As you get older, actions and events that once had very little impact on how you feel or that would not have caused you any lasting pain or injury, could now cause your body significant damage and cause you to feel long-lasting pain. Because of this, you should treat every fall you experience as a serious incident, especially if you experience back pain after the fact.
The pack pain that you experience after a fall can occur due to a wide array of issues, ranging from herniated discs to vertebral fractures, to strained or pulled muscles. It is important to understand better the possible causes of your back pain
as well as the ways that your back injury can be diagnosed and treated so you can recover from your fall as soon as possible.
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM YOUR FIRST DOCTOR'S VISIT
When you first go to the doctor following your fall, whether you go to your primary care physician or you go straight to a back pain and spinal specialist, there are certain diagnostic tests that the physician will likely perform. First, they will perform a visual and manual examination of your back and the rest of your body.
Your doctor may ask you to bend, touch your toes, or perform other movements and stretches to see how your back moves and what motions cause you more discomfort than others. Once they are done with this initial assessment, your doctor will likely recommend x-rays or potentially PET or CT scans.
These scans each give a different type of view of your back and spine to your doctor so that they can better determine what is causing your pain and discomfort. An x-ray looks at the skeletal system and could be used to determine if you have any broken or fractured bones in your spine.
WHEN YOU MAY NEED ADDITIONAL DIAGNOSTIC TESTS
These basic scans can help your doctor to see basic and obvious causes for your back pain. An obvious fracture, break or ruptured or herniated disc in your spine will show up prominently on an x-ray, PET, or CT scan. However, sometimes the cause of your back pain may not be so easily detectable.
A diagnostic procedure known as an electromyography is an option that looks at possible muscular and nervous system causes of your back pain. The procedure is easy and painless and involves electrodes being placed on your back. These electrodes are used to read and detect the signals that neurons send to the muscles and cause them to contract.
If the nerves are misfiring and telling your muscles to contract, the electromyography will detect those signals and can help to determine if there are damaged nerves or pinched nerves that may be responsible for the pain you are experiencing.
Lumbar discography is another diagnostic procedure that your doctor may recommend to you. This is done by an interventional radiologist or a back pain and spinal specialist in a hospital or outpatient clinical setting.
When a person has a lumbar discography, the doctor will put two needles into their back to put pressure on the spinal disc that is thought to be the source of the problem. The test can be done on several discs in the spine to ensure that the doctor can isolate the source of your back pain. It is helpful when a disc is not obviously protruding or inflamed on standard scans.
HOW YOU CAN OVERCOME YOUR BACK PAIN
Once you have a firm diagnosis of the cause of your back pain, you can begin the recovery process. Often, your back simply needs time to heal itself and recover from your fall. It means that the most conservative treatment options are attempted first to give your body that time it needs.
Corticosteroid injections or nerve-blocking injections may be prescribed and administered to reduce inflammation and prevent pain during healing. You can also go through physical therapy and rehabilitation to ensure that your muscles remain as flexible and supple as possible while you heal.
If the situation is more serious or conservative methods do not work, you may need surgery to stabilize the spine or remove the disc that has ruptured or herniated. However, most cases of back pain after a fall do not call for surgical remedies and can be dealt with in a pain clinic setting.
Now that you know what to expect when you seek care for your post-fall back pain, you can be sure you are prepared for the diagnostic procedures and treatments to come.