Back Pain Specialist

Michael Temkin, DO -  - Board Certified Internal Medicine & Primary Care

Michael Temkin, DO

Board Certified Internal Medicine & Primary Care located in San Ramon, CA

One of the most common reasons for doctor’s visits and lost time at work is back pain. Although the pain can be incapacitating, the good news is that most cases are temporary and resolve on their own. Dr. Michael Temkin in San Ramon, California, can help you manage your pain as well as work with you to prevent future problems. Call or click today to make an appointment.

Back Pain Q & A

by Michael Temkin, DO

What symptoms usually accompany back pain?

Rather than a condition producing a single sensation, back pain varies. You may feel muscle aches at times, while pain occasionally stabs or shoots to parts of your body, often in association with particular movements.

Radiating and phantom pain is also common. Because back pain may result from irritated nerves at the spine, you may feel pain, numbness, tingling, or other sensations anywhere along the path that nerve takes. When you have lower back pain, often the sciatic nerve is involved, so you may feel sensations down your buttocks, outer thigh, knee, and even into your foot.

Restricted mobility and stiffness also accompany back pain. Occasionally, restricted mobility may be the greater problem, with pain occurring only when you move beyond a limited range of motion.

What causes back pain?

Just as there’s no single symptom, there’s often no single cause. Back pain can be acute — starting suddenly and lasting no more than a month or so — or chronic — lasting months, years, or more. Sometimes, physical exams and diagnostic imagery can determine the cause, while other times, sources of pain are merely suspected and positively identified.

Common causes of back pain, alone or in combination, include:

  • Arthritis: particularly osteoarthritis, which can cause bony growths into your spinal canal, compressing or irritating nerves
  • Ruptured discs: spinal discs have a tough outer covering and softer, gel-like interior that may sometimes escape through cracks or ruptures in the outer layer; this puts nerves at risk of irritation or compression
  • Soft tissue strain: overuse can strain muscles and ligaments, leading to back pain that’s not related to nerve irritation
  • Osteoporosis: loss of bone density may allow vertebrae to buckle under the load your spine bears, causing nerve compression

How is back pain treated?

Chances are that with some rest and moderate stretching, most cases of back pain resolve themselves in a matter of weeks. Despite the tendency to rest when you’re feeling pain, back problems usually respond to light activity that doesn’t aggravate the pain. If you can walk pain-free, for example, that may your best option.

When over-the-counter medication doesn’t handle pain, however, a visit to Dr. Temkin is in order. He can also recommend stretches, hot and cold treatment strategies, or other self-care options. Surgery is rarely necessary to help with back pain.