Lower back pain – is it time to see a doctor?



Low back pain is one of the most common conditions in adults and one of the most common reasons for visiting a spine doctor. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, around 80% of adults will have lower back pain at some point during their lives. Some of these people will become patients of an orthopedic spine surgeon in Palm Beach County, however it doesn’t necessarily mean they will require back surgery or other invasive treatments.  

Lower back pain usually develops due to minor injury or overuse, but sometimes there may be no immediately obvious cause. The most common reason is wear and tear of the intervertebral disc. This disc is a gelatinous shock absorber between each vertebral body which allows movement of the lower back. As we age the discs can develop small fissures that may progress to include tears, protrusions, and frank disc herniation. Trauma or work injury may expedite the process which would normally progress gradually. 

The most common causes of lower back pain

Sprains and strains: Sprains occur when a person overstretches or tears a ligament, while strains result from overstretching a tendon or muscle. Back sprains and strains can result from sports injuries, overuse, lifting something too heavy or without a proper approach or twisting awkwardly. Symptoms may include pain, tenderness, swelling, and stiffness of the lower back. Rest and physical therapy are usually sufficient remedies for these symptoms. 

Herniated disk: The discs in the back are extremely prone to injury and the risk increases with age. Disk herniations are thought to be the result of “wear and tear” and usually follow some bending, lifting, or twisting injury. Environmental factors include professions that involve heavy lifting or torsional stress, and motor vehicle driving. This condition can then cause pain to radiate down one or both of the legs. 

Spinal stenosis: Spinal stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of the spinal canal, which puts pressure on the spinal cord and spinal nerves. Spinal stenosis occurs most commonly due to degeneration of the discs between the vertebrae and can affect any portion of the spine, but most commonly involves the lumbar spine (low back) causing lumbar stenosis.

Sacroiliac Joint Pain: You have two sacroiliac joints in your lower back and they sit on each side of your spine. Their main role is to carry the weight of your upper body when you stand or walk and shift that weight to your legs. The pain starts when the sacroiliac joint gets inflamed.

Other reasons for lower back pain include conditions related to an abnormal spine curvature, e.g. scoliosis, kyphosis, and lordosis, or conditions such as spondylolysis and spondylolisthesis

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When to see a doctor 

Although sometimes innocuous, lower back pain can be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. If your lower back pain persists for an extended period and prevents you from performing your routine tasks or physical activities, it is time to see a specialist. 

The first step in figuring out what the root cause of your lower back pain is should be to consult with a reputable spine doctor in the Boca Raton area and Palm Beach County.

Dr. Matthew Hepler – an orthopedic spine surgeon in Palm Beach County – is your best option for a correct diagnosis, the most effective treatment plan for your specific case and, in case you need, also a back surgery in Boca Raton

Contact us directly at 561 – 345 – 1780 or make an appointment using the contact from provided on our website. We will be happy to assist you! 

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Â Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.