The human spine plays a crucial role in your overall well-being, providing support and mobility for your body. The bones on your spine protect your muscles, nerves, and ligaments, and they all work together to facilitate movement and protect the spinal cord. But over time, factors such as age, injuries, and lifestyle choices can cause spine-related problems. If spinal defects and injuries occur, its symptoms do not only manifest through back pains alone.
Knowing the warning signs that indicate the need to see a spine specialist is essential for early intervention and proper treatment. So, keep reading and learn the common warning signs that suggest you seek the expertise of a spine specialist.
- Persistent Or Worsening Back Pain
The most common symptom indicating that you should see a spine specialist is back pain. Experiencing back pain is normal and common, particularly for people who sit or stand in the wrong posture or have been doing repetitive movements for a long period.
However, if the pain persists for several weeks, it could signify an underlying spine issue. When left untreated, chronic back pains can worsen and radiate down the legs, causing weakness or numbness and eventually limiting the person’s physical movement.
Thus, for chronic back pains, it may be best to see a spine specialist at Spine Center Atlanta or other reputable spinal care centers in your local area. They can conduct a proper diagnosis to determine the cause and prescribe the best medication or treatment to alleviate the pain.
- Neck Pain With Associated Symptoms
Like back pains, neck pain is also a common ailment for people with poor posture or sleeping in an awkward position. Neck pain typically subsides on its own after a few hours or a day. However, if your neck pain has lasted longer than expected and is accompanied by other symptoms like headaches, numbness in the hands or arms, and difficulty gripping objects, it could indicate a cervical spine problem which should be checked by a spine specialist immediately.
Some probable root causes of cervical spine problems are herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or degenerative disc disease. The spine specialist can provide a proper diagnosis and treatment plan based on their findings.
- Limited Range Of Motion
Experiencing a sudden limitation in range of motion in the spine area, accompanied by pain, stiffness, and restricted mobility, can be alarming as it hinders you from doing your daily tasks. Thus, if you encounter these symptoms, consult the spine specialist immediately for a proper diagnosis.
Conditions such as arthritis, spinal deformities, or muscle imbalances can contribute to limited range of motion. Seeking the help of a spine specialist can help determine the cause and develop an appropriate treatment approach.
- Chronic Headaches Or Migraines
Persistent or chronic headaches that do not respond to typical remedies may be related to spine issues. Remember that your cervical spine plays a crucial role in supporting the head and neck, and problems in this area can lead to referred pain in the form of headaches.
A spine specialist can evaluate your condition and may recommend a combination of treatments, like chiropractic care, physical therapy, medications, stress management techniques, relaxation exercises, and lifestyle modifications. In some cases, interventional procedures such as nerve blocks or radiofrequency ablation may be considered.
- Balance And Coordination Problems
Balance and coordination are controlled by the brain and transmitted through the spinal cord. When there’s compression or damage to the spinal cord, it can disrupt the signals and result in balance and coordination problems. People with balance and coordination problems are more at risk of falls, leading to even more serious injuries. Thus, if you notice a sudden onset of balance and coordination issues, it could be a sign of a spinal cord injury or a degenerative condition affecting the spine.
This requires prompt evaluation by a spine specialist to prevent further deterioration and initiate appropriate treatment measures. The evaluation may involve a physical examination, neurological assessment, and imaging tests to assess balance, coordination, and related symptoms.
- Difficulty Walking Or Changes In Bowel Or Bladder Function
Changes in your ability to walk, such as stumbling or a significant decrease in your walking distance, should not be ignored. Similarly, experiencing bowel or bladder control problems may indicate a serious spinal condition. These symptoms require immediate medical attention from a spine specialist to prevent potential long-term damage.
- Trauma Or Injury To The Spine
If you have recently experienced trauma or injury to your spine, such as a fall or car accident, you must seek medical attention even if you don’t immediately experience pain in your spine. Spine injuries can sometimes have delayed symptoms, and early intervention can prevent complications and promote better healing.
Your spine is a vital body component, and any warning signs indicating potential spine problems should not be ignored. Through early diagnosis and proper treatment, you can significantly improve your chances of a successful recovery and help you maintain a healthy spine for years to come.
Author bio: Reginald E. Karst is a full-time and longtime health journalist specializing in public health, global health, and human nutrition. She has helped countless individuals enhance their lifestyle and health, and body awareness through her guest posts, podcasts, and webinars. She spends her free time discovering and hiking new trails with her two dogs.