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Back Pain Health Center

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Lumbar Spinal Stenosis - When To Call a Doctor

Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if a person has signs of damage to the spine after an injury (such as a car accident, fall, or direct blow to the spine). Signs may include severe back pain, or weakness, tingling, or numbness in one or both legs.

Call your doctor now if:

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When to See Your Doctor About Back Pain

How do you know when that achy pain in your back is more than you can handle alone? Experts agree -- if your back pain is in conjunction with any of the following symptoms, skip the at-home remedies for in-office help.  There are several red flags that doctors look for when evaluating low back pain. The purpose of these warning signs is to detect fractures, tumors, or infections of the spine. If you have any of these red flags along with back pain, see your doctor as soon as possible.   Fever Sure,...

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  • 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.
  • Low back pain is accompanied by vomiting, fever, or both.
  • Leg pain, weakness, numbness that comes and goes (intermittent), or tingling lasts longer than 1 week even though you use home treatment.
  • Significant back pain either does not improve or gets worse over 2 weeks.

Watchful waiting

Lumbar spinal stenosis usually gets worse gradually over months to years. If you have symptoms that come on suddenly, you may have another serious condition and should call your doctor.

If you begin to regularly have leg pain when walking and standing, call your doctor.

Who to see

The following health professionals can diagnose and treat spinal stenosis:

Specialists who can treat spinal stenosis include the following:

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

    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.
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