Chronic back and leg pain is the type of pain that has persisted for half a year or longer. Pain is often felt in the lower back, but sometimes it affects legs. Generally, constant back and leg pain is triggered by certain spinal conditions. Some of these are: degenerative disc disease, arachnoiditis, epidural fibrosis and lumbar disc herniation and so on. It is important to visit the best back and pain clinic in NYC if you have pain in your back and/or legs that won’t go away. Soreness can get so serious that the victim cannot move. Other times the pain can be sharp, stabbing, burning or dull. The painful areas can hurt when touched, and may not improve even when you take a rest. If this describes you, see your back spine doctor as soon as possible. To help you understand back pain and leg pain separately, we will describe each in depth.
- Chronic Back Pain
There are various types of back pain. Understanding each one is vital, if you are considering different treatment options. According to the medical community, back pain can be in any of the following categories.
- Nociceptive pain – This is when pain is specific
Nociceptors are body’s own sensors that identity destructive stimuli. When there is an injury to our tendons, ligaments, bones, muscles, joints or skin, nociceptors sends us an alert. These pain signals are delivered to the brain and CNS (Central Nervous System) and the result is pain. Nociceptive pain, also somatic pain, is a deep, throbbing ache. This is the sort of pain felt in the back after a serious car accident or a fall from a height. Also described as gnawing ache, nociceptive pain can happen due to arthritis of the back, back surgery or trauma. It tends to reduce when the root cause is addressed and healing is gradually attained. The back doctor can offer a more detailed explanation.
- Neuropathy – Pain felt when our nerves fail to function properly
Also called neuropathic pain, neuropathy is the kind of pain that results from nerve damage. Nerves can be damaged by an injury or an infection that has affected another part of our bodies. While doctors don’t know why some traumas lead to neuropathic pain and others don’t, once an injury happens, nerves will constantly send pain signals to the brain. This is the case even when the injury has healed completely. A good example of neuropathy pain that affects our backs is Sciatica. When the lower back’s nerve root is pushed against, pain and numbness down the long sciatic nerve can be felt. Sciatic nerve starts from either buttock up to the feet. Another example is the pain that constantly attacks after one has had back surgery.
Nociceptive pain and neuropathy is often broken down into acute and chronic pain. The two are not the same and here is why:
- Acute pain is felt for as long as the underlying cause remains untreated. Once the cause is eliminated and the cure provided, acute pain arising from a sick or injured tissue goes away. Acute pain is therefore a nociceptive pain.
- Chronic pain is felt even after the underlying, root cause is removed. That’s because the nerves continue to relay messages about pain; so, chronic pain is a neuropathic pain.
When to see a back injury doctor – Lower back pain
If you notice that your lower back pain is consistent and doesn’t improve no matter what you do, go see a specialist. Most people suffer from lower back pain than upper back pain. As a matter of fact, around eighty percent of adults feel lower back pain at a given moment in their lives. Lower back pain is the reason why most people have a job-related disability. This problem affects men and women in equal measure, and it can vary in intensity.
It can range from a dull ache to a continuous pain, to an abrupt, sharp feeling that causes incapacitation. Sharp lower back pain can result after you wrongly lift a heavy item or it can slowly develop due to aging or spinal column issues. While low back pain is acute and short term, it can last a few days or weeks. It disappears on its own as it mostly occurs when the parts of the back- spine, intervertebral discs, nerves and muscle, are disrupted. If you have chronic pain that has lasted for more than three months, even after your injury is healed, it is the right time to see your back pain doctor NYC area.
Causes of lower back pain
This type of pain is mechanical and it is often linked with the general deterioration of the spine health (spondylosis). This loss of health can be caused by:
- Sprains and strains that cause acute back pain. Sprains happen due to tearing of ligaments while strains result from rips in the muscle or tendon. If you have a habit of twisting wrongly or lifting heavy things unsafely, sprains or strains can cause your lower back pain.
- Herniated discs – Herniation occurs when your intervertebral discs are pressed until they bulge outwards. Sometimes they rupture, result to excruciating pain.
- Degeneration of intervertebral discs – This is so prevalent and it occurs when discs deteriorate so much that they lose their cushioning ability.
- Sciatica – Pain from a pinched or compressed sciatic nerve has a burning sensation and it is felt in the buttocks and down the back of any leg. If the nerve is stuck between the disc and an adjacent bone, numbness and muscle weakness can accompany the pain.
- Radiculopathy – When a spinal nerve root is inflamed or injured, radiculopathy pain occurs. It has a tingling, numb or painful feeling. It occurs when a ruptured disc, herniated disc or stenosis presses your nerve root.
- Skeletal irregularities such as a curvature of your spine that starts to hurt at middle age. This can also happen due to lordosis and other congenital abnormalities affecting your spine.
- Trauma or injury – This can result from a bad accident or a fall that leads to ripped muscles, ligaments and/or tendons. This can trigger intervertebral disc issues that cause herniation or disc rupture.
