When Not to Go to the ER

When you have back pain, it could be related one or more of many possible causes. One of the primary keys to overcoming back pain is knowing when you really need to seek out medical treatment or a back pain specialist.

Although the list below is not all inclusive, it can give you an idea of when you don’t necessarily need to see a back pain specialist. But there is a warning here.

If you don’t seek medical treatment or any other treatment for back pain today, you must re-evaluate your symptoms tomorrow. Back pain symptoms Link to Symptoms page can change overnight or even in a matter of hours.

Who To Go To First Will Let You Know If They Can Help

If your back pain symptoms have progressed, then a doctor’s evaluation is in order. When you go to a medical doctor for evaluation, he may refer you to an orthopedic specialist. Similarly, if you are evaluated by a chiropractor for your back pain, he may refer you to a neurologist or a medical doctor or even the Emergency Room (ER).

All health practitioners have been taught to refer patients that they cannot help in the present moment. No health practitioner will keep you as a patient if your condition will clearly degenerate in time. He will not want the liability for not referring you.

The differences between the two primary back pain specialists are listed below.

Medical Doctor Vs. Chiropractor

Medical Student / Doctor                                  

Trained in anatomy and physiology of the back and spine

Takes no extra coursework in the diagnosis of the back and spine

Learns how to read x-rays, MRIs and CAT scans

Learns all the basic sciences including neurology, neuroanatomy, kinesiology

Takes no extra coursework in muscle, bone & nervous system

Focuses on drugs to heal the body

Understands basic physical therapy

Knows how to perform orthopedic tests

Can diagnose as a physician

Uses prescription medication and invasive technologies (shots, injections, etc.)

 

Chiropractic Student / Doctor

Trained in anatomy and physiology of the back and spine

Takes years of extra coursework in the diagnosis of the back and spine

Learns how to read x-rays, MRIs and CAT scans

Learns all the basic sciences including neurology, neuroanatomy, kinesiology

Takes extra coursework in muscle, bone & nervous system

Focuses on natural supplements

Uses physical therapy in practice

Knows how to perform orthopedic tests

Uses natural, non-invasive technologies without side effects

 

You always have your choice of what back pain specialist or specialists you can incorporate in your team of health practitioners for healing your back pain. Many people believe that having both types of health practitioners on one’s medical team is the very best option.

Remember, who you choose in the beginning can change along the way. When one back pain specialist runs out of ideas, go to another. Don’t settle for back pain the rest of your life!

When Not to Go to the ER With Back Pain

  1. When you feel little twinges of pain occasionally
  2. When you feel a little strained after working out your lower back at the gym.
  3. When your back pain only rates less than a level of 4 on a pain scale of 0 to 10 where 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst pain possible
  4. After you change your office chair, computer position or body positioning at work and you notice that your pain level drops.
  5. If your back pain is progressively improving every day
  6. If your pain improves after muscle massage, especially trigger point release work.
  7. If your pain improved after physical therapy and has been continually improving.

Again, make sure that you re-evaluate your condition on a daily basis on whether or not to visit the doctor or the emergency room. Remember also that if you choose the ER, will you be able to sit in the uncomfortable chairs for hours waiting to be seen by a doctor? Emergency rooms are known for their long wait times to be seen by a health practitioner other than the intake nurse.

What Will Happen in the ER When You Have Back Pain

When you first enter the ER, an intake nurse will ask you what type of back pain symptoms Link to Back Pain Symptoms page you are having. It’s best to be very specific when answering. For example, don’t just say, “Back pain”. Instead, say, “Back pain that is right here”, – and point to the location. The nurse will continue asking questions such as:

• How long have you had the pain?

• When did it start? Did you do something differently before the pain started?

• Has the pain stayed the same, gotten worse or improved?

• How would you describe the pain?

What happens to you next is dependent on the answers to these questions.