Should I wait until the pain goes away, or should I seek a diagnosis to find out exactly what is causing the back pain?

Pain is a normal part of life, but acute pain can sometimes turn into chronic pain, which becomes a problem you need to explore with your physician. There are a number of symptoms you need to take into consideration that may require immediate medical attention.

Acute pain is normal and warns you that you have been hurt. It starts suddenly and usually ends briefly. However, the pain itself becomes a disease in the case of chronic pain, lasting long after you have recovered and healed from your injury. It could persist for weeks, months, or years and is usually diagnosed after three to six months of continuous pain.

Chronic pain alters your nervous system, making it more sensitive to pain and thus giving you the impression that painful sensations last longer and feel more severe.

When it comes to back pain, most of it resolves on its own or with self-treatment. The discomfort could spread to the buttock or leg on the side of the irritated nerve and get worse with:

  • back motion
  • bending
  • twisting
  • standing or sitting

If your pain is gradually increasing or accompanied by other symptoms, like muscle weakness or numbness, then it is time to determine what is causing the pain and what condition you might be suffering from. You should see your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • difficulty with urination
  • fever
  • loss of bowel or bladder control
  • pain or throbbing in your abdomen
  • discomfort that causes difficulty walking, standing, or moving
  • severe pain that gets worse at night, or when you lie down
  • pain that spreads down your legs
  • unexplained weight loss or other signs of illness
  • weakness, numbness, or tingling in your buttocks, genitals, or legs

Diagnosing Back Pain

When dealing with back pain, even the slightest movement has the potential to hurt you. If your pain persists for longer than two weeks and symptoms do not improve, you should get the necessary medical care from a professional.

A visit to your doctor may require the following investigations to diagnose your condition properly:

  • a complete medical history
  • a detailed physical examination
  • imaging tests: X-rays, MRIs, or CT scans
  • nerve conduction studies: to determine any muscle or nerve issues

Thoroughly evaluating your back pain causes and associated symptoms helps your doctor determine the most appropriate treatment. When a conservative approach does not have the desired effect, a surgical procedure is the following recommended step for improving your back problem.


Disclaimer: We do not assume responsibility for the use of the provided information or its interpretation. Our efforts are towards providing current and reliable information; however these should not be considered, or used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment.

Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Education/Medical-Library/