When Your Back Pain Needs to be Checked Out

Office worker with back pain

Hey guys, Dr. Lell here. One thing I’m frequently asked is “when should I have my back pain checked out” and it’s a good question. Some chiropractors here in Portland would say immediately but I liken this to taking your kid to the doctor every time he sneezes. Back pain happens. It comes. It goes (hopefully). And maybe it comes back. There are things you can do to prevent recurring back pain like exercises and stretches. Read this post on my favorite daily stretches for more information.

Now I’m not talking about back pain caused by a traumatic injury – that always needs to be checked out ASAP. I’m talking about the common garden-variety minor back pain that we’ve all experienced at some point. A lot of things can cause it (like whatever you did in your garden or that old mattress). We’re figuring out new causes like bacteria and emotional stress. And we’re learning that we were wrong about some things like being overweight or having a minor leg length difference.

“Doc, when does back pain go from something that you wait out to something you have checked out?” My quick answer is 1 week. Random back pain that doesn’t randomly go away after 1 week needs to be addressed. That doesn’t mean that there’s something seriously wrong, but it does deserve getting looked at because it has the potential to get a lot worse.

Now don’t feel badly about going in sooner if you need to. If you have a big road trip coming up, if it’s affecting your job or performance, or if you can’t take over the counter analgesics, then yeah – get checked out and end the pain early.

If that random back pain is moderate or severe, consider getting in to your chiropractor sooner than later. If that back pain is accompanied by pain, numbness, or tingling in the leg – you should also get in to see your chiropractor as soon as you can.

If you’ve been having back pain for longer than a week, consider making an appointment to get checked and to start feeling better.

Until next time, eat well and move often. If there’s something you’d like me to write about, drop me a line on Facebook or Twitter!

Questions about this post?

Dr. Lell would be happy to answer questions or provide more information discussed in this blog post. Contact him through our Contact Page.