When to See Your Doctor for Back Pain

Oftentimes, I experience back pain when I have to spend hours working on a complex hair piece. I put much attention to detail and that explains why it normally takes me many hours just to finish one piece. And I know that I am not the only one who suffers from back pain. Many people also suffer from this problem from time to time as a result of their work or daily activities.

Back pain is normal especially if you just went through a strenuous day of activity. Depending on how severe the pain is, it might just go away after several hours or days. The pain could also be alleviated with a massage, pain reliever, rest and exercise. However, your back pain may also not be what you think it is. And when that happens, you need to see your doctor right away.

Regardless of the type of back pain you are experiencing such as a right side back pain, lower left back pain, or upper back pain, there are red flags that should alarm you that your condition is something serious and needs your doctor’s attention.


If you have a persistent back pain accompanied with fever, it may be a sign of a systemic problem. Your doctor might rule out infection. If you are diagnosed with infection, you may be prescribed to take antibiotics. Aside from that, your doctor may also recommend resting for several days until the pain alleviates.

Numbness or Tingling

Back pain accompanied by numbness or a tingling sensation in the legs, arms, groin area, genital area, thigh and buttocks could be a sign that you are suffering from nerve irritation or damage. It can be a case of spinal stenosis or a herniated disk which, if left untreated, may cause permanent disabilities.


If you recently fell from a ladder or had a car accident followed by back pain, you want your doctor to check what is actually causing the pain. It is possible that the pain is a result of a fractured back. Your doctor may recommend that you take an X-ray for proper diagnosis.

Loss of Bladder or Bowel Control

Back pain accompanied by any of these symptoms could be indicative of a rare disorder called cauda equina syndrome. This is normally a result of having spina stenosis, trauma in the spine, or herniated disk. Additional symptoms include weakness or numbness in the legs. Cauda equina is a condition that requires medical attention at the soonest time possible.

Family history of suppressed immune system, osteoporosis or cancer

Family history of these diseases can make your doctor rule out that your back pain is caused by the same condition.

Night Pain

Back pain that occurs at night should not be ignored as it could be a sign of sprain, disc degeneration, tumor or even cancer. Your doctor may request that you to have a blood test or MRI to help diagnose your condition.

If you think that these are all the red flags for back pain, they are not. I have sources that also list down unexplained weight loss, pain that lingers for more than four weeks, advanced age, and use of IV drugs as other red flags. If you have any of these red flags, see your doctor immediately because early treatment may be able to cure the problem.