Back Pain - When Should You See a Doctor?

When to See a Doctor for Back Pain?

For many people, back pain is part of everyday life. Unfortunately, a lot of people aren't aware that persistent back pain can be an indicator of much more serious problems that can have lasting consequences. Although it never hurts (pun intended) to see a doctor any time you've got back pain, here are some red flag indicators that can let you know your back pain might be something more serious and that you should see a spine specialist as soon as possible:

Back Pain-When Should You See a Doctor?

Persistent Back Pain

If your back pain has been with you for four to six weeks, it is a good idea to see a doctor as soon as possible. Worsening back pain could be an indicator of a more serious spine condition. At Resurgens Spine Center, our Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation physicians and Spine surgeons offer non-operative and operative options for your back and neck pain.

Back Pain-When Should You See a Doctor?

Back Pain That Does Not Improve after 2-3 Days of Over the Counter Treatment

Most of the time, back pain can be treated at home with the usual suspects: Over-the-Counter (OTC) pain relievers, ice, and rest; however, if you have to treat your pain in this manner for more than three days without improvement, it's time to get a spine specialist's opinion.

Back Pain-When Should You See a Doctor?

Back Pain That Follows an Injury

There are many injuries that can cause back pain, and it's never a good idea to ignore pain signals from these injuries. Whether you injured yourself doing some heavy lifting or your pain is the result of a traumatic accident, you should always see a spine specialist for a back or neck injury.

Back Pain-When Should You See a Doctor?

Back Pain Symptoms

There are several symptoms, called "red flags," that may indicate that you have a serious issue with your back. If you have one or more of these symptoms, seek the care of one of our spine specialists:
  • Younger than 20 or older than 55 and experiencing back pain for the first time
  • The pain follows a traumatic or violent injury, such as a car accident
  • Back pain at night
  • Constant back pain and it's getting worse
  • Upper spine back pain
  • You presently have cancer or have had it in the past
  • You are on corticosteroids
  • Illegal drug use or HIV positive
  • Generally feel unwell, have back pain, and are feverish
  • Experiencing back pain and have had a significant weight loss
  • Back pain with great difficulty bending forward
  • Numbness, loss of function in your legs, and loss of bowel or bladder function
  • An obvious structural deformity of your spine
  • Debilitating back pain that is not reducing after four to six weeks


If you have back pain that you just can't shake, please call Resurgens Spine Center or schedule an appointment online today with one of our spine experts. Our Atlanta-area spine physicians have your back and will use the latest technology to diagnose and treat your back and neck pain.

Learn more about the Spine Center at Resurgens Orthopaedics.