Back pain is an incredibly common problem – over 80% of adults will experience it at some point in their life. With it being so prevalent, many people do not know when their back pain warrants a trip to their doctor. In fact, many people ask us, ‘Should I see a doctor for my back pain?’
Realistically, most back pain isn’t cause for concern, aside from being uncomfortable and disrupting your daily routine. Acute back pain, or pain that lasts less than 6 weeks, often resolves itself within a matter of hours or days. Strains or tight muscles are often at the root of this type of pain.
If you’re experiencing acute back pain, we recommend that you take it easy for the first day or two, and gradually incorporate more activity and stretching into your days. Be sure to employ the use of hot/cold therapy and pain relievers, as needed. More likely than not, your back pain will be a memory in a matter of days.
However, you should consider making an appointment if your back pain is the direct result of a traumatic accident such as a fall or car crash. Pain from a traumatic accident can be an indicator of more serious underlying issues and should be medically treated and monitored.
When To See A Doctor For Back Pain
Now that we’ve covered back pain doesn’t always require a trip to the doctor, it’s important to be aware of the indicators that your back pain may be more serious.
If you are experiencing back pain and at least one of the symptoms below, we recommend a visit to your doctor.
- The pain is constant and continues to worsen rather than improve after a day or two of home remedies (rest, ice, and pain relievers)
- The pain continues for more than 4-6 weeks
- The pain is accompanied by numbness or tingling in the extremities
- You have a fever
- The pain worsens at night
- You begin to lose weight without trying
- You see blood in your urine and the pain is one-sided
- You notice redness and swelling near the pain
- You also have abdominal pain
When you ask yourself the question, ‘Should I see a doctor for my back pain?’ know that the severity of the pain is not necessarily an indication of the severity of the condition. But in the end, you know your body best. If you’re still unsure if you should see a doctor after reading this, it’s usually best to err on the side of caution and seek a professional opinion. Make an appointment with one of our board-certified surgeons today!
This blog is not meant to be taken as professional medical advice.