Back pain - we've all had it! I deal with it, just being a Mother and the million things we do daily and my husband has it as he works hard to provide for his family. Back pain is a common ailment, affecting eight of 10 people worldwide and four out of five Americans. But how can a person know when to treat it at home and when to see a specialist? Dr. Douglas Won, founder and director of Minimally Invasive SpineCARE, takes the guesswork out of the equation.
"If your back pain hasn't improved within 72 hours, or if it was the result of an injury, see a specialist as soon as possible to rule out serious conditions. This also goes for anyone experiencing 'warning sign' symptoms, such as fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach aches, sweating or a feeling of weakness," says Dr. Douglas Won, founder and director of Minimally Invasive SpineCARE(R).
Additional "warning signs" that people should look for include:
- Chronic back pain that just won't go away
- Pain so intense that it prohibits movement
- Shooting pain that goes down the leg, below the knee or out to the extremities
- Numbness in the legs, feet, groin or backside
- Loss of bowel or bladder control
To help in the selection process, Dr. Won recommends asking these three questions:
Is the doctor a specialist or generalist?
"Search for fellowship-trained specialists because they have received more hands-on education and experience in spine care," states Dr. Won.
What kinds of treatment options are available?
"Surgery should be a last resort. The best clinics will have a variety of non-surgical options available. When surgery is necessary, ask about minimally invasive options and the equipment the doctor will use. Some equipment expands once it's inserted into the spine. This can cause as much muscle tearing and pain as traditional open back surgery," explains Dr. Won.
How does the doctor determine where the pain is?
"Isolating the root of the pain is crucial to proper treatment. Often MRIs or CT scans are not adequate enough," notes Dr. Won. "Clinics that use cutting-edge technology are better equipped to find the true pain source."
Minimally Invasive SpineCARE is a nationally acclaimed, fully comprehensive spine center for surgical and nonsurgical treatments. Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Minimally Invasive SpineCARE has 12 clinics in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Services include pain mapping and other diagnostic services, adult stem cell therapy, surgical procedures, non-surgical treatments, and chiropractic and physical therapy. For more information, visit www.SpineCareDFW.com or call 1-888-600-6474. Connect with Minimally Invasive SpineCARE on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SpineCareDFW), Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/spinecaredfw) or YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/spinecaredfw).
*Statistics from the US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health and the North American Spine Society.