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Back Pain Health Center

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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.
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