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Is it Time? Should I See a Spine Physician About My Back Pain?

Kris E. Radcliff, M.D. January 19th, 2017

Seeing a qualified spine specialist is the first step toward returning to an active, pain-free life...the life you deserve. Why wait?

With our busy lives and demanding schedules, it can be difficult to carve out time in the week for one more thing. And so, when we experience back pain, we often try to ignore it or minimize it so that we don't have to address it.

If the question, "Should I see a spine physician?" has come across your mind, don't put it on the back burner. Severe or chronic back pain - like all pain - is the body's signal that something is wrong. It's a symptom of a deeper issue.

While most back pain is simply the result of a muscle strain, there are more rare and serious conditions that are important to catch early. For that reason alone, it's important to make an appointment with a qualified orthopaedic spine specialist, who can rule out the possibility of conditions such as the ones described below.

Two Rare Spinal Conditions

1. Spinal Cord Injuries: These injuries are often the result of a sudden and traumatic shock to the spine. Often, it is a traffic accident, severe sports-related injury, or incidents involving firearms or physical battery that cause injury to the cord.

In a vast majority of cases, these types of injuries lead to paralysis. However, in some cases, the patient maintains mobility, but experiences intense pain due to bruising, compression or laceration of the spinal cord. In these cases, it is imperative to be seen by a qualified physician right away. In fact, if you even have time to ask, "Should I see a spine physician," then you have already waited too long.

2. Spinal Tumors: There is always a chance - albeit slight - that symptoms such as back pain, weakness, numbness and deformity are the result of tumors in the spinal column. Tumors can lead to spinal compression or the destruction of healthy bone, cartilage and tissue, causing instability, and of course, pain.

In order to rule out the rare possibility of spinal tumors, see an experienced orthopaedic specialist about your back pain.

Should I See a Spine Physician?

Knowing When to Go

Now that you're aware of some of the more rare and dangerous conditions, we want to remind you that the likelihood of you having either of them is extremely low.

Muscle strains and herniated discs are far more likely causes for the average patient's back pain. But even these less severe conditions can and should be addressed by a spine physician. But don't go see just any physician! Take some time to look around for the best orthopaedic spine specialist and make an appointment with a doctor you can trust.

Remember, regardless of your symptoms, if you do not get relief from back pain after a few weeks, it's time to set up an appointment. And if your pain is accompanied by a fever, chills or weight loss, it's vital to get in as quickly as possible.

Time to Take Action

We can help you set up that appointment. Visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.  We look forward to helping you get on the road to recovery.

For more helpful information on spine conditions and treatments, read through our entire Spine Blog Series:

Spine Series - Blog 1: Could I Have a Spine Condition? Here's How You Know...

Common Spine Conditions

How Do I Know if I Have a Spine Condition?

Should I See a Spine Physician?

Spine Series - Blog 2: Have You Tried These Treatments for Spine Conditions?

Nonsurgical Spine Treatment

Best Spine Physician

Spine Series - Blog 3: Answering the Big Question: Do I Need Spinal Surgery?

Spinal Surgery Recovery

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