Skip to content

Back Pain Health Center

Font Size

Lumbar Herniated Disc - When To Call a Doctor

Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if:

  • An injury causes numbness or weakness in one or both legs.

Call your doctor now if:

Recommended Related to Back Pain

Don’t Let Low Back Pain Ruin Sex

When it comes to your sex life, low back pain can have serious impact. You may start avoiding bedroom encounters for fear of triggering more pain, and if your partner gets no explanation for your seeming loss of interest, your relationship may feel strained, too. That’s why people with chronic back pain should bring sexual problems into the open, with their partner and with an understanding doctor who can help, says Michael R. Marks, MD, MBA, a spokesman for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons...

Read the Don’t Let Low Back Pain Ruin Sex article > >

  • You have a new loss of bowel or bladder control.
  • Leg pain is accompanied by persistent weakness, tingling, or numbness in any part of the leg from the buttock to the ankle or foot.
  • New low back pain is accompanied by vomiting and/or fever [101°F (38.5 C) or higher] that lasts longer than 48 hours.
  • Leg pain or intermittent weakness, tingling, or numbness lasts longer than 1 week despite home treatment.
  • You have back pain that either won't go away or builds in intensity over a few weeks.
  • A back injury is work-related, and symptoms don't improve in 2 to 3 days.
  • Back pain is accompanied by pain during urination or blood in the urine.
  • You have back pain that is worse when you are resting than when you are active.
  • You notice a gradual increase in problems with bowel or bladder control.

Watchful waiting

Watchful waiting is a wait-and-see approach. If you get better on your own, you won't need treatment. If you get worse, you and your doctor will decide what to do next.

If you have pain, numbness, or tingling in one leg that gets worse with sitting, standing, or walking (without any obvious leg weakness):

  • You may try a brief period of bed rest—usually no more than 1 to 2 days—then gradually begin activities if the pain is manageable.
  • Take short walks.
  • Avoid movements and positions that increase pain or numbness.

Who to see

For diagnosis and nonsurgical treatment of a herniated disc, you may see:

For diagnosis and surgical treatment of a herniated disc, specialists include:

To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 04, 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.
    1
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Woman holding lower back
    Or is it another form of back pain?
    Hand on back
    Eight out of 10 us will have it. Here’s 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
    Video
    pain in brain and nerves
    Slideshow
     
    Chronic Pain Healtcheck
    Health Check
    break at desk
    Article
     
    Woman holding lower back
    Slideshow
    Weight Loss Surgery
    Slideshow
     
    lumbar spine
    Slideshow
    back pain
    Article