Call Your Doctor: 4 Signs You Should Not Ignore Related to Your Back Pain

National Call Your Doctor Day is today — Tuesday, June 11th. This is a good time to talk about the fact that 80% of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives. How do you know when the pain is something that will heal — or something that requires follow up with a doctor?

Here are 4 signs you should not ignore related to your back pain.

4 Signs You Should Not Ignore Related to Your Back Pain:

  1. Pain with fever. If your back pain is not isolated and starts to trigger a fever, call your doctor. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies a fever as a temperature around 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or more. A fever could signal that your body is fighting against harmful infections or more serious complications as a result of your back pain, so seeing your doctor as soon as possible is important.
  2. Pain with loss of bladder control. If your back or neck pain is accompanied by loss of bladder control, it’s time to seek the medical advice of a spine specialist. Incontinence can be a sign of more serious conditions, and it’s important to discuss this with your spine surgeon.
  3. Weakness in legs/feet or tingling. Some of the more common symptoms that accompany back or neck pain are numbness and tingling in the legs or feet. This could signal a pinched nerve or a herniated disc which, if not treated properly, can lead to severe pain and loss of sensation. The good news is that with a proper diagnosis, this pain and numbness can be treated nonoperatively 90% of the time. The key to successful, fast recovery is getting to the root of the pain with your spine specialist as soon as you notice the numbness or tingling.
  4. Pain that lasts longer than 10 days. Many of us encounter day-to-day, brief back pain and shrug it off as soreness. That may be true for some, but if your pain lasts longer than 10 days, it needs to be taken seriously. Pain that sustains for this amount of time should be evaluated by a spine specialist in order to get to the root issue and the appropriate treatment.

While it may be daunting to seek out a diagnosis from a spine specialist, patients are often relieved to learn the root cause of their pain and can confidently work through treatment. In order to address your back or neck pain in a timely manner, it is also important to understand the dangers of waiting or delaying care. It’s almost always better to seek help sooner rather than later. We often have more options for treatment and care early in a diagnosis versus later when there can be more deterioration and wear.

Want to know more — don’t hesitate to reach out and ask — on National Call Your Doctor Day — or any day of the year.

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