How Do They Treat Back Pain At The Emergency Room :Complete Guide

Back pain is a common problem and anyone can get it at any age or stage of life. You might experience back pain after lifting something heavy, twisting your back the wrong way, falling awkwardly or sitting in an awkward position for too long. However, if you have this kind of pain that doesn’t go away within a few days, it’s time to see the doctor. Depending on the intensity of your pain, you should visit an ER or urgent care center instead of waiting until tomorrow to make an appointment with your general practitioner. 


After all, nobody wants to deal with acute back pain which can be a sign of something more serious than what you think. In case your back pain is so bad that limits you from doing basic activities like walking or standing up straight, here’s a complete guide about how do they treat Back Pain at the Emergency Room?

What Kind Of Back Pain Does An Emergency Room Treat?


The emergency room treats all kinds of back pain. However, it’s important to know what the pain feels like to ensure you’re actually experiencing one of the following health issues.

  • Nonspecific Back Pain – This is the most common type of back pain and it doesn’t indicate a specific injury or condition. Instead, it’s caused by stress or overuse of the muscles and ligaments in your back.
  • Localized Back Pain – This is when you experience pain in one area of your back. The pain can be sharp or dull, tingling or burning. Localized back pain can be caused by an injury like a sprain or strain to a muscle or ligament. It can also be a sign of a more serious problem such as a herniated disc.
  • Chronic Back Pain – If you’ve had back pain for more than three months, you may have chronic back pain. Chronic back pain can be caused by an injury or a medical condition like scoliosis or degenerative disc disease.
  • Acute Back Pain – This is sudden and severe back pain that comes on quickly. Acute back pain can be a sign of serious underlying conditions such as a kidney infection or blood clot.

Why Go To The Emergency Room For Your Back Pain?


If you’ve waited too long to treat your back pain and it’s so severe that it’s difficult to move, you should visit an emergency room. Other reasons you should visit the emergency room include: 


  • The pain gets worse over time without getting better with rest and over-the-counter pain medications.
  • You experience numbness or tingling in your legs.
  • Your back pain is accompanied by fever and chills.
  • You’re pregnant with back pain.
  • Your back pain is so bad that it’s difficult to walk or stand up straight.
  • You’ve experienced a trauma to your back, such as a car accident or a fall.
  • You’ve injured your back by doing a strenuous activity.

The Exam At The Emergency Room For Back Pain


If you’ve gone to the emergency room with back pain, the doctor will start with a general physical exam. They will check for things like swelling and discoloration in your back or legs, as well as how well you can move your limbs. After that, the doctor will most likely order a few tests to get a better idea of what’s causing your pain. 

  • X-rays – If your doctor thinks you may have a broken bone, they will likely order an X-ray. Doctors will also X-ray your back if they suspect a ruptured disc or spinal stenosis.
  • Blood Tests – Your doctor may order a blood test if they suspect you have a blood clot, infection or another metabolic condition.
  • MRI – If you’re experiencing acute back pain and they suspect something serious, they will likely order an MRI. An MRI is most helpful when trying to determine the cause of back pain, especially if you’re pregnant.

How Do They Treat Back Pain At The Emergency Room?


The treatment provided at the emergency room for back pain will depend on the cause and severity of your pain. For example, if you have a severe back pain caused by a sprain or strain, the doctor will prescribe you anti-inflammatory medication and recommend you take it easy and apply ice packs to the affected area. If your pain is caused by a ruptured disc, you will most likely need surgery to remove the disc fragments and alleviate the pain. 


If the pain isn’t severe enough for surgery, doctors will prescribe you non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines or painkillers. They will also recommend you rest and avoid any strenuous activities until your pain starts to subside. Depending on the type of back pain you’re experiencing, the doctors might also recommend you try physical therapy or acupuncture.


If you experience back pain, it’s important to know when to see a doctor. If the pain lasts more than a few days, or if it gets worse over time, you should visit a doctor immediately. Make sure you tell the doctor about your pain so they can prescribe the best treatment for you. In some cases, you may need to go to the emergency room for your back pain.




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