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When do I Need to See A Doctor for Back Pain?

Dec 26, 2019

Pain serves a vital purpose in that it alerts us to a problem with our body. When pain is paired with other issues, this can be seen as a heightened alert that something more serious is wrong.

Sometimes it is difficult to determine when it is time to see a doctor who specializes in pain. You probably have treated your back pain successfully in the past with over the counter pain medications, using heat and cold packs, and lying down to rest the area, but this time the symptoms of back pain are different. There are definitely times when to see a doctor for back pain. Here are some warning signs when you need to see a doctor for back pain.

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Injury due to a Blow or Fall

If you have fallen down even a few steps or received a blow as a result of a colliding with another person or knocking against equipment in a sporting event and you are now encountering back pain as a result, it is time to seek medical assistance from a pain treatment clinic.

Your expert pain doctor may need to order x-rays or other imaging tests to determine whether there are any fractures in your spine. Once you have established that you are clear of fractures, you can continue nonintrusive methods to alleviate your pain and slowly start to resume your daily activity.

Pain At Night

Your back is fine all day, but you suffer from pain at night. Sometimes the pain happens as you as you lie down and at other times the pain is so extreme that you wake up in the middle of the night. This can be a signal of several problems such as a tumor, a degenerative disc, a sprain or even cancer. When you visit your pain doctor, they will order blood tests or an MRI to determine the underlying issue.

The Pain Spreads Down One or Both Legs

This is a sign that there is pressure on a nerve. Before the situation deteriorates, it is important to relieve this pressure. Your pain doctor will likely recommend that you see a physical therapist so that you can start some exercises to build muscle to relieve the stress in that part of your spine that is putting pressure on your nerves.

Deformity of the Spine

Any change in the curvature of your spine or any bulging areas are symptoms of a concern whether it be a tumor, osteoporosis, cancer or any other number of diseases. Your pain doctor will investigate the initial cause of the problem through bloodwork and imaging tests. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you can receive the necessary medical intervention.


Back pain is not generally accompanied by a fever. Fever is usually a sign of infection. It is even more alarming if you have taken medication to reduce the fever, but it still persists. By going to a pain doctor in New York or a pain doctor in New Jersey, you will find out the source of the fever and whether the issue is related to your back pain or something else is happening.

A Change in the Way You Walk

If you are finding that while you are walking, you are dragging your toes or if you have to lift your foot with each step consciously, this is a signal of an issue with the nerves in your spine or an issue in your brain. If a herniated disc is the cause of the pressure on your nerves, you may need to see a physical therapist who will provide you with some specific exercises to relieve the pressure on your spine. Or you may require steroid injections to reduce inflammation in an area of your spine.

Pins and Needles Feeling

In many ways, a sensation of tingling is much more worrisome than back pain. It is a signal that something is wrong with the nerves, such as a herniated disc, or spinal stenosis that is causing nerve pressure. It is best to see to the issue promptly so that you do not cause nerve damage that could result in a permanent disability. Your pain doctor in NY or pain doctor in NJ will use imaging technology to assess your spinal condition.

Problems with your Bowels or Bladder

There is a rare condition called cauda equina syndrome. The symptoms are back pain accompanied with a loss of control for the bowel or bladder. This is a result of the nerve roots in the lower back being compressed so that they are now paralyzed. The compression could be the result of a herniated disc, fracture, tumor, spinal stenosis or any trauma. The tingling may develop over time into a weakness of the legs. If you experience these symptoms, it is time to visit the emergency room to seek out immediate help. You may need to undergo surgical decompression to relieve the pressure on your nerves.

Unexplained Weight Loss

When pain is accompanied with weight loss, this can be an indicator of many things from infection to a tumor. Your well-trained doctor at the pain treatment clinic will begin a serious of tests to determine the underlying issue. You may need to see a physical therapist to relieve your back pain with exercises.

Pain for 6 Weeks or Longer

Back pain usually subsides  90% of the time within a couple of weeks. If you suffer pain for more than 6 weeks, there could be another more serious cause for the pain. Blood work and imaging tests will help to determine the source of the problem.

If you’re searching for a “back doctor in NYC” or are unsure of what type of doctor do I see for back pain, look for pain doctors that offer back pain treatments in NYC that do not resort to surgery or narcotics to treat chronic pain.

IV Drug Use

Along with long-term usage of IV drugs comes the possibility of infection.  Bloodwork can determine if you have an infection. Antibiotics can reduce the infection and subsequently counter pain in your back.


If you are over 70, there is a greater chance that back pain is a signal of more serious issues such as infection, tumors or abdominal irregularities.  At this point in your life, it is wise to seek out medical help, so that the underlying condition does not seriously affect your health.

This list of when to see a doctor for back pain does not cover all of the circumstances for when you need to seek medical help. However, it does include some of the more common situations. It is always better to see a doctor for back pain if you suspect that the pain is different from what you have experienced in the past.

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Meet our

Board Certified Team


Meet our Board Certified team

pain management doctors
pain doctor near me

Hanna MD

Double Board Certified
Director of Pain Management
Harvard Medical School
Dr. George Hanna is a nationally recognized pain management specialist and Double Board Certified in anesthesiology and pain management medicine. Dr. Hanna is currently available at Pain Treatment Specialists in Manhattan. He is now accepting most major medical insurances, including Medicare.

Nguyen MD

Triple Board Certified
Harvard Medical SChool
Dr. Michael Nguyen is world renowned in Pain Medicine. Dr. Nguyen completed his residency and advanced Pain fellowship training at Harvard Medical School. During his tenure at Harvard, Dr. Nguyen was awarded the “Mentor of the Year” and also “Teacher of the Year” award. After finishing at Harvard, Dr. Michael Nguyen taught for two years at Harvard – training new graduates on the latest modern advances in interventional pain management for multiple pain ailments.
When do I Need to See A Doctor for Back Pain? ultima modifica: 2019-12-26T07:15:02-05:00 da JJ Madrigal