Back pain is pretty common, and most of us have experienced it at some point. Sometimes it’s just because we lifted something heavy or sat in a weird position. But how do you know when your back pain is serious enough to see a doctor? There’s a difference between the occasional ache and pain that demands professional attention. Here are some signs it’s time to call a doctor or chiropractor for your back pain in San Diego.
The Pain is Extending to Other Body Parts
If your back pain is radiating or extending to other parts of your body like your legs, arms, or even to your chest, that’s a red flag. This could indicate nerve compression or other underlying issues. Especially when the pain starts going down your leg, you might be dealing with something like sciatica, which can be severe if not treated. Radiating pain can be a sign of something more serious that needs immediate attention. So, if you’re feeling the pain in more than just your back, it’s time to schedule that doctor’s appointment.
The Pain Has Lasted for More Than a Week
Generally, minor back pain or muscle strains improve within a few days. But if you find that your back pain isn’t going away and it’s been more than a week, it’s a good idea to consult a doctor. Persistent pain could indicate an underlying issue that isn’t resolving on its own. The sooner you get it diagnosed, the better your chances of effective treatment and avoiding further complications. So if you’re marking a painful anniversary with your back pain, it’s high time to seek medical advice.
Pain Gets Worse in Some Positions and Times
If you notice that your back pain is significantly worse in certain positions or at certain times of the day, this is another sign you should talk to a doctor. It could indicate issues with your spine or other internal structures. For example, if lying down or sitting causes increased pain, it could be a sign of disc issues. Or if the pain is worse in the morning but gets better as you move around, it might be inflammatory back pain. Either way, variability in pain levels depending on position or time is something you’d want to discuss with a healthcare provider.
Experiencing Weakness or Numbness
Weakness, numbness, or tingling in your legs or arms are big warning signs that shouldn’t be ignored. This can often indicate nerve involvement, and in some severe cases, it may lead to permanent damage if not treated promptly. The sensation of pins and needles isn’t just annoying; it’s your body’s way of saying something’s off.
The Pain Was Caused by an Accident
If your back pain began after a car accident, a fall, or some other type of injury, it’s critical to see a doctor immediately. Injuries like these can result in fractures, dislocations, or other serious conditions that might not be immediately apparent. You might feel okay right after the adrenaline rush, but underlying issues could surface later, causing more severe problems. A prompt medical evaluation can provide an accurate diagnosis and guide the best course of action for treatment.
Experiencing Unexplained Weight Loss
Unexplained weight loss along with back pain is a combination that should prompt immediate medical attention. These symptoms could be signs of an underlying issue, such as cancer or an infection. While it’s easy to dismiss weight loss as a ‘good problem to have,’ when it accompanies persistent back pain, it’s anything but. Consult a doctor for a complete workup to rule out any serious conditions.
You Have a Fever
If you’ve got back pain along with a fever, don’t write it off as just a flu symptom. A fever combined with back pain could indicate an infection, possibly in your kidneys or spine. These conditions require prompt treatment to prevent complications. Even if it turns out to be a false alarm, it’s better to get it checked out and be safe.
Bowels or Urination Issues
If you’re experiencing back pain along with changes in your bowel movements or issues with urination, this could be a sign of cauda equina syndrome, a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. It involves nerve roots in the spinal cord and could lead to permanent damage if not treated quickly. Symptoms might include loss of bowel or bladder control, numbness, or even paralysis. If you notice these symptoms, head to the emergency room as soon as possible.
Contact a Chiropractor Today to Get Help with Back Pain in San Diego
If your back pain isn’t associated with any of the alarming symptoms mentioned above, but it’s still affecting your daily life, a chiropractor might be able to help. In San Diego, there are experienced chiropractors who specialize in diagnosing and treating various types of back pain. They can offer non-invasive treatment options that may provide relief and improve your spinal health. Chiropractic care is an option worth exploring for many types of back pain in Diego, especially if you’re interested in treatments that don’t involve medications or surgery. Contact an experienced chiropractor today and get the help you need.