Back pain is a common complaint for plenty of people, and especially for athletes who use their backs a lot for their sport. The good news is, back pain is treatable — and often, it clears up with just a little TLC.
There are times, though, when medical treatment is necessary for preventing more serious problems. The key to recovery is knowing when it’s time to seek a doctor’s care.
At Orthopaedics of Atlanta and Aesthetic Institute, W. Joseph Absi, MD, offers state-of-the-art treatment for sports-related back pain tailored to each athlete’s unique needs and goals. If you have back pain related to a sports injury, here’s how to tell when it’s time to call the office and schedule an evaluation.
Your pain isn’t going away
Most pain gradually goes away over time — typically a few weeks. If it’s been a few weeks, and you still have pain, it’s time to call the office to make an appointment so you can start to feel better.
You’re pain is intensifying
Mild or minor back pain feels better over time. If your pain is getting worse, then that’s a really good indication that something more serious is at play.
Your symptoms are spreading
If you have back pain that’s spreading into your buttocks or legs, or if you have tingling, numbness, or nerve pain in your legs, you could have a compressed nerve. Scheduling an evaluation is essential for preventing permanent nerve damage.
Your symptoms are affecting your balance or coordination
Some types of back — notably pain in your lower back — can affect the nerves and muscles that control movements, like walking or even standing still. If you find you have difficulties coordinating your walking movements or climbing stairs, or if you notice your balance is “off,” call the office right away to prevent a potentially permanent disability.
You symptoms are interfering with your sleep or daily activities
It’s not uncommon for back pain to interfere with sleep for the first night or two after an injury. But if your symptoms continue to make it hard to get a good night’s sleep, your body won’t be getting the rest it needs to recover fully. Dr. Absi prescribed treatments to relieve pain and help you get the sleep your body needs.
You’re having bladder or bowel incontinence
Some nerves in your blower back control your bowels and bladder. If one of these nerves is compressed or injured, you might have bladder or bowel leakage — a serious sign that you need prompt medical attention.
You have a history of back problems
If you’ve had prior back pain or back injury, you might have an underlying spine issue that needs medical attention. Many athletes with a history of back problems benefit from therapy tailored to their sports to help them improve their spine strength and flexibility.
You want to avoid future back problems
While some back problems are isolated events, other times, painful symptoms indicate a “weakness” in your spine. Delaying treatment means you could be at increased risk of future back problems or other injuries that could affect your athletic performance and your well-being.
Be safe: Have your back pain evaluated
It’s true — some types of back pain will clear up on their own (with a little rest). The problem is, there’s no way to tell on your own if your back pain will go away or if it will become more serious without medical attention.
If you have any type of back pain, it’s always a good idea to call our Atlanta-area office, so our team can help you decide if you need to come in for an evaluation — especially before you return to your sport. To get help for your sports-related back pain, call 404-334-2929 or book an appointment online with Dr. Absi at his Smyrna, Georgia, practice today.