Back pain can make your life miserable. It can have many causes as it is made up of a complex structure of vertebrae, ligaments, muscles, nerves, and the spinal cord. Anissue with any of these can cause pain. While it is not recommended that you see a doctor for every instance of backache and pain, some signs indicate it may be time to see a back pain specialist.
Shooting pain that radiates to your extremities
Pain that radiates to your upper or lower extremities is a symptom of a pinched nerve. This type of pain won’t resolve itself with at-home treatments. You may have a bulging or ruptured disc that is compressing the spinal nerves and causing radiating pain.
Tingling and weakness
If your legs and feet are tingling and feeling weak and the symptoms are accompanied by pain and cramping, you could have lumbar spinal stenosis. This isa narrowing of the spinal canal that irritates the spinal cord or the nerves surrounding the spinal canal. Osteoarthritis is a risk factor for this condition. Spinal stenosis is often treated initially with injection therapy and physical therapy, and surgery for unresponsive cases.
Pain that prevents you from falling asleep
Sleep is a vital aspect of a healthy life and critical to recovery if you have been sick. It’s the time when the body heals and repairs itself. If you cannot fall asleep at night due to your back pain, you will feel the effects in the morning and throughout the day. It not only affects your quality of life but can prevent you from healing. Often, back pain that becomes worse at night time is a sign of something more serious.
Loss of bladder or bowel control
The inability to control bladder or bowel function indicates something serious. Cauda equina syndrome is a condition caused by a herniated disc in the lower vertebrae pressing against a nerve that controls bladder and bowel control. If you have this issue, make sure to let your doctor know during your visit.
Problem with arthritis
Back pain could indicate arthritis. It commonly affects the facet joints in the lower back and the degenerative disease can contribute to many other conditions such as spinal stenosis and radiculopathy — a pinching of the nerves as they exit the spine. Sharp, shooting pain is a common symptom of radiculopathy. If you’ve been diagnosed with arthritis in other parts, the symptoms for spinal arthritis are similar — pain, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness.
Symptoms that do not go away after a few weeks tells you that a visit to an orthopedic doctor or back pain specialist is necessary. Also look at your symptoms in light of all existing conditions you have, such as osteoporosis, arthritis, or a history of cancer. If you have any of these conditions, do not wait to seek medical attention.
Orthopedic Doctor for Back Pain in Catonsville, Columbia, or Eldersburg
At The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics, our spine specialists are experts in diagnosing and treating the full range of back problems and can coordinate your care with other specialists if and when necessary. To consult with a spine specialist for your back pain, call (410) 644-1880 to make an appointment or use our convenient request form.