Back Pain – When To See A Doctor To Get The Best Diagnosis

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Back pain is the most common reason for employees to call in sick to work, especially if their job requires them to lift heavy loads or sit long hours in front of a computer. While these two job descriptions might be completely different, they both cause a host of complications for your body, particularly your back.

At Family Practice Specialists, we quite often see patients for recurring back pain. Whether it’s a chronic, dull pain or an occasional sharp, burning pain, upper and lower back pain is statistically the most common reasons for patients to visit their Phoenix doctor.


In order to know if that back pain is something more, you’ll want to consult your Phoenix doctor. But, how do you know when to consult your doctor? When is the pain beyond just a sore muscle? Keep reading to find out…



Back Pain Statistics

According to the CDC, back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. In fact, one-half of all working Americans admit to having back pain symptoms at least once a year. Experts estimate that as many as 80% of the population will experience back pain at some point throughout their lives.


The good news about all of these bad numbers; most cases of back pain are not associated with any detrimental medical conditions such as infection, fracture, cancer or inflammatory arthritis.



Back Pain Symptoms

Back pain is medically defined as any of the following:


  • Aching and/or stiffness anywhere along the spine, from the top of your spine (just under the skull) to your tail bone.
  • Sharp, very localized pain that radiates through the neck, shoulder or upper or lower back. This type of pain usually occurs when lifting heavy objects.
  • Chronic aching associated with sitting at your desk.
  • Pain that radiates from your back down your shoulder, arm and fingers.
  • Pain that radiates from your back down your thigh, calf and toes.
  • An inability to stand up straight without feeling muscle spasms in the back.


When to See a Phoenix Doctor

There are a few red flags associated with more extreme cases of back pain. If there is a fever associated with your back pain, it could be something more systemic and needs to be evaluated.


If you have recently or perhaps in the not so far past have suffered from a fall or car accident, you will absolutely need to let a Phoenix doctor take a look at your back.


If you are noticing issues with your bladder function, this could be an extremely rare but serious condition and needs to be treated by a Phoenix doctor immediately.


If your family has a history of cancer, osteoporosis, or suppressed immune system, make an appointment.


Most importantly, if the back pain lasts longer then 6 weeks, make that appointment with your Phoenix physician. It is not normal to be in pain for any length of time. Even if the pain fluctuates from non-existent to extreme over the course of 6 weeks, it’s important to see a Phoenix doctor for a proper diagnosis.


Diagnosing Back Pain

Even though back pain is the most common reason that adults visit their Phoenix doctor, it can also be one of the most frustrating reasons simply because it is an invisible pain. Most patients with chronic pain also suffer from a lack of family support, depression, and work concerns. It’s completely normal, which is why the family at Family Practice Specialists invite you to make an appointment with us today to discuss your concerns.


Back pain can be diagnosed a variety of ways, from blood work to urine tests, but the most common and effective way to diagnose back pain is through discussion of the pain, exam of the effected area, and x-ray. X-rays are incredibly useful at detecting skeletal defects, areas of the spine that might show compression, in addition to any pulling on the spine that tense muscles might be causing.


If the X-ray comes back completely normal, and you are still in pain, your Phoenix doctor might recommend an MRI to determine which muscles, cartilage, and/or nerves are being affected.


Take the First Step

You can do all the research in the world online, run through every medical app and plug in your symptoms, but with back pain the cause is often dependent upon a variety of things. Sure, doing the research online is wonderful because it gives you some insight into what might be causing the pain, but self-diagnosis is not the answer. Make an appointment today to get the right, most accurate diagnosis for your back pain. You can not move the next step, treatment, without a proper diagnosis.

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