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; it isn’t always necessary. Back pain happens. It comes, it goes (hopefully), and maybe it comes back. But 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.

Traumatic vs Random Back Pain

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 all experience at some point. A lot of things contribute to it from a day in the garden and that old mattress to bacterial infections and stress.

“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 checked out. That doesn’t mean that there’s something seriously wrong but it does deserve getting looked. This is because the back pain has the potential to get a lot worse if it hasn’t already gotten better.

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

If your 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.

In short, 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.