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Getting the Facts on Spine Pain

One of the leading reasons to visit an ER in Dallas is back pain. When you’re sidelined with it, life passes you by. Because it’s difficult to accomplish anything – even the smallest chores become giant hurdles. When severe back pain happens, you need help fast.

What will the ER do for my back pain?

When you suffer from severe back pain you need pain relief, but your ER doctor will also perform a careful examination, studying your health history, and possibly run tests on your urine or blood to rule out infection or other serious causes of the pain. Your ER physician will check your heart and blood pressure to make sure your problem isn’t cardiovascular. And of course, the doctor will examine your spine.

“When you come in with severe back pain, you may or may not need imaging tests, depending on your medical history, symptoms, and examination. If imaging tests are needed they may include plain X-rays or CT scan,” said Advance ER physician Dr. Ron Bryce. “Once the tests have been run and the rapid results come in, we can move forward with a treatment plan that’s right for you.”

What are the causes of back pain?

Back pain can be a secondary symptom of an underlying problem, such as infection. It can also be a mechanical problem, such as a “slipped disk”. Fractures, such as vertebral body compression fractures, can be caused by a fall. Incorrect posture, exercise or heavy lifting can be related to the back pain. Arthritis of the spine can also be the culprit. Osteoporosis – or “thinning out” of the bone – and scoliosis – or curvature of the spine – might also be a cause for back pain.

What symptoms are dangerous when accompanied by back pain?

If you are experiencing an unusual or new onset of back pain, especially if it is accompanied by incontinence or loss of bowel control or fever, you should seek emergency medical treatment immediately. If you have suffered an injury from an accident, you should go to the ER for evaluation.

Other things to that need attention right away are pain that spreads down a leg, numbness or weakness in a leg, and unexplained weight loss. “Also, if you’ve had back pain that doesn’t improve over time, you should come in for evaluation,” said Dr. Bryce.

What treatments are available for spine pain?

Depending on the cause of your spine pain, your physician may prescribe:

  • Over-the-counter drugs such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen, Motrin or Advil. A compound such as Aleve may also be helpful in relieving your pain.
  • Topical pain relievers, such as creams, that block pain signals.
  • Medications such as narcotics, muscle relaxants, and injections may be needed in severe cases.
  • Corrective surgery may be discussed for conditions that require surgical intervention.

“In addition to medications, it’s important to resume normal daily activities as soon as possible. In the past, most doctors recommended an extended period of bedrest, but this has been found in some cases to do more harm than good,” said Dr. Bryce. “But all things should be done in moderation. A good rule of thumb is: if it hurts, don’t do it.”

Where can I get fast help with no waiting?

Advance ER has pioneered No Wait service where you come in and are shown to a private room with virtually no wait. A board-certified physician will be there shortly to get started on your diagnosis and treatment plan.

Advance ER: the right care in the right place at the right time.

Meet Dr. Ron Bryce:

Ron Bryce, M.D., is board-certified in family practice. Dr. Bryce received his medical degree from Oral Roberts University School of Medicine, Tulsa, OK. He completed his residency at John P. Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, TX.

Experienced with providing both emergency and routine care for patients of all ages, Dr. Bryce believes in keeping the lines of communication open with his patients and in treating them like family.