Injuring one’s back through the most minute activities is not uncommon at a certain age. Afterall, a tiny strain, a little cramp during your morning stretch, doesn’t mean you should run to a medical professional.

Or should you?

Not all back injuries are benign, i.e., free from any side effects which will torment you later. In fact, there are certain back injuries that might have caused a pull, leading to swelling. Some could cause ligament straining. In a more serious case, there are types of back injury that could lead to bulging, displacement of the joint disc, and even a hairline fracture.

This is why you shouldn’t take your back injuries any less seriously, as you wouldn’t in case of an injury to your head. Your locomotive functions heavily depending on your hip joints, and your spinal cords consist of 32 nerve endings. Damage that could cause partial permanent fractures.

Coming straight from every expert’s advisory books, in this excerpt below, you will find symptoms of a serious back injury you shouldn’t miss out on and what you should do after that.

What Is A Back Injury

How do you know that you have injured your back?

Have you recently fallen on your back, which has caused a certain discomfort?

Any painful tug or pull you have faced while working?

Has the pain lingered for more than a week already?

When you injure your back, here are the common areas that will suffer essentially where the pain and discomfort will originate.

– Backbone.

– Joints.

– Muscle.

– Nerves.

– Connective tissues.

How To Know Whether It Is A Muscle Pull & Herniated Disk Replacement?

Before we get into the differences between the two, here is the difference between the two.

Muscle Pain: Muscle pain is caused by muscle pull after an extraneous activity. The cause could be excessive laborious work. Or, you have been working out on your core strength and lifting those excess weights, which you shouldn’t.

Herniated Disc Replacement: A disc replacement on the other end is much more serious than a muscle pull. Disc replacement is often caused due to a long-term tear or wear of the disc. Now, your joint disc starts to degenerate with age, and this begins with women. Therefore, excess friction in the disc for a long time could also cause disc replacement. A sudden injury can also conspire.

You should never be hesitant about visiting a doctor after a sudden back injury. However, this is how you can differentiate between the two.

A tiny muscle pull will also create a certain discomfort and pain. However, the pain will subside for a few days and remain intact around the area of injury. If it is a cramp or pull, some simple exercises can help manage the pain.

However, if it is a disc replacement, then the matter would be different. First, the pain will be more tormenting than a simple pull. It will continue for more than one week (although you should seek professional help beforehand). Plus, the more you wait for treatment, the pain will start spreading to other regions of the body as well.

It can cause numbness around the muscle, make it weak, and not fit for further strain. Plus, it can even cause loss of bladder and bowel. This is when immediate doctor’s attention is crucial.

Signs You Should Seek Medical Help

Now, back injuries are quite common for people who are approaching old age, especially if they are not careful with their movements. However, even as youngsters, you shouldn’t think that a back injury won’t affect you long-term without the proper treatment.

Here are some of the tell-tale signs that your back injury won’t heal itself on its own, and you might need to take the next doctor’s appointment.

1. Breathing Problem

If you do not have chronic breathing issues like asthma, then you shouldn’t overlook your frequent breathing problem. You are catching this issue right after a back injury, or a muscle pull is far from a coincidence.

When we say breathing problem, it is not always shortness of breath. Afterall, you do not have any medical condition surrounding your lungs or nasal cavity.

Your breathing issues will be a sharp shooting pain in your back when you are trying to breathe normally. Or unable to breathe regularly when you are lying on your back due to the discomfort or pinching ache in your lower or middle back.

This means that the injury is far from healed, and you should immediately seek medical help.

2. Trouble Relieving Pain Through DIY Methods

When we say DIY, we generally mean the suggestions often used to relieve any kind of muscle pain. Spraying a pain reliever, or having an Advil, or warm presses around the injured region. However, even after doing all this, if the pain still subsides, then it is not healing on its own. Neither are all these DIY medicines helping. In some cases, these can even worsen the pain when you begin your own treatment at home.

If the pain persists, and most importantly, the discomfort reaches the urinary rack making you suspect a UTI, the pain is bacterial. If you find these symptoms causing difficulty in your daily running of things, then the injury could be invasive.

Check for cuts and bruises which could have attracted the bacteria. Especially if you just had back surgery and noticed these signs afterward.

3. Noticeable Bulge

If you have had a back injury in recent days, try checking the spot of injury right now, especially if the pain continues or has resumed after a few hours. Sometimes when we injure ourselves, the shock and sudden adrenaline rush, we do not feel the actual pain caused by the surgery.

If the discomfort is resuming after a few hours, always check for bulging or swelling around the area of injury. There is a possibility that you have injured a nerve, and that is causing the swelling. If not treated with care, this can cause tremendous pain as the days go by.

No matter the age, if back pain caused by an injury is making you hunch (because you cannot straighten your backbone due to the pain), you shouldn’t wait for any other sign to go to a doctor.

4. Difficulty Walking

Forget about any other strenuous activities; if you are having trouble with something as simple as walking due to your injury, then it is a serious case.

This difficulty should also accompany a pinching pain in your back and a possibly red swollen band in the injured area.

This not only means that you have a swollen muscle/nerve but a possibility of infection, which requires treatment. Infectious causing bacterias generally attack a body part that is in a vulnerable state. For you, it is the injured back.

Make an appointment with a spine doctor first to rule out any nerve or vertebrae damage.

Find The Best Doctor

Every point given above is a symptom or sign which speculates a back injury. However, one shouldn’t take these as the bible. It is always advised to look for a good back or spine doctor for clarification and confirmation.

Here is how you can find the best spine doctor:

  • Researching reputable medical institutions and spine specialist clinics in your area.
  • Look for doctors with board certifications, specialized training in spine care, and positive patient reviews.
  • Consult your primary care physician for referrals.
  • Utilize online medical directories and review platforms to gather information about potential doctors’ qualifications and patient experiences.
  • Contact the clinics to inquire about the doctor’s expertise, availability, and accepted insurance. Arrange consultations with a few top candidates to discuss your condition, and treatment options, and ask questions.

Ultimately, choose a spine doctor who demonstrates expertise, empathy, and a track record of successful spine-related treatments.