Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Back Pain - Is It Time To See Your Doctor?

According to a research, most Americans spend $100 billion in medical bills, disability and lost productivity each year due to back pain. One of the contributing factors mostly seen related to this are bad posture and bad habits.
But for most people who have back-pain episodes, at least 90% of them won't require surgery or long term treatment, according to Ali Bydon, M.D., a neurosurgeon from Johns Hopkins.
"When it's lower back pain, most of the time we're talking about something related to poor standing or sitting posture, lifting improperly or sudden movements that cause muscle spasms", Bydon says. For the other 10%, among the most likely problem is lumbar-or low back-disc herniation. Other conditions might include arthritis or cancer.

The important thing is to be able to recognize the red flags.

First, a loss of bladder control or bowel control requires immediate medical attention, Bydon said. If you've had a low back pain for longer than 3 months, consult a spine specialist. An accompanying leg or buttock pain that lasts more than a couple of months may indicate a nerve root compression. If chronic back pains occur in your thoracic - or middle - region, pain with motion or difficulty urinating, you should be evaluated as soon as possible.

"It's important that we pinpoint what's generating the pain", Bydon said. Neurosurgeons do that via clinical exams, patient history and imaging techniques."

Source: Johns Hopkins Health Magazine