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What does low back pain really mean for me?

When a person develops a health issue that becomes large enough to motivate that person seek out a doctor, there are lots of questions on that person’s mind. I have had a couple of occasions to go to the hospital over the past five years, so I understand these questions from a personal experience level. My questions were was I was at the right doctor to fix my problem and how fast could he get me better? I had other questions as well, but those were tops on my list.

There are other questions that likely pop up for you when you see a doctor for low back pain. Today, I want to look at five common questions that I have had patients ask me over the past 40 years.

The five common questions on a low back pain patient's mind

1.) What are the complications that can occur with my low back issue?

2.) When should I be concerned that these complications might manifest?

3.) Can you help me?

4.) How soon can I get back to the activities that I need (or want) to do?

5.) How long and complicated will my recovery process be?

These are all great questions, although they are not all always asked by each patient. It is always a bit unsettling as we look to someone else to handle a problem that we are not able to take care of for ourselves. We often ask these same manner of questions as we take our car to the mechanic or hire that plumber.

I like to try to address these questions with each patient as they present to my office and many times, I can answer them before the patient even brings them up for discussion. Let’s take a deeper look at each question individually.

What complications can occur? Low back issues are the most common reason for patients to present to a chiropractor. Most of these cases are simple overuse issues that cause muscular pain. The specific cause of the onset of that pain tells a good deal of the potential complications that can arise. Most often the patients are concerned that they might end up paralyzed or in a wheelchair due to their problem not being able to be resolved. I assure them that there are many different issues that can arise out of low back injuries, but our treatment is designed to obtain specific results in a short time frame and if this does not occur, we make sure that they see a specialist for their problem.

When should my low back pain become a major concern? If your case does not reach a 50% improvement of symptoms that you are experiencing and 50% improvement in my testing in three weeks, we sit down and discuss with you the next available options. These could be continued treatment or cold be a referral to a specialist.

Can you help me? This is usually a big question, but rarely ever gets asked out loud. By the time the patient is in my office, they have already decided that I am the person they trust. I do try to let people know when they present to my office that our initial phase of care has a limited amount of treatment time. I am expecting specific results in that time and if I do not see those results, I usually would suggest a referral of the patient to a specialist for a deeper diagnostic work up.

How soon will I be able to do what I want (or need) to do? This is dependent on the activities that the patient is involved with. It stands to reason that it will take longer to return a person to heavy labor activities. It also depends on the age and physical condition of the patient. A twenty-year-old athlete will recover faster than a fifty-year-old overweight sedentary man. Most low back conditions will resolve on their own with no treatment at all in about 6 to 8 weeks.

How long will my recovery last? This question is almost like the previous question in what the answer will be. The important thing here is to remember that as a patient you have a responsibility to do your part of the recovery process as well. Remember, health care is to be done with you and not for you!

I hope this has answered some of your questions regarding low back pain. Please be sure to direct your family member or loved one that suffers with low back pain to our website to see these blogs or to our Face Book page to see our videos in April to see our videos on this topic. Be sure and look in next week as we delve into some specific chiropractic solutions for low back pain.

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