Every case of back pain is unique — but ignoring serious back pain will only make it worse. How can you tell if your back pain is serious? Can you tough through it or do you need a doctor?
The answer depends not only on the severity of the pain, but how long the pain lasts. As a general rule, if your back pain does not subside within a week or two, you should visit a doctor. If you are in such severe pain you can barely move or function, you should also see a doctor. While you may not have a medical emergency, a health and wellness doctor can provide a diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan. They may even be able to provide you immediate relief so you can get back to as close to normal life as possible.
Signs Your Back Pain May Be Severe
If back pain goes away after 72 hours of rest, it’s of little concern. Sometimes back pain can creep on and be long lasting, in which case medical treatment or massage therapy may be necessary.
If the pain is sharp — not just a dull ache — you have no additional information. Our brain cannot tell the difference between numbness, tingling, itch, tingle, sharp, dull, achy, stabbing, radiating, shooting, etc. None of these differences indicate a different cause for the pain. Rarely is the lower back pain due to nerve compression from a disc. Most of the time it is due to muscle and fascia injuries starting in childhood, continuing through adulthood, and greatly accentuated by the inflammatory reaction of fascia to what you have eaten in the past 3 months.
If you have back pain but are also having trouble with your bowels or bladder, this could be a sign of serious nerve compression or a spine infection, such as discitis or meningitis.
If you feel numbness or pain in your groin or glutes in addition to back pain, you likely have a condition known as known as saddle anesthesia. You may also have a serious nerve or spine condition. You should see a health and wellness doctor.
A doctor can not only lead to an accurate diagnosis, but more importantly help you get the back pain therapy you need to get better. Pain should never be ignored, especially if it continues for more than a week or two. It’s your body telling you something — listen to what it has to say.