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Back Pain Center

Back Pain Symptoms

Symptoms of back pain
Back pain can feel like a dull, constant ache to a sudden or can manifest as a sharp pain that makes it hard to move.  Symptoms of back pain may range from muscle ache to shooting or stabbing pain, limited flexibility and range of motion, or an inability to stand straight.

Back pain can either be acute or chronic in nature.  Acute back pain comes on suddenly and can last from a few days to a few weeks. Most acute back pain is the result of trauma to the lower back or a disorder such as arthritis. Pain from trauma may be caused by a sports injury, work around the house or in the garden, or a sudden jolt such as a car accident or other stress on spinal bones and tissues. 

When to seek help
Chronic back pain lasts for more than three months without relief.  It is often progressive and the cause of chronic backache can be difficult to determine. If back pain is severe or doesn't improve after three days, call your doctor. You should also get medical attention if you experience back pain following an injury.  You should see your doctor if you manifest any of the following symptoms.  These symptoms could be a sign of a serious problem that requires treatment.

  • bladder problems
  • bowel problems
  • fever
  • numbness or tingling
  • pain after a fall or an injury
  • pain that becomes worse after rest
  • pain that wakes you up at night
  • severe back pain that doesn't improve with medication and rest
  • significant back pain that lasts for more than three weeks
  • trouble urinating
  • weakness, pain, or numbness in your legs
  • weight loss (unintentional)

In most cases, it is not necessary to see a doctor for back pain because the pain usually goes away without intervention.  In fact, most people experiencing back pain recover quickly, without loss of spinal function.  However, if you do not significant reduction in pain and inflammation after 72 hours of self-care, you should contact a doctor and diagnose the cause of back pain.

The next step towards alleviating acute or chronic back pain is to seek a diagnosis.  The more you understand about back pain, the better treatment decisions you'll make.  Continue reading here to learn more about how to diagnose back pain.

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