How to Explain Your Back Pain to a Doctor

If your back has been bothering you for more than a week or so, it is time to visit the doctor and find out exactly where the problem lies. When you visit your doctor, it is important to explain exactly how, when, and why your back hurts, to the best of your ability. How you explain your back pain to a doctor can go a long way in helping to diagnose the source of your discomfort.

Jot down, either in writing or electronically, a diary of your back pain and its intensity. The better the record, the more insight the doctor can receive. Let the doctor know if the pain is worse at night or after certain activities. Some pain is worse when the patient is in certain positions, such as sitting or lying down. An established back pain doctor will likely ask a patient to rate pain on a scale of one to ten, from no pain to severe pain.

Type of Pain and Patterns

Dull, shooting, burning, aching – there are many ways to describe particular types of back pain, and the type of pain may reveal why someone’s back is hurting. For example, sciatica, or pain from the sciatic nerve, is often described as a shooting pain radiating from the back to the leg.

The doctor should also know about pain patterns, such as:

  • Is the pain present all of the time, or does it come and go?
  • Does the intensity of the pain vary?
  • Did the pain happen all of a sudden or did it worsen over time?

It is also important to always make sure the doctor knows how long the condition has lasted.

What Causes the Pain

Sometimes, back pain seems to appear out of the blue. Often, however, something triggered the back problem and that is information the doctor needs to hear. Did the pain start after lifting a heavy object? Was there a slip or fall involved?

Think about whether anything changed about the time the pain began. Sometimes what a person may think is an innocuous change, such as new shoes, can cause back pain.

What is the Impact of Pain Location?

When it comes to back pain, the pain location may not necessarily correspond to the pain source. Let the doctor know where the primary pain emanates from and mention any secondary pain experienced. Most people try to manage their initial back pain symptoms before deciding to see a physician. Let the doctor know what helped or did not help manage the pain. Did a hot shower ease the pain or make it worse? Did icing help? Inform the doctor of anything that was tried, from massage to ibuprofen, and whether that made the pain feel better or worse.

How to Explain Back Pain to a Qualified Doctor

Not every person with back-ailment experiences actual pain or pain may prove just one of several symptoms. Let the doctor know if weakness, tingling, itching, loss of sensation, walking or balance difficulties or anything else out of the ordinary has occurred. However, any issues with bowel or bladder control is a medical emergency and it is important to go to the emergency room as soon as possible.

If you are experiencing back pain, call today and arrange an appointment. A compassionate back pain doctor can conduct a physical examination and perform diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your back pain and devise an appropriate treatment.