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Five Signs Your Back Pain is Something More

Friday, January 20, 2017 7:38 AM

We never think about how much we use our back for until we are in pain. Even simple tasks such as walking or carrying a backpack or purse are difficult when the back is aggravated. According to Srjan Mirkovic, MD, Orthopaedics at NorthShore, aches and pains are normal for those who are active, so how do we know when we need to visit our physician when it comes to pain?


Dr. Mirkovic shares five signs that your pain warrants a doctor’s visit:

  1. Relentless pain. Most minor back pain will subside with a few days to two weeks of rest. If the pain never lets up, intensifies or keeps you up at night, then it might mean it is more than something minor. Or if the pain is accompanied with fever, chills and sweats, other weakness or weight loss, call your physician right away.
  2. You’re over 50. Change is natural as we age, but with age can come complications. Back pain later in life can be a presentation for arthritis and other age-related conditions.
  3. Recent accident or injury. Sometimes people can walk away from accidents or a fall feeling just fine and the pain comes later. It is recommended to check on feeling stiff or achy after a recent injury or accident.
  4. Numbness. If there is numbness, tingling, weakness in the arms or legs accompanied with pain, it could mean it’s more than minor pain.
  5. Got to go. Bladder or bowel issues – feeling like you have to go accompanied with back pain – can point to a larger issue that requires immediate medical attention.

Most back pain requires minor intervention, including over-the-counter medications. If you feel that your back pain is something more or you are taking pain relievers for more than a week and a half, make an appointment with your physician right away.

At what point did you feel that your back pain was more than just a nuisance?