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Lisa, MSN, FNP-BC, CCRN, Nurse Practitioner
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 890
Experience:  Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner
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I have severe lower back pain, from what I believe to be a

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I have severe lower back pain, from what I believe to be a really stupid act. I was walking on a flat surface road at a pretty good pace, and came upon two subsequent steep inclines - and took both at the same pace as if I were on a flat surface. This was about two weeks ago, and now the pain is so bad that EIGHT HUNDRED milligrams of Ibuprofen will not quite wipe out the pain, but makes it much easier to walk. What did I do to myself and what medical attention should I seek? I live alone, am 15 miles from the nearest urgent care facility and about 25 miles from the nearest hospital. My doctor isn't open til Thursday at 12 noon. Help!



Thank you for writing in today. I would like to ask a question just to clarify. The injury occurred 2 weeks ago. Is the pain acutely worse today? Is it a dramatic change? Are you having any other symptoms not mentioned, such as numbness, tingling, weakness, bowel/bladder incontinence, inability to move toes, or other problems? Have you been taking the Ibuprofen around the clock? If so, how much and how often? Are you using any ice or heat? If so, how much and how often? Any history of other back problems? Please let me know. Lisa

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes, I was walking two weeks ago and it started hurting about one week ago. I also stopped walking because it became increasingly painful. The past 3-4 days has been nearly unbearable. I have no other symptoms, no history of back problems, have probably allowed some time to lapse in between doses of 800mg of Ibuprofen. I've used heat but no ice.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I should add that the 800mg of Ibuprofen allows me to walk around, stand up and slowly bend over without excrutiating pain.



Thank you for responding to the questions. Well, at this point, without the ability to assess you, I can't advise you about whether or not you need an ER or Urgent Care Visit. At this point, I will share some information with you, and then you may be able to make that decision for yourself. First of all, back pain and injuries usually require emergency evaluation if neurological involvement is suspected. Neurological involvement usually manifests as numbness, tingling, weakness, and incontinence. Fortunately, you aren't having any symptoms that suggest neurological problems. Now, most back pain is caused by back muscle strain. This is most common. Generally, this is treated with anti-inflammatory medications (like the Ibuprofen) and skeletal muscle relaxants. When using the Ibuprofen, it is best to use it around the clock for several days post-injury. People tend to achieve the best pain control this way. Therefore, a patient would likely be taking Ibuprofen 800 mg three times per day. In addition, alternating heat and ice is helpful. Generally, the ice and heat are alternated every two hours. When applied the ice or heat pack should be held in place for 20 minutes. This can really help with back strain. Finally, mild activity is encouraged. Bed rest can actually make muscles more tense and prolong muscle strain injuries. However, doing to much can make the injury worse as well. Therefore, mild activity is best. Based on this information, you may be able to decide if you have some options to consider. However, if you find the pain is unbearable or gets worse and/or if new symptoms develop, I would strongly recommend evaluation. I hope this helps. If you have any additional questions or concerns, please let me know. Lisa

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