Four Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Your Back Pain
Having back pain, whatever the cause and type of pain, can be very painful and upsetting. This article explains four questions you should ask your GP when speaking to them about back pain.
What Is Causing Your Back Pain?
The first thing you should ask about is the cause of your back pain. It's always helpful to know what's causing your pain, whether it's a pulled muscle or a slipped disc. This will reassure you that your back pain is not dangerous, and allow you to find ways to manage your specific condition. It will also give you an idea of how your pain was caused (for example, heavy lifting, inactivity, or over-exercising), which will help you avoid similar injuries in the future.
How Will Your Back Pain Change over Time?
You might also want to know how and if your back pain will change over time. Some conditions heal themselves, while others may be lifelong but can vary in severity. Finding out how your condition will develop will be helpful in planning. For example, if your doctor says your pulled muscle will be healed in six weeks, you can plan a careful return to the gym or lift at work around that time. However, if you know that your back pain will probably get gradually worse, you may be able to speak to your employer about taking on tasks that don't involve lifting.
How Can You Ease Your Back Pain?
Another important question involves pain relief. You should find out what you can do at home to relieve your back pain. For example, can your doctor prescribe pain relief or muscle relaxants, or should you just take over-the-counter painkillers? Is it okay to be on these medications for a period of weeks, or should you find other options? Your doctor may also be able to recommend certain stretches or exercises to do, or suggest other pain relief methods like ice packs or a hot bath.
Are There Any Long-term Treatment Options?
Back pain can be really difficult, so it's natural to think about long-term solutions if your pain isn't going to heal naturally within a few weeks. Ask your doctor about things you can do in the long term, such as massage or physiotherapy. They may also be able to recommend surgery for certain conditions. For example, the NHS explains that a slipped disc that has not healed on its own can generally be treated surgically. Ask your doctor about all the options so you can make an informed choice.
By finding out the cause of your back pain, how it will progress, and what you can do about it, you can feel empowered and informed to make decisions about how to manage your pain.
For more info about back pain, contact a local doctor.