Pain is our friendliest enemy, it keeps us out of trouble even though it often seems to actually be the problem. The body ‘locates’ pain near the surface quite well but has trouble indicating the source when the pain is deep. Chronic back pain from deep injuries, diseases or infections of organs, such as the heart, stomach, lungs and back may seem to come from somewhere else nearby or may radiate into multiple places.
Intense pain may be more localizing but not always. Therefore, when back pain is accompanied with other changes, fever, swelling, redness, heat, neurological problems or changes in body functions, the diagnosis may be sharper, and the back pain diagnosis may be more serious. I firmly believe that each patient is different and each person experiences pain differently due to a variety of factors including age, weight and co-morbid disorders.
You should call your doctor about chronic back pain if:
- You feel numbness, tingling, or weakness in your groin, arms or legs; this may signal damage to the spinal cord. Seek immediate medical help.
- The pain in your back extends downward along the back of the leg; you may be suffering from sciatica.
- The pain increases when you cough or bend forward at the waist; this can be the sign of a herniated disc.
- The pain is accompanied by fever, burning during urination, or frequent and/or urgent urination. You may have an infection.
- You begin to have problems controlling your bowels or bladder; seek immediate medical help.
Other “red flags” that could point to a serious back pain problem include:
- A history of cancer
- Unintentional weight loss
- You have been on steroids or medication that weakens your immune system
- A history of trauma
- Pain that is getting worse and does not get better after you rest
- Pain that has lasted more than a month
- Nighttime pain
- Unresponsive to earlier back pain therapies
- A history of IV drug use
I focus my attention on creating unique treatment plans based upon an individual’s lifestyle, activity levels, age and ability. If you would like more or if you would like to schedule an appointment, please contact 713-650-6900.