When Sports-Related Back Pain Requires Medical Intervention

When Sports-Related Back Pain Requires Medical Intervention

Keeping active with sports and activities involving movement doesn’t just benefit you by helping you manage your weight or build muscle. Making sure you move your body regularly keeps your cardiovascular health intact and your muscles functional.

However, those very same sports and activities can contribute to injuries and pain throughout your body. Many athletes, even those with lots of experience, develop back pain from fractures, strains, and other common sports injuries. 

Orthopedic specialist Anthony J. Berni, MD, encourages you to see him for sports-related back pain under certain circumstances. Here at our office in O’Fallon, Missouri, Dr. Berni performs the latest treatments when your back pain requires professional medical intervention.

Consider these warning signs that your sports-related back pain needs more than just rest and home care.

The pain gets worse

The majority of back pain related to playing sports improves with time as your body naturally heals the underlying injury. Worsening back pain could indicate that the injury isn’t healing itself on its own. 

If you have back pain from a sports injury that starts out mild and gets progressively worse over time despite all of your efforts at controlling it, you should see a specialist. Dr. Berni can find out just how extensive your injury is and use professional treatments to advance healing.  

You get referred pain elsewhere

Back injuries are particularly likely to cause referred pain, which is pain in areas other than the source of the injury. This is because of the proximity of your vertebrae to nerve roots exiting the spine. Each of these nerves travels to another area of your body, such as your limbs. 

If you experience radiating pain or weakness in your legs or arms following a sports-related back injury, that injury is likely responsible for both your back pain and the pain you feel in your limbs. For example, a herniated disc or fractured vertebra can place pressure on a nerve root travelling to those areas. 

You can’t find relief after six weeks or longer

Around 90% of back pain cases get better around six weeks after the pain starts. If you haven’t experienced any relief in two months or longer, even if the pain hasn’t gotten worse, you should schedule a visit. Dr. Berni can perform a physical examination with imaging tests to pinpoint the underlying cause and then recommend treatment. 

Bladder or bowel changes come with your back pain

Any changes in your typical bathroom habits that come with sports-related back pain are signs of a serious complication. Cauda equina syndrome happens when a back injury results in pressure on certain nerve roots in the lowest part of your back. While this syndrome is exceedingly rare, you should never ignore the symptoms if they develop alongside back pain. 

Get relief for your lingering back pain

In most cases, sports-related back pain is temporary and manageable. If you can’t seem to find relief, or if you notice other concerning symptoms, schedule your appointment with Anthony J. Berni, MD, over the phone or online today. 

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