Lower back pain is one of the most common medical complaints for both women and men, in part because we use our lower back for so many activities. What’s important is to know when home care is OK and when it’s time to see a doctor.
At Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation in Pembroke Pines, Florida, David Berkower, DO, helps patients of all ages relieve lower back pain with custom treatment plans based on their symptoms, medical history, and other factors. If you have lower back pain, here’s how to know when it’s time to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Berkower.
Causes of lower back pain
Your lower back is one of the most flexible parts of your spine, and that means it’s subjected to a lot of stress and strain. It also means there are lots of issues that can cause lower back pain. Some of the most common causes include:
- Herniated discs
- Muscle strain
- Degenerative conditions
- Back injuries from falls or overuse
- Age-related changes in the spine
- Poor posture
Identifying the underlying cause of lower back pain is the first step toward getting the most appropriate treatment.
Lower back pain can be chronic or acute. Acute pain is pain that occurs suddenly due to an injury or another reason, while chronic pain is pain that lasts 12 weeks or longer. If an acute problem, such as an injury, is not treated, it can turn into a chronic problem.
When it’s time to see a doctor
Some types of back pain may clear up in a day or two, such as mild back pain arising from a day of strenuous activity. But there are times when medical evaluation is the best choice for relieving symptoms and preventing them from getting worse.
In general, you should call the office to schedule an appointment if your lower back pain:
- Is severe or continual
- Interferes with your normal activities
- Interrupts your sleep
- Lasts longer than two weeks
- Gets worse
- Is associated with numbness or tingling in your legs
- Is associated with back spasms
- Feels worse after long periods of sitting or standing
- Is associated with swelling or redness along your spine
- Is accompanied by fever or unexplained weight loss
Ignoring lower back pain can result in more serious medical problems, including permanent disability. Generally, if you have lower back pain, it’s a good idea to call the office to see if Dr. Berkower recommends a visit, even if your pain seems mild.
Treating lower back pain
Dr. Berkower is skilled in several treatment options for lower back pain. He takes a whole-patient approach and aims to relieve symptoms as well as improve spinal health.
First, Dr. Berkower performs a thorough physical exam, including a review of your symptoms and medical history. He also performs diagnostic imaging and other tests as necessary to confirm or rule out specific causes. Treatment options include:
- Oral medication
- Corticosteroid injections to reduce inflammation
- Nerve block injections
- Physical therapy
- At-home exercises
- Lifestyle changes
Dr. Berkower employs a holistic approach to back pain, focusing on rehabilitation using nonsurgical approaches whenever possible.
If you have any type of lower back pain, don’t ignore it. Delaying medical care could result in worse symptoms and more advanced problems with your spine. To learn what to do about your lower back symptoms, book an appointment online or over the phone with Berkower Pain & Spine Rehabilitation today.