Back pain is the leading cause of work disability around the globe. In America, back pain takes up most of the expenditure on healthcare. It is the second most common reason in the US for a visit to a hospital.
Contrary to the common misconception, back pain doesn’t only affect old people and athletes. It can affect anyone who tends to perform physically demanding activities on regular basis or is habitual of sitting, standing, or sleeping in the wrong posture. In fact, back pain is more common in teenagers and children than you’d think. Most commonly affected victims of back pain lie between the ages of 20 and 40.
A lot of people are able to beat back pain with proper diet, regular exercise, and maintenance of posture. However, that’s only possible when back pain is only in its initial stage and not severe.
The most severe cases of back pain occur when you have contracted an injury – not to mention, back injuries are also the most common cause of back pain in all ages. But the thing with back injuries is that they don’t always show their symptoms immediately. It might take a day or two to make things painfully obvious for you.
And if you already are a victim of chronic pain, there is a possibility that you would take the injury-based pain lightly, thinking that it’s normal. That would only make things worse for you and your condition.
Therefore, it is important that you know about back injuries and the pain attached to them that require an urgent visit to a medical care center. And we are talking about specialized back and injury doctors, not primary care physicians.
Let’s look at 5 back injuries that need immediate medical attention.
Sprains and strains occur in the back due to repetitive motion of the muscles. If you lift from the back or engage in other strenuous activities regularly, your muscles in the back are likely to tear a ligament. Due to this, the area around that muscle becomes inflamed.
A back spasm is a result of such inflammation, and it’s also the cause of severe lower back pain. Moreover, back spasm restricts your movability because it halts the muscles in the affected area to protect them from further pain and damage – which means you wouldn’t be able to move your back the way you used to do before.
If you are involved in work that requires spinal pressure and constant movement of your back and you’ve been lately experiencing back spasms, it is essential that you visit a back doctor before it turns into a major complication.
Whiplash is technically a neck injury, but it affects your back too. Whiplash is a spinal injury caused mostly due to car accidents, rough sports, and trips and falls. It occurs when your neck goes through a sudden force to move back and forth rapidly, like in rear-ended car accidents. As a result, the torque of your neck – the part of the spine that connects with the skull – gets messed up, resulting in whiplash.
In almost all of the severe cases of whiplash, the pain in your neck spreads in your upper back and makes it nearly impossible for you to move your neck. If the pain doesn’t improve naturally, it is possible that your discs have been affected too.
If you have recently gone through an accident where you feel like your neck isn’t in the same way, you need to visit a doctor before the clear symptoms show up and drown you in pain. With experienced whiplash treatment, you would start feeling better within a week.
3. Herniated Disc
Our spine is made of discs, each disc containing a jelly-like substance called nucleus pulposus. This stuff isn’t meant to get out of the disc, however, injuries can result in the opposite.
A herniated disc, one of the most common back injuries, occurs when the fluid inside your spinal disc is leaking out and pinching and irritating the nearby nerves, resulting in pain, tingling sensation, and numbness. A herniated disc can be both symptomatic and asymptomatic. The case of a symptomatic herniated disc, which is mostly the case, results in nerve root pain.
This radiates pain that spreads into different parts of the body from the back, such as in the lower back, neck, arms, legs, and even fingers.
Even if the symptoms of herniated disc leave, without the proper treatment, pain can stay for longer. Therefore, if you feel an abnormal feeling in your back, it is important that you visit a doctor for the required procedure of treatment.
4. Vertebrae Fractures
Our spine is made of small stacked-up bones called vertebrae. Due to shock and pressure, these bones can be fractured, like any other bone in the body. These fractures can be of different types. For instance, in compression fractures, the bone is pushed together and collapses upon itself.
The worse kind is burst fracture, where the small bone collapses into pieces that leak out to the tissues around the spine, including the nearby nerves that might trigger the nerve root pain.
The worst of such fractures is fracture-dislocation. In this horrible condition, the bones slid away from each other because the ligaments of the back muscles are torn too.
Back pain is a common symptom of all vertebrae fractures. Depending on the case of the fracture, the pain can mild or severe. However, the mild or even slight pain isn’t to be ignored. It might just be a day or two before the pain becomes even worse and stays for longer – and there’s no telling when it will be finally gone.
Whether the pain is slow and gradual, sudden and sharp, or just tingling and numbness, it can become a greater complication if it’s left untreated. In any sort of back pain, the correct decision would be to visit a specialized back injury doctor.
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