Warning Signs: When to See a Doctor for Back Pain

By Michael S. Sinel, William W. Deardorff

Part of Back Pain Remedies For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Initially, you can self-manage most episodes of back pain. The following warning signs, however, may indicate more serious back problems or other medical issues. If you experience one of the following, you need to visit your doctor.

  • Problems with your bowel (loss of feeling), bladder (trouble with urination), sexual function (inability to get an erection for men), or numbness in your groin area

  • Weakness in one or both of your legs and/or feet

  • Back pain that awakens you at night that is throbbing and aching

  • A serious trauma to your spine, such as a car accident or fall

  • Excruciating back pain or new symptoms

  • Problems with your medications, or using alcohol or other substances to manage your back pain problem?