When your back hurts, you want relief from pain as soon as you can get it. But you can’t rush into treatment before your doctors at the Southeastern Spine Institute (SSI) have figured out what’s causing the pain. SSI specializes in diagnosing and treating pain to help people live pain-free lives.
The most important thing you can do when suffering from back pain is to see a back specialist at the first signs of discomfort. Early detection often leads to the best outcomes — and living pain free sooner. Early detection also leads to fewer complications.
Potential for Pain
At SSI, you’re treated as an individual, not a number. It’s only through a lengthy examination that begins with a thorough medical history that your back physician can plan your treatment. Conditions keeping you from living pain free may include:
- Herniated disc
- Poor posture
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Kidney infection
- Spinal fracture
Your First Appointment
Once you’ve made the decision to seek treatment for your back pain, know what to expect. If you’ve had a traumatic spinal injury, you’ll be seen by a series of specialists in the hospital to evaluate your condition as quickly as possible. If your injury isn’t an emergency, your first appointment takes place at the SSI office.
For your first visit, bring a friend or relative with you to help you and ease any stress. You’re asked a series of questions about your condition or injury to help the doctor make a diagnosis. The goal is to get you living pain free as quickly as possible. Depending on your condition, you may need to tell your doctor:
- Information about the event or circumstance that caused your back problem
- Your level of pain
- How long you’ve been in pain
- What kind of pain it is: sharp, dull, throbbing, stabbing, intermittent or persistent
- Other doctors you may have seen about your condition
- Medications you may be taking for the pain
- What you do for work
- Any other medical conditions you may have
- If there’s pain, weakness or numbness in your legs and feet
- In what position (such as lying down or sitting up) the pain feels worse
- What treatment options you’re willing to pursue to live pain free
Possible Tests During Your Exam
In addition to the questions, your doctor often orders tests. Your SSI physician needs to have as complete a picture of your spinal condition as possible. Because you may not know the exact location or nature of your problem, these tests pinpoint the source of your pain.
These tests are diagnostic tools that help your specialist determine the best course of action and treatment for your condition. The type of tests your doctor may need at your first appointment include:
- Blood tests, to determine if you have any underlying, undetected conditions
- X-rays, to help your doctor locate your injury or rule out other conditions
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), to see your muscles, joints, cartilage and tendons in greater detail
After reviewing the results of your tests, your specialist can develop an effective treatment plan. Then, you’ll be on the path to living pain free. And it all starts with your first exam.