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How to Tell if Your Back Pain is Serious

By Sara Butler

If you’ve often wondered whether or not that pain in your back is serious and you need to see someone about it, you are not alone. As many as 80 percent of the population will experience back pain at some point in their lives, but knowing when to seek professional help can make a big difference. Here’s how you can tell if your back pain is minor or if it’s something serious that should be seen as soon as possible.

Pain and Swelling

If you have a back injury, some swelling might just be par for the course. The real difference lies in how much pain and swelling you are experiencing. If you have pain that makes it difficult for you to sleep or keeps you from doing everyday activities, then you need to be examined by your chiropractor.

Many studies have shown if you leave a serious injury untreated it can take you that much longer to heal and recover completely, so being proactive will get you back on the proverbial horse sooner.

Walking or Standing Causes Severe Pain

If you’re experiencing intense pain when you simply stand, walk or try to lift your arms -- or you feel tingling, numbness or pain down the back of your arms or legs -- then you need to see a medical professional such as your chiropractor. If you have a subluxation causing this pain and discomfort, it can cause irritation to the nerves exiting your spinal column, so seeing a chiropractor is the way to go.

You Can't Turn or Move Your Body

If you are unable to twist your back, bend at the waist and just generally are moving around like a robot, then you need to see a chiropractor. This may mean your injury is causing your back to be unstable and thus making it difficult to move or turn.

Other Warning Signs

Common sprains or strains can be treated with ice in order to reduce swelling, but this is only the right plan if you have a minor injury. If your injury is severe then you need medical care as soon as possible. Other warning signs of a serious problem include:

  • Very serious back pain as you walk
  • Bumps or lumps in your back not related to swelling
  • Red streaks across your back

Any of the above symptoms should spur you to get immediate medical care.

If you have questions about the pain you’ve been experiencing in your back, talk to your chiropractor about it at your next adjustment at The Joint Chiropractic.

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