When to see your doctor about back pain

Friday, October 7, 2016

For many, back pain goes away on its own after a few days or weeks, but for others, the pain becomes chronic and lasts for months or years. But you don’t have to stop those everyday activities because back pain is often treatable.

“There is no gold medal for living with pain,” says Shaun O’Leary, M.D., Ph.D., medical director of NCH’s Neuroscience Services. “Back pain is a common health complaint and affects most people at some point during their lives.”

If your back pain has any of these characteristics, Dr. O’Leary says it is a good idea to see a physician for an evaluation:

  • Back pain following a trauma, such as a car accident or a fall off a ladder.
  • The pain is constant and getting worse.
  • The pain is severe and does not improve after a day or two of typical remedies, such as rest, ice and common pain relievers (such as ibuprofen or Tylenol).
  • The pain is worse at night (most forms of back pain are alleviated by rest).
  • There is abdominal pain and neurological problems, such as weakness, numbness or tingling in the leg(s) or arm(s).
  • Shaun O'Leary



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