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Internal Medicine

Back Pain

If you have back pain, do not assume the worst. Back pain is a leading cause of disability worldwide. Most people have back pain at least once and the cases that require urgent care or surgery are rare. Fortunately, you can take measures to prevent or relieve most back pain episodes. If prevention fails, simple home treatment and proper body mechanics often will heal your back within a few weeks and keep it functional.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Muscle ache
  • Shooting or stabbing pain
  • Pain that radiates down your leg
  • Pain that worsens with bending, lifting, standing or walking
  • Pain that improves with reclining

What Causes Back Pain:

  • Muscle or ligament strain. Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain back muscles and spinal ligaments. If you’re in poor physical condition, constant strain on your back can cause painful muscle spasms.
  • Bulging or ruptured discs. Discs act as cushions between the bones (vertebrae) in your spine. The soft material inside a disc can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve. However, you can have a bulging or ruptured disc without back pain. Disc disease is often found incidentally when you have spine X-rays for some other reason.
  • Osteoarthritis can affect the lower back. In some cases, arthritis in the spine can lead to a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord, a condition called spinal stenosis.
  • Skeletal irregularities. A condition in which your spine curves to the side (scoliosis) also can lead to back pain, but generally not until middle age.
  • Your spine’s vertebrae can develop compression fractures if your bones become too weak.

When to see your doctor:

If your back pain:

  • Causes new bowel or bladder problems
  • Is accompanied by fever
  • Follows a fall, blow to your back or other injury
  • Is severe and doesn’t improve with rest
  • Spreads down one or both legs, especially if the pain extends below the knee
  • Causes weakness, numbness or tingling in one or both legs
  • Is accompanied by unexplained weight loss

Seek medical help if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. Book your appointment online to schedule a visit with a CareMount Medical primary care provider. Back pain is a complex condition. Our physicians can identify the source of your pain with a test or imaging/scan, and working alongside our pain management and orthopedic specialists will provide a treatment plan.