When Should I See a Doctor for Back Pain?

Back pain is one of the most common conditions plaguing the population today. Men and women of all ages fall victim to some type of back pain, from muscle strain to bulging discs, every year. In fact, approximately 30 percent of the population reports new or worsening back pain annually. While it may not be necessary to make a trip to the doctor for every episode of pain, there are certainly times when consulting with a doctor is advised. Here are four types of back pain that should be examined by a medical professional.

Back Pain Accompanied by Weight Loss or Fever

If back pain is accompanied by a fever of greater than 101 degrees, it’s time to visit a doctor. This could be a sign of a serious infection that can only be diagnosed by a trained professional. Occasionally, unprecedented weight loss may accompany back pain. When weight loss occurs without reducing calories, it’s wise to seek the advice of a professional.

Weakness, Numbness, or Tingling

Back pain accompanied by weakness, loss of sensation, or tingling could be a sign of a serious neurological condition. These symptoms indicate damage to the spinal nerves, which should be confirmed by a medical professional. If one or more of these conditions are observed in any of the appendages, visit a doctor promptly.

Persistent or Shooting Pain

If pain lasts longer than two weeks and persists even with the use of over-the-counter medications, it’s time to see a doctor. Likewise, if the pain causes difficulty performing activities of daily living, seek medical advice. Shooting pain is another symptom that should not be ignored. This may indicate a neurological abnormality and should be examined by a trained professional.

Balance Problems or Incontinence

Back pain that is accompanied by balance issues or the inability to control the bladder may indicate a serious condition. Certain rare conditions involving the spinal nerves may result in such symptoms, making a professional diagnosis essential.

It is important to pay close attention to the type and duration of back pain. Doing so can help differentiate between normal aches and pains and abnormal occurrences. Any pain that worsens over time should also be examined by a qualified doctor. Marc Cohen specializes in minimally invasive procedures and has experience working with individuals of the New Jersey area to seek a resolution to their chronic back pain. Contact the Spine Institute at one of our many locations to schedule your appointment today.