Back Spine Doctor
When you first begin to experience the symptoms of back pain, the experience may be both frightening and disabling. You may be experiencing your symptoms as the result of a trauma, or your symptoms may have simply crept up out of nowhere. Eventually, if the length of time that you have been suffering goes on too long, or if the severity of symptoms becomes too great, you will typically seek a doctor for help.
Upon presentation of yourself in an emergency room or your physician's office, your primary care physician will want to get an accurate medical history and any information from you that may be relevant to your back condition. Here are some of the most common questions that patients are asked before and during their physical examination.
When did the pain begin? The information about when the pain began, and under what conditions, is critical information for the doctor to have. The doctor will want to know how long you have been suffering from symptoms and under what conditions did the symptoms first present themselves. The length of time a person has experienced will tell doctors whether the back pain is acute or chronic. If the pain first originated while doing a certain movement, or after a trauma, then these events point to a likely muscular injury or soft tissue injury of the back.
Acute onset of back pain is most closely associated with a specific episode of trauma to the spine, such a shoveling heavy snow, or lifting heavy bags while in an awkward position. In contrast, systemic illnesses cause pain that is gradual in inset, and may involve pain in joints in more than one portion of your body. Spondyloarthropathy is an inflammatory condition which specifically affects the joints of the spine, causing pain and stiffness that has a gradual onset and which becomes a chronic condition to manage.
How long does it last and how often does it occur? Back pain may be an acute condition, which comes on suddenly, or a chronic condition that lingers for months to years. Regardless, the specific types of back pain symptoms and their severity will probably fluctuate throughout the day, or from day to day and month to month. Doctors will be in a better position to diagnose your back condition if you are able to give them an accurate timeline concerning how long the symptoms last and how often they occur.
If your condition is mechanical in nature (not the cause of a systemic disease), then the initial episodes of low back pain will resolve themselves in a matter of days. If the cause remains untreated and symptoms continue to occur, then the outbreaks of pain episodes may become more frequent and last longer - from weeks to over a month. During your physical examination and interview, try to remember all the details of your life associated with the times when your outbreaks have occurred. Ask yourself if they have coincided with any highly emotional events in your life, or if they occurred on days when you engaged in certain strenuous physical activities at work or home. The frequency of pain follows environmental exposure, spreading mulch for your yard in the summer or shoveling snow in the winter.
If you have back pain related to a medical condition, then your outbreaks of symptoms are more likely last much longer, compared to mechanical back pain outbreaks. The onset of symptoms is less likely to be related to a particular exercise or awkward lifting posture, and it may last for months, with minimal variation in discomfort.
Where is it located and where do you feel it? The location in your back where the symptoms occur, how far the pain radiates, and whether or not you also experience pain in another part of your body - will be three facts your doctor will want to know about. The location of pain may indicate whether or not your condition is associated with a soft tissue injury in your lumbar spine, or if the structures of the pelvis, such as the sacroiliac joints, are causing your symptoms.