Your spine is more complex than you may realize, and there are many structures and sensitive nerves that play a role in how back pain is felt. With some instances of spine-related discomfort, it’s fairly obvious what the source is—like what happens if you overdo it at the gym and feel temporary soreness in your lower back because you overstressed spine-supporting muscles. However, there are times when symptoms suggest one problem that ends up being something else entirely. Here’s how you can avoid getting tricked by your back pain.
Pay Attention to Where the Pain Is Coming From
The spine houses many important nerves. What’s more, the main nerves coming from the backbone connect to other nerves that deliver pain signals to areas that may not be so close to the spine. Tingling sensations in your leg or shooting pain felt in your wrist could actually be related to a nerve originating in your spine that’s compressed by a herniated disc, a bone spur, or even a vertebra that has slipped out of place. Because relief of back pain symptoms (especially those that are chronic or severe) may require specialized medical procedures such as back fusion alternatives, Los Angeles residents shouldn’t wait to seek advice from a spine specialist.
While it’s certainly possible for pain to be related to something going on where you’re feeling it, don’t rule out spine-related problems as a possible source. Radiating nerve pain (radiculopathy) can produce “tricky” symptoms that include:
- Numbness and tingling sensations in legs, thighs, shoulders, or arms
- Shooting pain felt elsewhere when making certain movements that compress an affected spinal nerve
- General muscle weakness that extends beyond the back or neck area
Watch Out for Overlapping Symptoms
Back pain can also trick you by presenting symptoms that could be associated with multiple conditions. For example, you might assume lower back pain extending to your buttocks, thighs, and legs is sciatica. However, these same symptoms can also be caused by irritation of the nearby piriformis muscle.
Don’t Rely Solely on Google
On a related note, simply Googling your symptoms in an attempt to self-diagnose could present additional problems. For example, you might look up “lower back pain” and find references to everything from herniated discs to spinal tumors. The best thing to do if you have symptoms associated with different sources of back pain is to see your physician or a Los Angeles spine surgeon.
Get an Accurate Diagnosis
When you have back pain, you’ll probably get lots of advice from well-meaning family members and friends, which may lead you to try various remedies in an attempt to ease your symptoms. However, symptoms are often only temporarily masked. Plus, the sooner you get an accurate diagnosis, the more likely it is you’ll receive treatment suggestions that could provide long-term relief.
A good place to start when looking to avoid issues with tricky back pain symptoms is with a visit to your regular doctor. Even if the doctor makes an initial diagnosis, you may still be referred to a spine specialist so more involved tests can be done to accurately pinpoint the true source of the problem or confirm what’s suspected.
Most of all, don’t let your back pain trick you into thinking there’s no way to find relief. If you’re experiencing severe or prolonged back pain, call on the spinal health pioneers at The Spine Institute. Our experienced physicians lead the industry in using the most innovative methods to diagnose and treat back pain so patients can get back to enjoying life to the fullest. To schedule a consultation, give us a call today at 310-828-7757.