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Back Injuries: When To See Your Doctor

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Back injuries have many differing characteristics and types of pain. You might have pain concentrated in one area or pain that originates in your back and then radiates down your limbs. Symptoms can also include pain when walking, a tingling sensation in your hands or feet, and weakness in your knees. Pain caused by a back injury can get worse with activity or stay at the same level all day and night.

How do back injuries occur?

One of the most obvious ways to sustain a back injury is through sudden trauma to your back, like an accident or sports injury. You can also damage your back by lifting an object incorrectly or an object that is too heavy, or through a slip and fall. These sudden injuries, especially in the lower back, traumatize nerve endings. Sometimes, even sleeping on your back incorrectly can result in a back injury and back pain.

How are back injuries relieved?

Many types of sudden back injuries can be helped with a cold compress after the accident. Ice therapy helps to reduce swelling, and heat therapy can be used to relieve pain. Your pain doctor might take one of several approaches to treat your injury at your appointment, including chiropractic therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, whirlpool therapy, spinal traction, and spinal injections.

When do I need to see the doctor?

Immediately following your injury, it is best to use ice therapy and rest while you wait to see your doctor. Avoid using your back as often as possible. If your injury is minor, your pain symptoms might subside. However, it is best to see your doctor regardless, just to be sure of what you are dealing with. A back injury that does not heal within a few days definitely requires an appointment with doctor specializing in pain and injuries. Diagnostic testing, such as x-rays, may be necessary to take a look at your injury and get an idea of the best course of treatment.