Most people experience back pain at some point during their lives. Oftentimes, it's mild and resolves quickly on its own. Sometimes, however, back pain is a sign of a more serious issue. Depending on the extent of your back pain, you may need to see a doctor to determine whether it's a symptom of another condition. So how do you know when your back pain is more than solely a back problem? Keep reading to find out.
Spinal stenosis occurs when your spinal column becomes narrow and compresses your spinal cord. It's one of the most common non-injury related causes of back pain. If you're living with spinal stenosis, you're likely experiencing a variety of other symptoms such as a heavy feeling in your legs, numbness or tingling in your buttocks, leg, or foot, and pain that worsens when you stand for an extended period of time. You may also face sciatica, which is pain that starts in the buttocks and transfers down to your leg.
To determine whether you do have spinal stenosis or a more serious condition, it is in your best interest to visit a doctor. They can perform a thorough physical exam and a few imaging tests to gain a clear idea of why you have back pain and what you should do to treat it.
If your doctor diagnoses you with spinal stenosis, rest assured there are several treatments that can help you find relief. Physical therapy exercises that stretch and strengthen your back, anti-inflammatory medications and muscle relaxants, and steroid injections may all help. While surgery is uncommon, it may be necessary if your condition is particularly severe.