Skip to content

Back Pain Health Center

Font Size

Back Problems and Injuries - Check Your Symptoms

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You have symptoms of a heart attack. These may include: After you call 911, the operator may tell you to chew 1 adult-strength or 2 to 4 low-dose aspirin. Wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself.
  • You have signs of a severe spinal injury. These may include:
    • Loss of bowel or bladder control (not being able to hold your urine or bowel movements).
    • Weakness in the legs.
    • Numbness or tingling in the rectal area, genital area, or legs.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have severe back pain that is not from any known injury.
  • You have severe back pain at night that will not go away.
  • You are not able to urinate.
  • You have back pain and:
    • You have injured your back while lifting or doing some other activity. If the pain is severe, has not gone away after 1 or 2 days, and you cannot do your normal daily activities, call your doctor.
    • You have had a back injury before that needed treatment.
    • Your pain has lasted longer than 4 weeks.
    • You have had weight loss you cannot explain.
    • You are age 50 or older.
    • You have cancer now or have had it before.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You do not get better as expected.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Woman holding lower back
    Or is it another form of back pain?
    Hand on back
    See the myths vs. the facts.
    Woman doing pilates
    Good and bad exercises.
    acupuncture needles in woman's back
    Use it to manage your pain.
    Man with enhanced spinal column, rear view
    pain in brain and nerves
    Chronic Pain Healtcheck
    Health Check
    break at desk
    Woman holding lower back
    Weight Loss Surgery
    lumbar spine
    back pain