It shouldn’t surprise you that back pain is the leading cause of disability and the most common reason why people call in sick to work. After all, most of us experience some form of back pain at some point in our lives.
However, back pain comes in different forms ranging from a mild ache that only lasts a few days to severe, persistent chronic pain that never seems to go away. While you can treat back pain yourself in many cases, depending on its intensity, other cases clearly require professional medical attention.
So, at what point do you need to see a doctor who specializes in treating back pain?
If any of the following applies to your degree of discomfort, you should promptly schedule an appointment with a back pain specialist.
8 Indications You Need to See a Back Pain Doctor
- You have lingering pain. Most back pain comes and goes within a few days. If yours lasts more than a week, call a doctor who can perform the examination and tests required to diagnose the source of your back pain before it worsens.
- You’re experiencing back pain that extends to other areas of your body. For example, if you have shooting pains down your leg, it could be a sign of sciatica, pain affecting the sciatic nerve, which, in turn, could be the result of a herniated disc.
- Your symptoms also include numbness, tingling, or weakness. These symptoms could indicate nerve damage or irritation, especially if your pain persists despite taking over-the-counter medication. If left untreated, nerve pain can lead to permanent damage or disability.
- Your back pain is the result of a mishap. If you have back pain after a fall, car accident, or another injury, you may have a more serious problem, such as a fracture, that must be addressed.
- You experience the worst back pain at certain times and in certain positions. Back pain that wakes or keeps you up at night, or occurs when you’re in a particular position, such as reclining, could indicate a more systematic problem, such as a fracture, infection, or severe nerve compression.
- You’re having difficulty urinating or moving your bowels. Seek immediate medical help if your back pain results in a loss of bowel or urinary control. This can be a sign of cauda equina syndrome, in which the nerves in the lower spine become paralyzed. If you are also experiencing numbness in your legs, you may require surgery to decompress the nerves and maintain their function.
- In addition to back pain, you’re running a fever. This could signify a serious infection requiring immediate treatment with antibiotics.
- You are experiencing sudden weight loss. If you haven’t recently changed your diet or lifestyle, your doctor will need to pinpoint if the reason for your weight loss coincides with your back pain, as it may indicate a severe condition, such as an infection or a tumor.
Back Pain Doctor in Watertown, New York
The board-certified orthopedic surgeons at North Country Orthopaedic Group in Watertown, New York, provide patients suffering from back pain with thorough evaluations and custom treatment plans. Ours is a multi-specialty practice devoted to your musculoskeletal health that offers the most advanced non-surgical and surgical services to provide a comprehensive approach to your care.
To learn more, call us today at (315) 782-1650 and schedule a consultation.