Millions of Americans suffer from back pain. Whether it’s acute or chronic, you know the drill: workout regimens interrupted, trouble performing household tasks or picking up groceries – back pain can blow up your normal routine and leave you unable to remember what it was like not to be in pain.
Many of us pop a pain killer and hope it fades, others accept discomfort as an inevitable part of aging. But Emily Burns, ARNP, a back pain expert at The Iowa Clinic, says it doesn’t have to be this way.
No matter the cause – injury, arthritis, a herniated disk – getting an expert opinion is worth your time and often a crucial step towards a pain-free life.
Here’s how to get to the source: first, determine whether your pain is acute or chronic. Acute pain is shorter (lasting less than six weeks), severe and intense. Pain lasting more than six weeks is considered chronic — continual and recurring.
Next, ask yourself these key questions:
- Is my pain getting in the way of everyday life? Can you get out of bed in the morning, cook for yourself, and get dressed without experiencing pain? If not, it’s time to see your doctor. Pushing through excruciating back pain simply isn’t worth it – and it may cost you in the long-run.
- Have I hit my pain threshold? Everyone has a different tolerance for pain. But if you rate your pain on a scale of 0 to 10, at what number is it possible to complete daily activities and feel like your usual self? If your answer is a lower number, you may not need to seek immediate medical attention, but you should still address your back pain when you visit your primary care provider.
- Am I experiencing severe, red-flag symptoms? If you experience sudden weakness in a limb or bowel or bladder incontinence, see your doctor – or better yet, visit a back pain specialist – as soon as possible.
If you answered yes to any of the above, it’s time to take action. You can start with your primary care provider or get an expert opinion right away by visiting our Back Pain Clinic in West Des Moines.
Your pain can be complex, so your treatment will never be one-size-fits-all. After a thorough evaluation with Emily, she’ll create a tailor-made plan that encompasses your specific goals and needs. You may see a physical therapist, pain management physician or surgeon in the same building or see one of our
partners in chiropractic care, acupuncture or physical fitness – whatever it takes to eradicate your pain.
No matter where your recovery journey takes you, make 2021 the year you tackle your back pain for good.
About Emily: Emily Burns, ARNP is an expert in back pain, neck pain and neurosurgery with 15 years of combined experience as a nurse and nurse practitioner. At The Iowa Clinic, Emily provides preliminary assessments, early intervention and treatment, and coordination of patient care at our Back Pain Clinic.
Emily’s years of experience afford her firsthand knowledge of how much neck and back pain can negatively impact everyday life. Her highest priority is to eradicate pain so her patients can feel healthy and whole again.