When Do You Need to See an Orthopedic Surgeon for Back Pain?

When Do You Need to See an Orthopedic Surgeon for Back Pain

Most of us will experience back pain at some point during our lives, and in most cases, it will get better without the need for medical intervention. Sometimes, however, back pain may require further investigation and treatment – such as if the pain becomes worse or does not respond to over-the-counter pain relievers.

An orthopedic surgeon can effectively diagnose and treat back pain and help you get back to doing the activities you enjoy, pain-free. These specialized surgeons do not only perform surgery, but they also perform pain-relief injections and can recommend therapy that may work for your pain without invasive treatment.

Back pain can be triggered by a number of factors, such as bad posture, overexertion during exercise, or a traumatic injury. Temporary back pain will often improve on its own; if it doesn’t, further investigation by an orthopedic surgeon may be needed.

Back Conditions that an Orthopedist Can Treat

You would want to see an orthopedic surgeon for an evaluation if:

  • You have severe back pain that has lasted for more than a week without improvement, or if it continues to get worse.
  • Your back pain is preventing you from carrying out normal daily activities or work duties.
  • You have back pain in addition to other symptoms, such as weakness and/or numbness that travels to the groin area, hip pain, and/or leg pain (indicating spinal nerve compression).

Many causes of back pain can be successfully treated by an orthopedic surgeon. Some of these conditions can include:


Sciatic pain can result when the sciatic nerve – which is the thickest and longest nerve in your body, extending from your lower back down each leg to your feet – becomes compressed or inflamed at any point along the nerve. Symptoms of sciatica can include weakness, tingling, numbness, and shooting pains that often travel from the lower back and down through the back of the leg. The pain or tingling can go all the way down to the foot, and it usually affects only one leg.

Herniated Disc

A herniated disc (or ruptured disc) can cause significant back pain. Discs are the cushion-like pads which act as shock absorbers between the vertebrae bones in the spine, allowing it to be flexible for back movement.

A herniated disc is when the outer disc layer tears (herniates), causing its gel-like center to leak out. This can irritate and put pressure on the nerves and spinal cord, causing pain.

Degenerative Disc Disease

As we age, our spinal discs lose water content and thereby become shorter and less flexible. This means that they can easily get injured, collapse, or rupture. This also prevents them from getting a good blood supply, leading to deterioration. This deteriorating condition is known as degenerative disc disease.

Also called DDD, this can cause the vertebrae bones to rub together and cause arthritis. Degenerative disc disease can occur in any part of the spine, but it most frequently develops in the lower back.

Orthopedic Care for Back Pain in Clinton Township, MI

If you have problematic back pain, Movement Orthopedics is here to help. We are able to diagnose and treat a wide variety of orthopedic conditions, including spinal conditions, arthritis, and sports injuries.

If you would like to find out more about the orthopedic care services we offer, call us today at (586) 436-3785, or you can request an appointment via our online form. We look forward to seeing you!

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