis and Treatment for Your Lower Back Pain
To get a proper diagnosis for your lower back pain, it is best to meet with an orthopedic spine surgeon; as an expert in this area, your surgeon will know what to look for and how to reach a conclusive diagnosis for your lower back pain. A combination of a detailed medical history, physical examination, MRI, CT scan, X-rays, reflex testing, and other evaluation methods may be used to diagnose your condition and ensure that you get the treatment you need.
Treatment plans for lower back pain range from conservative to surgical. The type of treatment recommended for you will depend on the cause of your pain, how far the problem has progressed, and your health and well-being. While some patients will need surgery, in many cases, conservative treatments can provide sufficient relief. Know that with the right treatment plan, you can achieve relief from lower back pain.
Dr. Stephen Pehler is a board-certified orthopedic spine surgeon in Denver, Colorado. If you are suffering from lower back pain, Dr. Pehler can evaluate your condition and help you get the diagnosis and treatment you need. To book your appointment with Dr. Pehler, call (303) 695-6060 or contact us online today.