Prevea Health

Oh, My Aching Back: When to see a Doctor

 
spacer

How many times have you moved the wrong way and felt a twinge in your back? Is it just a muscle strain that will go away in a couple of days, or is it something more serious? This can be a common feeling when you take on a chore or exercise that you don’t do on a regular basis.

There are a few things we do every day that can put us at risk for back problems, including:
  • Playing weekend sports
  • Lifting incorrectly
  • Sitting in the same position for longer than 30 minutes

What are some things you can do to treat short-term back pain?
  • Stay active. Even though you hurt, continue to exercise and move. Resting in bed for a long period of time can actually make your back pain worse by making your back feel more stiff
  • Apply ice. Ice can help manage new back pain by keeping swelling to a minimum. Applying ice to your back for the first 72 hours after injury increases your chances of being able to control pain and swelling
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers. Try Tylenol or Advil to help with your back discomfort. Read the label to learn about the medication’s side effects and how to properly take it

How long should you watch your back pain symptoms before contacting your doctor? Most back discomfort lasts for about two to three days when applying the treatments listed above. Contact your provider if the pain lasts longer than two to three days. Leg pain, weakness and numbness/tingling normally do not accompany short-term back pain. Call your provider right away if you are experiencing any of those symptoms with or without back pain.
spacer