There are other causes of lower back pain, including spinal stenosis, yet the right thing is to seek assistance at the chronic pain treatment centre. It is possible that you have a disease that is affecting your lower back, including tumors, abdominal aortic aneurysms, kidney stones, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, endometriosis and cauda equine syndrome.
While your spinal specialist will want to know about your medical history, they will mostly use X-ray to search for broken bones or injured vertebras. Additionally, they might use a CT (Computerized Tomography) scan to see spinal components that the traditional X-ray cannot show. Myelograms are other means of diagnosing back pain and it entails a type of dye that is administered into the spinal canal. It enables the CT or X-ray to find injuries in your spinal cord. Other methods used include MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), discography, bone scans, blood tests, ultrasound imaging, and electrodiagnostics.
There are different treatment methods for acute and chronic back pain. The last resort is seeking spine surgery NYC specialists. Surgery is picked if other traditional tricks don’t heal your pain. These include:
- Hot or cold compressions or packs. These can only ease your back pain.
- Limited bed rest and stretching activities
- Strengthening workouts should be used to decrease recovery period from chronic or subacute low back pain.
- Physical therapy programs
- Medications from the local pharmacist or your doctor’s office. These may include NSAIDS (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for pain and inflammation and analgesic medications for pain relieve. Others include anti-depressants, anticonvulsants and counter-irritants (topical creams and sprays).
Note: See the best doctor for lower back pain nyc, if you have chronic or acute pain that is immobilizing you. They might use medications, surgery or spinal manipulation and mobilization techniques like massage to end your discomfort.
Leg pain is mainly caused by trauma. As expected, trauma results from falls, twisting injuries and near falls. The three can damage your muscles, joints, and bones. Sciatic pain affects not just your back and buttocks. It also moves to the back of your thighs and might reach your feet. Pain in legs can also happen due to overuse injuries that gradually happen due some tiny traumatic injuries that affect your joints, tendons and muscles.
Leg pain should be inspected just in case you have a fractured or cracked bone. Pain after a bone breaks is triggered by the nerve endings found in your fibrous tissue that lines your bone (periosteum). Another thing that can provoke leg pain is repetitive tiny fractures or injuries to a given part of your leg.
A good example is when your metatarsal bones of your foot breaks due to overuse that tires your bone. Sprains and strains can cause a ligament injury while shin splints happen when your tibia (shinbone) is overused to an extent of feeling pain. Bursitis that affects your leg’s trochanteric bursa or ischial bursa can result in bad leg pain. Some people develop the Compartment syndrome, which is a medical emergency. It involves extreme swelling in the compartments of the leg that has muscles.
As with back pain, doctors use blood tests and X-rays to determine the cause of leg pain. If these are not effective, other methods are available: Ultrasound, ABI(Ankle-brachial index), CT scan, arteriogram, MRI, joint aspiration, nerve conduction studies and compartment pressures to diagnose compartment syndrome.
The diagnosis guides the doctor on what to do next. As soon as they establish the reasons why you feel pain, treatment methods will be picked with ease. Since pain that is felt in the legs commonly begins in the lower back, some of the methods used to treat this pain might be applicable when getting rid of leg pain. However, if you have developed pain due to a sprain or strain, the solution is often rest, ice, compression and elevation of your leg.
If teamed up with NSAIDs or analgesics, this method can be helpful. In case your pain is due to an injury affecting your hamstring and calf, rest, ice, compression and elevation can work. This is, mainly, if this is mixed with stretching exercises and massage. So, in addition to finding a back injury doctor, you do require a physical therapist and a chiropractor. . In case of a leg fracture, crutches are the obvious mobility tools that can be used after your leg is wrapped with elastic bandages to offer proper compression.
Bed rest may work for those with sciatic leg pain plus hot and cold compresses to ease pain. Excessive swelling and loss of feeling should be considered an emergency, as well as change in bowel or bladder function due to pain.
Chronic back and leg pain prevention
If you have not developed back and leg pain, you should prevent it. The same case applies to someone who had this type of pain before and then they recovered from it. To make sure your back, particularly, is safe, avoid activities that strain or hurt your back. For instance, make sure you correct your posture, and lift heavy loads safely.
When sitting support your lumbar area as well as use ergonomic chair and desk to improve your posture. Don’t sit for too long to avoid sciatic nerve pain that affects your back and legs. Move around often, and you can also work when standing to avoid sitting for hours. Above all, maintain a balanced diet and an exercise routine to avoid gaining excessive weight that might exert pressure on your legs’ components.
If you have no idea where you can seek medical help, get in touch with back pain doctors called Dr. Michael Nguyen, Dr. Namrata Khimani today. They are well-educated, well-versed with spinal diseases and conditions and passionate about their work. If you need a neck and shoulder pain doctor, these two doctors are also capable of diagnosing and treating you.