Did you know that back pain is the primary culprit of missed work? That’s important from a societal perspective, as it has economic consequences—an estimated $225.8 million each year. While massive, we have to humanize back pain on the individual level and among those who are suffering from it.
Whether lower back pain keeps you from effectively performing your job, sleeping well at night, or picking up your young child, there are ways to address it.
Symptoms of Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain manifests in different ways. For some, it can feel like a sharp, stabbing pain. Other individuals experience a dull, throbbing ache. Lower back pain can also present at different times and in different circumstances. You may feel it most when awaking in the morning and getting out of bed—or upon standing after a lengthy period of sitting, such as at your work desk. In some cases, lower back pain doesn’t appear until you bend over to pick something up or lift a heavy object.
Lower back pain can even present as hip or gluteal pain. The lower back is the true cause, but those other areas feel the burn. In worst case scenarios, back pain can lead to changes in bowel or urinary control.
Who Is at Risk?
Certain occupations set the foundation for potential lower back pain problems. Individuals who stand or sit for long periods of time are at great risk. Heavy lifting represents another major contributing factor. Factory workers, hair stylists, office professionals, delivery drivers, nurses and other healthcare staff all operate daily in physically demanding situations where back pain can result.
What’s problematic is that many people cannot identify a known cause for their lower back pain. They may be active, healthy individuals who don’t work in industries where back pain is most prevalent.Even the simple act of tossing an item in the trash can can trigger a back spasm. With that, almost everyone is at risk for experiencing lower back pain at some point in their lives.
With such a wide range of contributing risks and symptoms, the question becomes, when is it time to seek help from a trusted professional?
Back Pain Is Conquerable
Oftentimes, I encounter individuals who have let their back pain get the best of them. They attempted to work through it with heat, ice, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers. While these methods can be effective, there’s a time when they are not enough. Other patients took misinformed steps—such as resting too much, which can actually exacerbate lower back pain.
In the end, by the time they scheduled an appointment with me, the pain was either unresolved or had worsened. There’s so much misunderstanding about lower back pain and when to seek professional care,which is often compounded when individuals look their symptoms up on the Internet.
My best advice when it comes to lower back pain is to address it sooner rather than later with the knowledge and expertise of a seasoned spine professional. There could very well be underlying issues, such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis. Fortunately, not all causes of back pain require surgery with a Neurosurgeon like me. Many times, the issue can be fixed by appropriate guidance and non-surgical measures. When timely intervention occurs, individuals can resume their daily activities with minimal interruption.
Our physicians and staff treat each patient as an individual by identifying, diagnosing, and treating their unique needs. There’s a very good chance we can get you back to baseline very quickly. But first, we have to understand the full extent of your pain and what might be causing it.
If you’re experiencing lower back pain, whether an isolated incident or in chronic form, please get in touch with us for a personalized consult.