If you have a sore back or neck, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that up to $15 billion is spent on the medical treatment and disability payments each year for back pain alone.
In fact, more sick days are due to back pain than to illness each year.
The problem is that the back pain affects your entire body, your work life, and your ability to enjoy your normal activities – and that’s something that no one should have to deal with. But the good news is that while back pain can seem insurmountable, there are a lot of ways that you can take your health into your own hands.
Often, back pain is actually a symptom of something that you can control, like your activity level or the way you sit at your chair at work. Though there are other causes as well, most cases of back pain can be resolved – and you can have more pain free days.
In order to get on the road to recovery, you need to begin by diagnosing your troubles, talking with your doctor and then planning a strategy for pain management together.
But you should not feel alone in your back and neck pain troubles.
By learning more about back pain, you’re already on the road to recovery – and on the road to preventing new problems from happening. Taking responsibility for your health is often the hardest part of getting rid of your pain.
With the knowledge you gain from our website, you will be able to reduce your pain and learn how to protect your back from future injuries – and hopefully fewer sick days.
Diagnosing Your Pain
While it’s pretty easy to tell when you have back pain, your doctor is going to ask you specific
questions when you go to the office for an appointment. By learning how to answer these
questions, you will be able to come up with an effective course of treatment.
Common Symptoms of Back and Neck Pain
To begin a discussion of back and neck pain, it will help to find out more about how the back is constructed in relation to the rest of the body. Like other body systems, the back is divided into different sections for identification purposes as well as locations of internal organs.
The back’s main components are:
This is the neck.
This is the point from the neck to a few vertebrae up from the tailbone.
This is the lower back area.
This is from the bottom of the lower back to the tailbone’s end.
When you know exactly where your pain is, it can further help to diagnose your pain. It seems like common sense that the main symptoms of back and neck pain are soreness or pain in the physical area of your back and neck. But there are different ways to describe your pain that will be helpful to your doctor:
- Activity induced – meaning that it only happens when you move a particular way
If you can narrow down the specific type of pain that you are feeling, you will be able to help your doctor diagnose the pain more effectively.
There are certain symptoms that can also be found with neck and back pain:
- Stiffness in the painful area
- Problems with movement
- Cramping of muscles
- Tender muscle spots and ‘knots’
- Pain in the hip area and legs
You will want to determine how to describe your back and neck pain, preferably when you’ve having a painful spell. If you wait to describe the pain until after the pain has passed, you might not remember all of the qualities of the pain you are suffering from.
There are also some symptoms that you might feel during back or neck pain that should not be ignored:
- Pain continues down the back of one leg or both legs
- You have numbness in your legs with the back pain
- You have tingling in your extremities with the back pain
- When you bend the pain becomes worse
- Pain gets worse when you cough or sneeze
- If the pain gets worse after not moving for a long time
- You have a fever
- You have trouble urinating
- You are woken up by the pain
While not all of these symptoms are signs of a serious problem, they do indicate that you might have something more going on in your body than just a backache, so it’s best to check with your doctor for further advice on what you should do.
You will also want to figure out where the general location of your back pain is:
This will help direct any testing to the proper areas of the body.Try to be as specific as possible, pointing out the exact spot of the back pain, if you can as well as any areas to which the pain my radiate (meaning where the pain might extend from the perceived source).