If your back pain lasts for a few days without improvement, make an appointment with your doctor. Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
What you can do
- Write down key personal information, including mental or emotional stressors in your life.
- List your key medical information, including other conditions for which you're being treated and the names and dosages of medications, vitamins and supplements you take.
- Note recent injuries that hurt your back.
- Take a family member or friend along, if possible. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
For back pain, questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is the most likely cause of my back pain?
- Do I need diagnostic tests?
- What treatment approach do you recommend?
- If you're recommending medications, what are the possible side effects?
- I have other medical conditions. How can I best manage them together?
- How long will I need treatment?
- What self-care measures should I try?
- What can I do to prevent a recurrence of back pain?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions, including:
June 17, 2015
- When did your back pain begin?
- Is the pain constant?
- Does the pain affect your ability to function? If so, how much?
- Do you have other signs or symptoms besides back pain?
- Do you do heavy physical work?
- Do you exercise regularly? What types of activities do you do?
- How often do you feel depressed or anxious?
- Do you sleep well?
- What treatments or self-care measures have you tried so far? Has anything helped?
- What is back pain? National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/back_pain/back_pain_ff/asp. Accessed May 29, 2015.
- Adult acute and subacute low back pain. Bloomington, Minn.: Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. http://www.icsi.org/low_back_pain/adult_low_back_pain__8.html. Accessed June 4, 2015.
- Back pain facts and statistics. American Chiropractic Association. http://www.acatoday.org/level2_css.cfm?T1ID=13&T2ID=68. Accessed May 29, 2015.
- Prevent back pain. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/everyday-healthy-living/safety/prevent-back-pain. Accessed May 29, 2015.
- Low back pain. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00311. Accessed May 29, 2015.
- Knight CL, et al. Treatment of acute low back pain. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 29, 2015.