What Can You Do to Relieve Back Pain?
Regardless if your back pain is acute or severe, we recommend that you see a back pain doctor in San Luis Obispo as soon as possible to get the treatment you need before it gets worse. And while waiting for your appointment, we recommend the following for temporary pain relief:
- Try a low-impact activity (i.e., yoga, stretching or a short walk) to loosen tense muscles.
- Apply an ice pack or a heating pad to your back to reduce inflammation or to loosen stiff muscles.
- Grab an over-the-counter (OTC) pain relief cream.
- Sleep in a comfortable position with extra pillows for additional support.
- Manage or reduce stress through meditation, deep breathing, etc.
- Wear shoes that provide additional support to your feet.
How Do You Know if Your Back Pain Is Serious?
Back pain, although quite common, may be a sign of a more serious condition. If you experience the following symptoms of a more serious case of back pain, please do not delay care. See a back pain doctor in San Luis Obispo as early as possible.
- Back deformity or swelling
- Chest pain
- Loss of bladder or bowel control
- Pain that comes with a throbbing sensation in the stomach
- Pain that gets worse at night
- Pain that gets worse when you sneeze, cough or poop
- Pain that makes it difficult for you to fall or stay asleep
- Tingling or numbness around your buttocks or genitals
- Tingling, numbness or weakness in one or both legs
- Unexplained weight loss
- Pain after a fall or a blow to the back
How Do Back Pain Doctors Diagnose Back Pain?
Our back pain providers in San Luis Obispo conduct a physical exam to diagnose back pain and test the patient’s ability to walk and stand, leg strength, reflexes, spinal range of motion and ability to detect sensation in the legs. For more severe symptoms, the back pain doctor may also request other tests and screenings which may include any of the following:
- Blood tests
- Bone scans
- Computed tomography (CT) scan
- Electromyography (EMG)
- Urine tests
What Are the Nonsurgical Treatment Options for Back Pain?
Some types of back pain get better over time. This is also why back and spine doctors offer nonsurgical options first to patients such as the following:
- Alternative medicine (i.e., massage, cognitive behavioral therapy, acupuncture, relaxation techniques, etc.)
- Back braces
- Ice or heat therapy
- Muscle relaxants
- Prescription medications (i.e., ibuprofen and naproxen)
- Steroid injections
- Topical rubs and ointments
The thought of undergoing surgery can be frightening for some patients. But you can rest assured that our Spine Center providers are experienced in what they do and provide compassionate care that can make you feel comfortable, supported and guided every step of the way.