Back Pain – Should I See My Doctor

How Do I Know If I Have a Serious Back Injury

This is a transcript of a Dr. Jay Show broadcast on 1560TheGame in Houston, TX. Dr. J. Michael Bennett is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and a Fellowship Trained Sports Medicine Physician serving patients from Katy, Fort Bend County, Metro Houston and Southeast Texas from offices in Sugar Land and Houston, TX. Call 281-633-8600 for an appointment.

Our special guest for the show was Dr. Benoy Benny.  He is a physical medicine rehabilitation physician, and he is board certified for pain and spine as well as for minimally invasive procedures in spine.  He’s also a professor at Baylor College of Medicine.

Here’s the transcript of the first section of the Show:

DR. J. MICHAEL BENNETT: Good morning Houston, this is Dr. J. Michael Bennett coming at you live from 1560 Downtown at The Game.  We’ve got another entertaining show for you guys today.  Hopefully it will give you a little bit of information in regards to your health, sports medicine and wellness.  If this is your first time listening to the show, my name is Jay Michael Bennett and I’m a member of the Fondren Orthopedic Group, raised here in Houston, and I went to Baylor College of Medicine for my orthopedic residency and that was followed by a fellowship in sports medicine at the University of Miami – I’m wearing my “U” shirt today in support of the ‘Canes.  I’m also board certified in orthopedic surgery and I also have my certificate of added qualification (CAQ) in sports medicine and I practice here in the greater Houston area.  

Anyway we’ve got a great panel for you today.  We’ve got our patient advocate, Bob Lewis from 1560 The Game, back in town, he was hanging out in the Hill Country last week and I was a little jealous, but we can give you a break every now and then, Bob, and I appreciate you coming back with us and not moving out to Austin and all.  Bob is here to keep us grounded as docs like to get caught up in our own terminology sometimes.  Bob’s going to fire off at us if we lose track of how to explain things or if we fail to keep it at a basic level so everyone can understand what we’re talking about.  Our special guest today is Dr. Benoy Benny, he is a physical medicine rehabilitation physician, he is board certified in pain and spine as well as minimally invasive procedures in spine.  He’s also a professor at Baylor College of Medicine and he’s a great doc; I’ve had an opportunity to work with Dr. Benny on a number of occasions. Dr. Benny welcome to the Show.

Dr. BENOY BENNY:  Thanks.  It’s great to be here.

BENNETT:  Is there anything else you want me to add to your resume there?

BENNY:  We’ll probably get into more of it later but most of what I do is physical medicine rehabilitation with really a focus on spine and sports care.  

BENNETT:  That’s great because I’ve got patients coming in all the time with spine pain, back pain, neck pain, and the problem with that is it’s just such a debilitating problem and you’ve got these active people who are just doing their thing and then they suddenly wake up one morning and they can’t move.  It’s not only a shot to your ego because you wake up and realize you’re not 18 anymore but sometimes these issues can get pretty bad and pretty debilitating.  We’ll talk about that and get into the different injuries that we see.  

Anyway, to go back and talk about the mission statement of the show, we created the show really to update, inform and clarify any of the big three “Ms” in medicine: and that’s Myths, Misunderstandings and Misconceptions regarding sports medicine and wellness. And our goal is really to make you an informed consumer.  As I’ve said before in every show, patients really should approach medicine as a product.  You really need to research your docs, your physicians and your procedures as much as you can and put as much time and energy into whatever you’re having done as you would buying a new car or a new TV.  Because this is your life you’re dealing with here and one bad procedure or one miscommunication can cause long-term issues.  

Lines are open over here and we’re taking phone calls at 713-439-1560.  Any questions you might have for me or Dr. Benoy Benny, we’d love to have you.  Feel free to call in.  Last show we talked about foot and ankle and we went through the basic injuries and we want to again thank Dr. Mark Vann for coming out last week to talk about that.  We hope you got a little information from that.  This week, like I said earlier, we’re talking about back, neck and spine pain.  

There’s a huge spectrum when it comes to injuries of the back, neck or spine and how debilitating it is and what to do about it.  Dr. Benny, how do you differentiate between a bad injury and a mild injury or strain?  When people wake up in the morning and they have tightness in their back and they get warmed up and back to what they’re doing but the next day they can’t move or feel numbness or tingling down their leg, what do you tell patients as far as the signs of a bad injury or sprain and when do they need to come in and see a physician about this?

BENNY:  Back pain is super common.  About 80 percent of us will have back pain at some point in our lives, at least one time.  You see it all the time.  You’re friends and family, they’re always having strains in their back, they might have worked out hard and are having aches and pains.  But the question a lot of them have is, is this something that is really important or something that I need to see a physician about?  And that is a key question.  I think most of us will have aches and pains, and most of us like to work out, we like to do our sporting activities, and that’s okay.  You might want to take some over the counter anti-inflammatories, you might want to rest a little and stretch a little.  But the key is if it’s not getting better.  That’s really important in regards to when to see your physician.  And, also, being aware of what we in the medical community call neurologic changes, meaning if you’re having that numbness or that tingling, or if you’re having a shooting pain going down your arm or your leg.  That’s when you have to stop and go see your physician right away.  That’s a kind of generalized statement concerning when to go and see your physician or not.  But do understand that common aches and pains are common, they occur all the time.  But what I tell my patients is you will know your body better than anybody else does.  So if this is a common thing that occurs to you and you know you’ve stretched and all of that, that’s fine.  But you’ll know when it’s more severe.  It’s a different kind of sensation and that’s when you need to call your physician. 

BENNETT:  You really do know your body and every day you wake up in the morning and you stretch out and you’re like, “Oh, I feel a little sore, my back’s a little stiff.”  That’s fine.  A little bit of arthritis, a little bit of soreness, that’s fine.  You can usually work through it and get by.  But that day when you wake up and you cannot move your back or you cannot move your neck or you’re feeling something tingling down your leg or something feels weak, that’s a signal and it’s not one of those “no pain, no gain” type of issues that you’ve got to work through.

If you have questions about a back pain or sports medicine issue or you’d like an appointment with Dr. Bennett, please call 281-633-8600.

Dr. J. Michael Bennett

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