Back pain is one of the most common conditions that plagues people all across the globe, but because your spine is such an intricate system, the average person doesn’t have a deep knowledge of how to treat this pain other than to rest or take anti-inflammatory medications. Another thing people don’t really understand about back pain is how to recognize when it’s serious and if they should seek out a specialist for their care.
Today, we want to share some signs and symptoms that suggest your back problem is more than just common aches and pains so you know when you should have it examined by a specialist.
Is My Back Pain Serious?
Having one or some of the following symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean your condition is severe, just like the absence of any of the following symptoms doesn’t mean your back pain is nothing to worry about, but more often than not, if you’re dealing with a few of these symptoms, it’s in your best interest to talk to a doctor about your pain.
1. Pain Gets Worse – For the majority of people, pain and discomfort is highest at the moment of injury, and it slowly fades over time until it goes away completely or results in minor discomfort. However, if your pain has progressively gotten worse, it may be an indication or a more serious injury, or an indication that your current treatment is not working. Either way, if your pain has gotten worse, set up an appointment.
2. More Than Three Months – If your back pain has been consistent or come and gone in waves for longer than three months, your back pain is considered chronic. Chronic back pain responds best to active conservative care, and the best way to develop a targeted treatment plan is by having a doctor give you a clear diagnosis.
3. It Impacts The Way You Walk – If your back pain is altering the way you walk, you’re going to want to head to a doctor. With every step you take, you are putting abnormal pressure on other areas of your body to compensate for the discomfort you feel with each step. This can wear down your knees or affect your hips and lead to a whole host of related problems. If you’re hobbling or walking with a limp because of back pain, seek out a spine specialist.
4. Severe Symptoms – There are also some symptoms that suggest your back problem is more severe in nature. Aside from pain, if you’re experiencing lightheadedness, vomiting, fever, numbness or bladder control issues, you’re dealing with more than just a pulled back muscle. Consult a specialist sooner rather than later.
5. It Happened At Work – If your back pain came about as a result of a work duty or during the course of your employment, you’ll want to have the injury assessed by a doctor in the event that you want to pursue workers’ compensation. If you wait too long, it’s going to be very hard to earn a compensation award from the insurance company.
These are just a few factors that suggest you’d benefit from a consultation with a spine expert. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, or you just want a doctor to look at your spine, reach out to Dr. Chang’s office today.