Taking an active role in personal spinal health could mean the difference between having to deal/manage back pain for the rest of your life and not having to. Most of us have experienced some form of back pain, whether lifting an object, bending, reaching, twisting, etc. Fortunately, it is usually not serious and we move on with our lives. However, not paying attention to those not so serious backaches can lead to chronic backaches that can lead to serious chronic back pain.
Chronic backache/s can be annoying, frustrating, and debilitating, especially when the cause is not obvious, cannot be found, or figured out. When back pain occurs from trauma or an automobile accident it’s a lot easier to diagnose.
But when it is the result of a gradual build-up of activities like sitting all day at a desk, in a truck or lifting objects, loading, unloading, pushing, pulling, stocking for several years, it could be a lot more serious than the individual might think. This is because although they are barely beginning to feel the ache or pain, the damage has been ongoing/worsening and has finally reared its ugly head.
Finding the Right Help
Getting on the right track means searching for a spinal professional that can identify and treat the source of the back pain, help with posture, diet advice, and help reach optimal health. Finding the source of the pain can be a challenge, but it is not impossible. The key is finding a knowledgeable, experienced back pain specialist and taking an active role in your spine’s health.
Chiropractors, doctors, and physicians begin with at least 4-6 weeks of non-invasive treatment. These start with tests, scans, x-rays, then move on to treatment, which can consist of ice/heat, physical therapy, adjustments, re-alignment combined with exercises, stretches. Prescription medication/s or surgery is the last option for fear of worsening conditions along with medication abuse. This approach has seen an increase in relief and favorable outcomes.
Patient Active Role
Many individuals have gone down the path of being over-medicated and are exhausted with the whole experience of being constipated, constant brain fog, etc. Those same individuals are taking that active role and getting involved by dealing with their back pain in a natural non-invasive way. Preparing before meeting with a spine professional is important to give as much information as possible.
- Write down notes about what is being felt in and around the body, not just the back. This is because of the psychological aspect of pain, which can manifest in a variety of ways.
Try To Go Back To When The Pain Started
- Think about when the pain first began
- Sitting at work/home one day when there was what you thought was a little shift or tingle
- Sports activity
- Popping, clicking, grinding sensations and sounds
- Warming, electrical, shooting sensation/s pain
- Tingling/numbness in the leg, foot, toes
- Try to describe all the details with the doctor/chiropractor even what you might consider trivial
Emotions/Stress Triggers need to be taken into account
- Major life changes and stress affects the whole body, especially the spine
Family Friend Perspective and Support
Bringing along a close family member or friend that knows your activity habits could help the doctor get a better idea of what is causing the pain. Family or friends can remember a trip, fall, dance moment that didn’t go so well, work accident, etc.
Prior medical injuries and conditions will help provide additional information as to whether there is a pattern when back pain strikes. This can be extremely important even if it does not seem to be related to the pain symptoms. Tell the doctor about any physical therapy or other holistic/conservative treatments performed before and after the pain began. Also, inform them of any medications, supplements, vitamins, herbs, over-the-counter medications that were taken prior to the pain and currently being taken. If there has been unexplained weight loss, fever, urination/bowel changes, should also be discussed.
Unless the patient is in too much pain, the meeting with the chiropractic physician will be active, meaning the doctor may have the patient perform a series of movements like:
- Bending forward, backward, and to the side
- Lifting the legs straight up while standing and lying down
- Inform the doctor of any numbness or tingling pain while performing these musculoskeletal exercises/tests.
With a patient that can’t perform the exercises, the doctor will examine the patient while lying down, by carefully and slowly palpating the painful area/s, moving the leg/s, and raising the patient up, all the while taking notes of what position/s cause discomfort and pain.
Depending on the physician’s assessment, initial treatment will take time, require the individual to take an active role, and possibly recommend the individual try different treatment options. Ask the doctor all the questions you have during the visit like:
- Could there be more than one cause for my back pain?
- Do the treatments hurt?
- The treatment will keep me pain-free or just tolerable?
- Are there self-therapies to assist healing and recovery?
- If seeing a general physician you could ask for a recommended spine specialist
The ultimate goal is for the individual to live a happy, fulfilling life that is pain-free. The doctor will do everything they can to bring an optimum level of care. If the quality of life still does not improve or when various attempts for pain relief have proven unsuccessful, then a doctor could recommend stronger medications and surgical options. Don’t wait to get professional medical help! The longer an individual waits the worse the cause of the back pain gets. Get involved and take an active role in your spinal health.
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