Chiropractor Questions Chiropractor

How do I know if my back pain is serious?

I have back pain for 5 days already. What can I do? How do I know if my back pain is serious?

5 Answers

Usually you would want to start out with an X-ray. After a doctor examines you and reviews your x-rays they will be able to determine whether your back pain is serious or not.
It depends on the mechanism of injury, your history and physical exam findings. Outside of of a physical exam the mechanism of injury would be the greatest tell. If you do not have a specific mechanism of injury and it started all of a sudden you should go see your doctor as this could be anything. Once you talk to your doctor they will order imaging based on your history and physical exam findings. This is better tell what is going on and the degree of seriousness.
Back pain lasting 5 days or longer needs to be evaluated.

Signs that indicate your back pain could be serious include: Severe pain especially if it doesn't let up and doesn't improve with rest or over-the-counter pain medications. Numbness, tingling, or weakness in your legs, arms, or other parts of your body. Loss of bladder or bowel control. Back pain as a result of a fall, accident, or any form of physical trauma.

Your chiropractor can rule out serious causes and help you come up with a plan to address your back pain and get you back to normal as quick as possible.
You need to be evaluated. There is no way to know the severity of your issue without finding out what the issue even is. At my practice we do a full nerve and muscle assessment and we have an in house x-ray suite if deemed necessary.
Hello and thanks for the great question!

Back pain can be due to a handful of different things varying from a simple back spasm or spinal misalignment, to disc issues, kidney stones, or other visceral ailments/conditions. I'd need to know more about the origins of this back pain and perform a diagnostic exam before saying if the back pain you are experiencing is serious or not. Even in the case of a simple spasm, allowing the inflammatory process to happen for too long (meaning more than 1-2 days) can lead to mobility and range of motion issues down the road.
I hope you feel better soon.


Dr. Morales, D.C