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The Dangers of Ignoring Your Back Pain

Authored by Dr. Christopher Good, MD, FACS. December 9, 2022

Many Americans are struggling with uncertain times and the increased stress of the world while trying to dodge the major health risks. Prioritizing health concerns while life is moving at such a rapid pace can feel overwhelming but it’s important to advocate for your health and not be complacent and allow other health problems to sneak up including neck or back pain.  

One of the reasons you may find yourself putting your spinal condition on the back burner is because of myths about spinal treatment. But the reality is that those are old-school facts and figures. The field of spinal healthcare has advanced tremendously in the last decade to provide patients with simpler, yet effective treatment for back and neck pain. The past myths about spine care being dangerous and unsuccessful do not apply today, but many people are still more afraid of a diagnosis than the extensive pain they feel every day. We have the technology and doctors to heal and treat your pain, but the longer you wait, the more dangers the pain may impose on your overall health. 

In order to address your back or neck pain in a timely manner, it is also important to understand the dangers of waiting or delaying care.

4 Signs You Should Not Ignore Related to Your Back Pain:

  1. Pain with fever

    If your back pain is not isolated and starts to trigger a fever, call your doctor. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies a fever as a temperature around 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or more. A fever could signal that your body is fighting against harmful infections or more serious complications as a result of your back pain, so seeing your doctor as soon as possible is important. 

  2. Pain with loss of bladder control

    If your back or neck pain is accompanied by loss of bladder control, it’s time to seek the medical advice of a spine specialist. Incontinence can be a sign of more serious conditions, and it’s important to discuss this with your spine surgeon.

  3. Weakness in legs/feet or tingling

    Some of the more common symptoms that accompany back or neck pain are numbness and tingling in the legs or feet. This could signal a pinched nerve or a herniated disc which, if not treated properly, can lead to severe pain and loss of sensation. The good news is that with a proper diagnosis, this pain and numbness can be treated nonoperatively 90% of the time. The key to successful, fast recovery is getting to the root of the pain with your spine specialist as soon as you notice the numbness or tingling.

  4. Pain that lasts longer than 10 days

    Many of us encounter day-to-day, brief back pain and shrug it off as soreness. That may be true for some, but if your pain lasts longer than 10 days, it needs to be taken seriously. Pain that sustains for this amount of time should be evaluated by a spine specialist in order to get to the root issue and the appropriate treatment.

While it may be daunting to seek out a diagnosis from a spine specialist, patients are often relieved to learn the root cause of their pain and can confidently work through treatment. Navigating through this pandemic has not been easy, but we are here for you because your pain matters, and we know that you should not have to live with debilitating pain. Our practice has safely remained open and our team is available to care for patients in pain. 

I’d like to share with you a real story from a patient experience during the height of the pandemic that illustrates the importance of being proactive with your spinal condition. 

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a nurse named Christine came to see me after suffering from debilitating back pain that left her crawling through her house and in tears. But Christine’s situation could not wait. Christine suffered from disc degeneration, a pinched sciatic nerve, and arthritis. She was previously under the care of another physician that did not help her achieve the pain relief she was seeking. Then Christine found Virginia Spine Institute, and we expedited her treatment to prevent her from potential long-term pain and damage that was impacting her quality of life. Read more about her story and how she went from the longest, most painful days to an improved quality of life, even during the pandemic.

Dr. Christopher Good is a double board-certified spine surgeon and the President of Virginia Spine Institute. Established as a world expert in the field, Dr. Good has pioneered the use of robotics, navigation, and augmented reality (AR) in spine surgery. He performed the first two-level disc replacement in Metro DC, Maryland, and Virginia region, and continues to evolve motion-enhancing procedures for patients suffering from neck and back conditions. Dr. Good has been named “Top Doctor” consistently over the past decade.  Learn more about Dr. Christopher Good.

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About The Author

Dr. Christopher Good, MD, FACS

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