As common as it is to experience back pain frequently, even daily, research shows us a common thread among sufferers: they do not see a specialist about their problem. According to statistics, millions of workdays are missed each year as a result of back pain. When surveyed, thousands of people report that, in the previous six months, they have experienced back pain more days than not. This tells us how common of a problem we’re dealing with. We’re also learning why so many people postpone getting the help they need.
Why People Don’t See the Doctor for Back Pain
Perhaps it is because back pain is so common; perhaps it is because people fear that they will need surgery. Whatever the reason, surveys show that many of those who are struggling with frequent, persistent back or neck pain manage on their own. They try to decrease pain by taking medication, resting, limiting activities, or using hot and cold therapy. In most cases, patients tell us they didn’t think their back pain would persist for so long. By the time they do see us, their pain has become a distraction in their lives. In fact, that is one of the indicators that it’s time to see a doctor for back pain. We’ll discuss more here.
Quality of Life
Back pain is often a tricky matter. At first, pain may be acute for a week or two. Self-care remedies may improve comfort but not completely resolve pain. However, because improvement has occurred, it’s easy to expect it to continue. It often doesn’t. Back and neck pain worsen gradually, though. At first, a person may find themselves rubbing their shoulders or neck or back. They may find that they don’t run to catch the elevator or play with children as freely as they used to. These changes occur so slowly that it can take years for a person to see how much their quality of life has degraded.
Another sign that it’s time to see a doctor about back pain is that symptoms have begun to spread. At first, back pain is often localized to the part of the spine where damage has occurred. Examples of damage include herniated discs and degenerative disc disease. Over time, if the problem continues and disc space is compromised, symptoms like radiating pain, weakness, or tingling may develop in the arms, hands, or legs. These symptoms suggest that nerves are being compressed and care is crucial to avoid permanent damage.
Innovative Spine Care is a pain management practice in Tampa, FL that is helping people regain the quality of life they deserve. To learn more about our treatment for back and neck pain, call (813) 920-3022.