Crippling back pain can come out of nowhere, sidelining you from all your favorite activities, or it can be a chronic condition that lasts for weeks or even years. When back pain is at its worst, you may wonder if you should head to the ER for help. While it could have been caused by an injury or a muscle spasm and just needs time to heal, there could be something much more serious at the root of your back pain. At Medco ER & Urgent Care, we recommend coming in for a medical evaluation.
“Back pain is a common medical concern and we can evaluate & treat it promptly with a detailed physical exam and various modalities that include x-ray & CT scan, if warranted,” said Medco ER & Urgent Care’s Regional Medical Director, Dr. Tariq Vora. “We can offer several treatment options and therapies that can help the patient feel better quickly. We are also able to refer patients to a pain management or spine specialist for serious and chronic conditions.”
Causes of Back Pain
Over 80% of the population can experience back pain during their lifetime and 25% report having back pain within the last three months1. A common condition, back pain can be caused by any of a number of things such as:
- Muscle strain or sprain
- Injury – ligaments, vertebrae, muscles, joints or discs
- Herniated disc
- Spinal fracture
- Bulging disc
“Sometimes the cause of your back pain could be completely unrelated to the spine, such as with kidney stones, appendicitis or ulcerative colitis,” said Dr. Vora. “It’s impossible to know for sure without a thorough medical exam and a CT scan.”
Treatments for Back Pain
Early treatments for benign back pain include simple things that can be performed at home. Try to rest, reduce activities, rotate ice and heat pack applications, and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or Aleve®. These things may provide some relief and give a chance for strained muscles or ligaments to heal.
If pain continues or becomes unbearable, other treatment options are available including:
- Physical therapy
- Neurostimulation therapy
- Prescribed and managed pain medication
Additional therapies may help to relieve your back pain such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, or myofascial release therapy. Muscle strengthening exercises are excellent for relieving pain and yoga-style exercise can also help with ongoing pain control.
When to Come to the ER for Back Pain
There are serious medical emergencies that can first present as back pain. Come immediately to the emergency room if your back pain is accompanied by pain in the shoulder or jaw or numbness in the arm or legs. If you have trouble standing, have lost sensation in the groin or have muscle weakness in your legs, seek immediate medical attention. If bowel or bladder control is lost, that is another emergency indicator. Back pain that is accompanied by a fever, nausea or vomiting also required urgent evaluation.
If your back pain is worse when you lay down, there may be something more serious going on. If you have cancer, HIV/AIDS or are taking immunosuppressant drugs or prolonged steroids, back pain should not be ignored. We can also evaluate patients with back pain caused by motor vehicle accident.
“We’ve got the diagnostic tools to determine the true cause of your back pain,” said Dr. Vora. “Don’t hesitate to come in and let us work to help you start to feel better.”
Fast Help at Medco ER & Urgent Care
When you experience debilitating back pain, the emergency physicians at Medco ER & Urgent Care are standing by to help. Come right in any time, day or night, and we will show you to a private room where you will see your board-certified, emergency medicine physician in a few moments. Our imaging equipment is in-house and ready to use to aid in your diagnosis, if needed. Our goal is to help you soon feel better while on your way to recovery.
- Plano: 3960 Legacy Drive on the corner of Legacy and Coit Road.
Call us @ 469-392-4000.
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