Signs and symptoms of back pain may include:
- Muscle ache
- Shooting or stabbing pain
- Pain that radiates down your leg
- Limited flexibility or range of motion of the back
When to see a doctor
Most back pain gradually improves with home treatment and self-care, usually within two weeks. If not, see your doctor.
In rare cases, back pain can signal a serious medical problem. Seek immediate care if your back pain:
- Causes new bowel or bladder problems
- Is accompanied by fever
- Follows a fall, blow to your back or other injury
Contact a doctor if your back pain:
- Is severe and doesn't improve with rest
- Spreads down one or both legs, especially if the pain extends below the knee
- Causes weakness, numbness or tingling in one or both legs
- Is accompanied by unexplained weight loss
Also, see your doctor if you start having back pain for the first time after age 50, or if you have a history of cancer, osteoporosis, steroid use, or drug or alcohol abuse.
June 17, 2015
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- 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.
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