When to See a Doctor About Back Pain

Back pain is a common medical issue that most adults experience.

What Are Types of Back Pain?

Back pain can present itself in many ways, running the gamut from a constant ache to a shooting pain. To be considered chronic, back pain should be present for 3 months or longer, while acute cases last around 4 to 12 weeks.

What Causes Back Pain?

Common conditions that cause back plan include:

  • Skeletal irregularities
  • Arthritis
  • Muscle strain or ligament strain
  • Ruptured or bulging disks
  • Osteoporosis

What Should I Do?

Most of the time, with proper home treatment and self-care, back pain goes away on its own, but it could take a while. Over the counter pain medications and rest are important elements of the healing process. However, too much rest could cause an adverse effect since staying in bed for more than a day or two can lead to worse pain.

When Should I Seek Medical Help?

While back pain can often heal on its own, here are important factors that can warrant medical attention:

  • Improvement not seen after 2 weeks of self-care
  • Fever in addition to back pain
  • If the back pain is after an injury
  • If the pain causes issues with the bladder or bowels
  • Spreads further down one or both legs

What Is the Treatment?

Treatment varies by the cause of the pain and the severity of the pain, but can include:

  • Hot or cold packs
  • Medicine
  • Injections
  • Exercise
  • Surgery if needed

How Do I Prevent Back Pain?

Improving your physical condition is a key way to avoiding back pain, as well as practicing proper body mechanics. Lifting smart (use your legs and keep back straight) and practicing good posture is also very important.

What About Physical Therapy?

Physical therapy is a great option for many patients. The goal is to decrease pain and increase function. At Preferred Urgent Care, we will always work one on one with our patients and diligently work to educate them on how to avoid injuries down the road.

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