Although there are all kinds of injuries and illnesses you may cause you to seek treatment at a walk in clinic or physician’s office, back pain tends to be one of the most worrying. According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is the leading cause of disability, as well as the number one cause of missed work days. What’s more, experts estimate that 80% of Americans will experience back pain in their lives — so even if you don’t have a history of chronic back pain or a condition requiring injury care, it’s highly likely that you might have to consider going to urgent care for back pain at some point.
But what exactly causes back pain in the first place? While there are many possible contributing factors, there are some common ones that tend to lead to problems for many patients. Although it takes a professional to assess the condition that’s likely affecting you, understanding the possible root cause of your pain could inform your decision to seek the treatment for back pain urgent care centers can provide or whether you need to head to an emergency room or see a specialist.
Common Causes of Back Pain Include…
- Muscle Strain: Strains and sprains can frequently lead to back pain, particularly in the lower region. If you tear a muscle, tendon, or ligament due to overuse or excessive lifting, for example, this can lead to inflammation, restricted motion, and pain.
- Sciatica: This condition involves the pinching or compression of the sciatic nerve, which can result from a number of issues (like bone spurs, herniated discs, diabetes, sedentary lifestyles, or injuries to the pelvis or buttocks). With this type of back condition, you might also experience pain in the buttocks, legs, and feet, as well as cramping, tingling, burning, or numbing sensations.
- Osteoarthritis: With osteoarthritis of the spine, the vertebrae or facet joints are often affected. Spine osteoarthritis may frequently occur due to normal wear and tear of the spinal joint cartilage; this usually causes an aching sensation or throbbing pain in the back region, as well as stiffness, limited range of motion, and a popping sensation as the condition progresses. Although this condition can occur through the normal aging process, obesity can increase your risk of developing it.
- Disc Issues: If a disc in the back becomes ruptured or starts to bulge, this can cause pain — as well as more serious issues, if it’s not treated. Spinal discs can deteriorate due to age, injury, weight gain, repeated stress, and even smoking, which makes them more vulnerable to tearing. When this happens, patients may experience pain in the buttocks, groin, leg, and arm, as well as numbness, weakness, or tingling.
- Spinal Stenosis: When the spinal canal starts to narrow and constrict, spinal stenosis may develop when the nerve roots there become compressed. Spinal stenosis can occur as a result of old age, arthritis, scoliosis, Paget’s disease, or traumatic injuries (like those that develop as a result of a car accident). In addition to back pain, numbness in the legs and shoulders may occur.
Should You Be Going to Urgent Care for Back Pain?
According to a recent survey, approximately 89% percent of urgent care centers saw an increase in patient visits in 2014. In 2019, urgent care centers have become more popular than ever, often serving as a substitute to regular physician care. Going to urgent care for back pain is a personal decision, but it can be an excellent first step if you aren’t sure what’s causing your discomfort and have no prior history of injuries. It can also be a welcome alternative to spending unnecessary time and money in the emergency room, particularly if you know that your back condition is not life-threatening. In most cases, going to urgent care for back pain can allow you to obtain new information about your condition and learn about the next steps necessary for recovery. At the very least, an urgent care facility can likely ease your discomfort in the short term and can provide you with valuable peace of mind during this time.
For more information on how we can help with back pain or any number of other health conditions, please contact us today.