Why Doctors Take Low Back Pain Seriously
Low back pain on one or both sides, below the L5 vertebrae, is the most common symptom in people with SI joint dysfunction.
One of the most frequently asked questions of doctors today revolves around the topic of low back pain. Most American adults have battled some degree of spine discomfort at least once in their lives. From a pulled muscle while lifting something heavy, to a strain during rigorous exercise and everything in between, the vast majority of us can’t escape the occasional backache. But when the distress becomes more frequent or regular, seeing a physician and getting to the bottom of the pain is important for long-term relief. Too many minor low back problems can become worse when they are ignored or treated incorrectly. Here’s what you need to know.
For the pain from any condition to be considered “chronic,” the discomfort associated with it must be present for longer than 12 weeks. When it comes to low back pain, this simply means any pain that has lasted more than three months and is being caused by a condition affecting the bottom part of the spine, usually below what is called the L1 vertebra. That’s a very broad definition. The truth about pain is that it can be a different experience for every person, which can make it difficult for health professionals to measure it objectively. When it comes to lingering issues with the low back, the scale of severity can have a wide range—from mild discomfort that doesn’t really disrupt quality of life, to severe pain that prevents the everyday activities required to live life independently.
Though sometimes difficult for a physician to immediately diagnose, low back pain is the main symptom associated with SI joint dysfunction. No matter how bad it feels, any back pain that has lasted longer than 12 weeks is not “normal” and should be looked at by a trained spine specialist.
While the scale of problems with the lower back can have a long range, so can the type and sensation of the pain. Recognizing how and where the pain is felt can go a long way in getting to the bottom of the spine condition that is causing it. Is it a burning sensation that feels like it’s radiating from the bone in the lower back? Or maybe it’s a sharp, stabbing pain coming from one side of the buttock and shooting down the leg? When pain has lingered for months, it can sometimes be tough to describe in detail where you feel it and how. But doing so can really help a physician with a proper low back pain diagnosis. And with the correct diagnosis comes a better chance at effectively treating the pain. Just remember that the type and sensation of pain can vary from person to person and the details are very important. Aching, burning, tingling, dull or sharp, slight or intense and feeling like muscle, nerve or bone pain are all good pain description examples to discuss with your doctor.
It is important to understand that low back pain is not a condition itself, but a symptom of a problem with your spine. So, treatment depends strongly on the condition that is causing it. There are times when the source of the pain is difficult to find. Sometimes the original cause of a lower back problem has been healed, but the pain from it is still present. Even when this is the case, no one should feel like they must “deal with” the pain. Treating chronic low back pain is a focused process and it is the job of doctors and other health care providers to help overcome it.
From more simple pain relief methods like physical therapy, to other treatments like medication and in some cases, surgery, it is important to note that ignoring pain isn’t a treatment option. Although it may take time to get to the bottom of what’s causing low back pain, doing so is important in figuring out the right solution.
Find A Doctor
It takes a knowledgeable and skilled healthcare provider to accurately diagnose SI joint dysfunction and develop the best plan for treating it. Treatment depends specifically on what is causing your pain, if you suspect that your pain may be caused by the SI joint, ask your healthcare provider for more information.