If you're experiencing back pain, it can be difficult to know when it's time to see a doctor. Around 80% of adults experience back pain at some point in their lives, and it's one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work. Pain can range from a dull ache to a sharp, sudden, and debilitating pain. If your back pain is severe, ongoing, or accompanied by other symptoms, such as numbness or tingling in the arms or legs, it may be time to see a back doctor.
The most common type of back pain is acute, meaning it goes away in a few weeks. Chronic back pain lasts longer than three months. Knowing when to see a doctor for back pain is half the battle when it comes to finding relief. Many people continue to function with mild back pain and find relief with home care measures.
However, it's important to know the signs and symptoms of a more serious back problem that requires professional medical diagnosis and treatment. If you have severe back pain that is combined with pain in other areas, such as a throbbing pain in your leg, you should see a doctor. This could be a sign that you have sciatica, a form of pain that affects the sciatic nerve, which extends from the lower back and crosses the buttocks before branching down each leg. This condition is usually the result of a herniated disc.
If back pain is accompanied by loss of bowel control or urination, it's time to seek immediate help at a local emergency room. If you have a car accident (even a minor one), fall or suffer any type of injury that causes back pain, it's time to consult a professional. If your back pain is due to a strain, sprain, or other minor injury, but it won't go away, call your primary care doctor. However, if your back pain has been going on for more than a week and isn't improving with home remedies like rest and over-the-counter medications, it's time to see a doctor.A doctor can help identify possible causes of low back pain and recommend appropriate treatment.
Your doctor can offer you a variety of ways to ease this pain. Most back pain will go away after a few days, but if you've been feeling pain for more than a week, it's time to call a doctor.If any of the following apply to your back pain, it's time to schedule an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible: if your back pain wakes you up in the middle of the night or appears when you're in certain positions; if your back pain is severe; if your back pain doesn't seem to improve; if your back pain occurs along with other worrisome symptoms such as tingling or numbness in the legs; or if you have had an injury that causes back pain.Back pain is one of the most common medical conditions; more than eight out of 10 of us will experience it during our lifetime. There are many reasons why the back may hurt due to muscle strain or to more serious conditions of the back and spine. The type of discomfort ranges from dull back pain to sharp pain.Knowing when to see a doctor for back pain is essential for finding relief and preventing further complications.
A person can often treat mild symptoms at home with rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain relievers. For more serious symptoms, your doctor may recommend steroid injections or surgery.