Have you ever had a mild, dull ache in your back and can’t find a solution for it? Or maybe even minor movements trigger sharp and shooting pain? Well, you’re not alone. Back pain can affect anyone, whether young adults or the elderly.
The pain can either focus on a specific area or affect the entire back. Sometimes, it even spreads to your legs, hips, or abdomen. Back pain can disrupt daily life or even be disabling, so it’s vital to be aware and take note of how it affects your quality of life. Back issues and their symptoms can also hint at severe problems that need medical attention.
Difference Between Acute And Chronic Back Pain
There are two types of back pain: acute and chronic. Acute back pain, by definition, doesn’t last very long and tends to be sharp and stabbing. The stabbing pain typically lasts for four weeks or less. However, the condition can become a recurring one if not addressed.
Conversely, chronic back pain is recurring, long-lasting pain. It’s possible to develop chronic back pain if you leave acute back pain unaddressed. It can develop over time and last for over 12 weeks. A common area for chronic pain is the lower back.
Common Causes of Back Pain
Certain people may be more vulnerable to back pain. It can depend on your physical fitness, weight, working conditions, age, and genetics. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to reduce your risk of back pain and the likelihood of injury.
Common causes of back pain include:
- Sports injuries
- Medical conditions that affect vertebrae: spinal stenosis, spondylolisthesis, fractures, and scoliosis
- Inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis
- Bulging or herniated discs, causing pain and irritation to nerves
Orthopedic Treatment for Acute and Chronic Back Pain
When to See an Orthopedist
It is difficult to say if your back pain will be acute or chronic when it first develops. That’s why it is important to know when to see a doctor for treatment. In most cases, if you get injured during sports play, exercise, at work, or while doing an activity such as lifting something heavy, you should see a doctor. There is a risk of an underlying injury that could get worse if not treated promptly. Your doctor will perform an exam and order diagnostic imaging to get to the root cause of the pain. If an injury that needs treatment is discovered, it will be treated promptly, giving you pain relief in an expedited manner.
If your back pain doesn’t seem to have any cause, it might go away after a short time. Sometimes, sleeping in a wrong position or a change in your activity level can cause back pain temporarily. Within a few days, it should subside. If the pain doesn’t go away, worsens, or spreads, it’s best to see a doctor.
Finally, if your back pain is accompanied by other symptoms, such as a fever or limb numbness or tingling, it should immediately be checked by a doctor, as it could be a sign of an infection, tumor, or another complication.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosing back pain can take some time, especially if it is chronic back pain. Your doctor will order diagnostic imaging, perform a physical exam, and ask for details about your lifestyle, activities, and symptoms. Typically, this information is enough to make a diagnosis.
Once an orthopedist has a diagnosis, they can decide how to address your back pain. Treatments can vary from nonsurgical or minimally-invasive methods to surgical procedures. The specific treatment or procedure recommended will depend on the underlying cause of your back pain.
Nonsurgical or minimally invasive treatments include the following:
- Lifestyle changes including practicing proper movement and healthy habits
- Medications such as over-the-counter painkillers and muscle relaxants
- Physical therapy
Surgical procedures are usually for conditions caused by structural issues. Due to the risks, your orthopedist needs to ensure that you are a candidate for surgery. Spine surgery can improve pain caused by spinal stenosis, herniated discs, and more.
Orthopedist for Acute or Chronic Back Pain in New Jersey
Back pain is not merely a minor inconvenience. It’s uncomfortable at best but may worsen and become a debilitating problem. Don’t let it stop you from enjoying your life and living an active lifestyle. It is best to identify the pain and treat it as early as possible with an orthopedist’s help.
Orthopedic Associates of West Jersey is a team of experienced specialists, providing you with the best possible care. We aim to restore your quality of life permanently by treating your back pain properly. We offer treatment for various spinal conditions and medical concerns affecting bones and muscles throughout the body.
Contact us by calling (973) 989-0888. Also, feel free to ask questions and schedule an appointment online, so we can help you! We look forward to helping you live a pain-free life!