When to See a Doctor for Back Pain

When to See a Doctor for Back Pain
Discover the most common causes of back pain, when at-home treatment may work, and when to see a back pain doctor.

Often associated with neck pain and shoulder pain, back pain is one of the most common forms of pain to affect people of any age. It is not uncommon to experience back pain as a result of poor posture, particularly in an office- or school-like setting. In fact, back pain is one of the most common reasons people go to the doctor or miss work, and a leading reason that people receive disability around the world. Surgery is rarely needed to treat back pain, but may be necessary if your pain is the result of an injury or other serious medical problem.

Upper Back Pain

When you suffer from upper back pain, you may experience stiffness, aching, sharp pain, or a burning sensation. If you have more serious symptoms, such as weakness, tingling, or numbness in your arms, legs, chest, or stomach that lasts more than a short period of time, you should seek emergency care.

The most common causes of upper back pain are:

  • Muscle Strain or Injury
  • Ligament Strain or Injury
  • Poor Posture
  • One or More Pinched Nerve
  • One or More Fractured Vertebra
  • A Herniated Disc
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Myofascial Pain Syndrome
  • Gallstones

Some of the factors that can determine whether or not you are at a higher risk of developing back pain issues include:

  • Age – Most people experience back pain in their 30s or 40s, and are more likely to experience it as they get older.
  • Physical Condition – People who are in shape typically have stronger back, shoulder, and abdomen muscles, which can reduce their chance of injury.
  • Weight – Carrying extra weight will place greater strain on your back.
  • Underlying Medical Conditions – Arthritis, cancer, and other diseases can cause and exacerbate back pain.
  • Smoking – Smoking can cause a smoker’s cough, which may strain the muscles in your back, and may increase the amount of time it takes your body to recover from the strain.

Back Pain Doctor

Whether you’re suffering from upper back pain, lower back pain, or general back pain, you should visit a doctor for severe pain and pain that lasts longer than a few days. If you experience severe pain after a traumatic event, such as an accident or fall, you should seek emergency medical treatment at your local ER. Otherwise, contact your local AAA Physicians group to schedule an appointment for the friendly and compassionate care you need to return to the pain-free life you deserve.