Like neck pain, back pain refers to a broad category of sensations which can affect the middle-upper or lower back, and may even radiate into the legs. Back pain usually ranges from a dull ache, to burning, to a shooting or stabbing feeling. Most back pain resolves with rest or home remedies, but this is not always the case. If you are experiencing:
- Severe and chronic pain
- Pain accompanied by a fever
- Numbness or weakness in your buttocks
- Pain, numbness, or weakness in your legs
- Bowel or bladder problems
- Unexplained weight loss
there could be a serious medical problem and it may be time to see a doctor.
Lower back pain can develop from a number of sources. Often, it occurs due to mechanical issues concerning the muscles, ligaments, tendons, or bones in your back. In other cases the pain may be neurological in nature, and might require tests or detailed imaging to properly diagnose.
Causes of lower back pain include:
- Muscle or ligament sprain or strain
- Herniated disc
- Degenerative disc disease
- Spinal stenosis
A structural deformity in the spine, such as scoliosis, can also lead to lower back pain.
Numerous treatments can provide relief or help you manage your back pain depending on its severity and symptoms. While surgery can address many of the causes of back pain listed above, surgery is rarely recommended immediately. After an evaluation, our providers may first advise one or more conservative treatments, such as:
- Modification of activity
- Anti-inflammatories and over-the-counter pain medications
- Steroid injections
- Physical therapy
- Chiropractic care
In the event that conservative therapies fail to relieve your pain and a more potent approach is needed, Dr. Li may recommend surgery.