When Should I Seek Help For My Back Pain?
Your backbone is a stack of more than 30 vertebrae. There is a combination of muscles, tendons, and ligaments all around those bones that hold them in place. All of these pieces connect and work together, so when one piece is affected adversely, pain is often felt through your entire back.
We likely all will feel some form of back pain in our lifetime, and more than 85% of that will be non-specific – meaning the cause of the pain will be unknown and cannot be linked to a specific disease or spinal condition. In all likelihood, the back pain will have been caused by a sprain or strain from improper lifting or an activity-related injury.
For most of us, back pain should resolve on its own over a short period of time with rest, hot and cold compresses, exercise and pain relievers. If you are suffering from back pain, and it doesn’t improve over a seven to 10 day period, you should see your doctor. If left untreated, back pain may cause you to change the way you stand, sit, or walk, which will likely lead to further straining and prolonged pain.
If you have back pain that is associated with any of these following conditions, you should also see your doctor:
- Back pain that extends down your leg, especially below your knee
- Pain that gets worse at night and interferes with your sleep
- Unexplained weight loss
- A recent fall, accident or trauma
- Weakness, numbness or tingling in your legs or groin
- New bowel or bladder problems
- Fever or bad headache
- History of osteoporosis, cancer or recent infection
- Pain in the chest or left arm
- You are over 70 years of age
Early treatment is important as you don’t want to risk damage to your spine or nerves. Don’t delay seeking care if your pain is ongoing.