What did I do to my back?
June 13, 2011 9:35 AM   Subscribe

Help! I think I seriously messed up my back. About a week ago, I jumped on a giant indoor trampoline and since then my back has been really bothering me. It's my mid-back, hurts most when I walk, run, or jump. It doesn't feel like the muscle. Should I see a regular doctor? Chiropractor? Is there any home care that I should be doing? I am worried that it's not improving. Thanks so much!
posted by Equiprimordial to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

It doesn't feel like the muscle.

I'm friends with an orthopedic surgeon, and having with him a lot I know that it's easy to guess wrong about the source of the pain.
posted by jon1270 at 9:39 AM on June 13, 2011

I'd see an orthopedist if I were you.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:39 AM on June 13, 2011

See a regular doctor, who will know what to do and (probably) refer you to an orthopedist.
I used to think chiropractors were the people you went to for this sort of thing, until I found out that they're quacks. Don't go to a chiropractor.
posted by dunkadunc at 9:42 AM on June 13, 2011

If it doesn't hurt really badly (ie, you can still run, jump, and walk), I would personally wait a week and try to do only gentle exercises, and see what happens. But that's me - I try to consume as little health care as possible, thanks to my consumer driven health plan, and I've discovered that waiting a week often fully resolves the situation in non-acute cases. Things like non-specific muscle/back aches fit this description to me.
posted by yarly at 9:44 AM on June 13, 2011

i would wait longer, unless you know you want to do physical therapy.
In this scenario, any good orthapedist would definitely go with PT over surgery. Remember--that's basically your 2 options with an orthopedist. So unless you want to jump into surgery, you'll just be headed to PT.
Also, remember you can always find an orthopedist that wants to cut first.
posted by alkupe at 10:00 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

I am not your doctor, but I am quoting something a real doctor told my old roommate. She and I each had back trouble at similar times, only we had different kinds - hers was a pinched nerve, mine was a muscle. She told me what her doctor had said about the kind of pain she was having, and how you can use that to tell whether it's a nerve or muscle thing -- if it was more achy and dull, it's a muscle thing. If it felt more sharp and kind of like electricity, then it's more likely to be a nerve thing.

If it sounds more like it could be a nerve thing, I'd consult with a doctor (I don't know about that), but if it's more deep and achy, like it could be a muscle thing after all, seconding the taking it easy and doing some gentle stretches.

If this is the first time you've done anything to your back ever, though, you may want to just check with a doctor just in case, for a more accurate diagnosis. Muscle-based things can be taken care of okay with rest, gentle stretches, and massage therapy. (I also had okay experiences with a chiropractor, despite dunkadunc's warning above.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:00 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

Don't go to a chiropractor. Go to your GP and get a referral to an orthopedist if he/she can't find the problem. Don't guess. Back problems are fairly easy to exacerbate.
posted by Hylas at 10:22 AM on June 13, 2011

Unless you have symptoms indicating nerve involvement (numbness, tingling, shooting or burning pain, etc.), the orthopedist is going to send you to physical therapy first, so you might as well save your money--just give your GP a call and ask her to prescribe physical therapy. This is what I do (history of serious back trouble including back surgery) and I don't even have to pay for a GP visit. Despite having spent gobs of money on all kinds of other health care providers, the only ones who have ever been able to help me in a meaningful way are the physical therapists and orthopedic surgeons.
posted by HotToddy at 10:47 AM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

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