Q. I’m in pain. Should I wait to seek treatment?
A: No. Delaying treatment for pain can turn a relatively minor injury into a major health problem.
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General pain can come from genetic predispositions that further precipitate injury or, from just moving muscles and joints in an awkward way during everyday activities.
Rapid response to back injury in the workplace, for example, can prevent the development of chronic pain in many cases. Many cases of back injury at work are caused by improper, heavy lifting. While injured workers wait in limbo for the outcome of a workers’ compensation decision or appeal, their very livelihoods can be jeopardized.
Back pain is often a self-limited problem that occurs to most of us at one time or another regardless of our occupation. However, back pain is a symptom and if it lasts more than a few days or is associated with nighttime awakening, worsening of pain when lying down, weight loss, leg pain or history of underlying health issues, seeing a physician to determine the potential cause of these symptoms is warranted
Supervised physical therapy is a crucial element of rehabilitation in any injury case and can be the determining factor in a patient’s return to work and daily activities. Depending on the pain, about 70 to 80% of patients need three to six months of therapy, which must be supervised to prevent re-injury from improperly executed movements.
At the end of the day, it is important to stay active and stretch in order to prevent these painful incidents from happening. Always seek a medical professional’s opinion for reassurance, treatment and expectations for the future.
— Internist and pain management specialist Philippe Berenger, MD.