When Should I See an Orthopedic Doctor for Back Pain?

When Should I See an Orthopedic Doctor for Back Pain

Do you have persistent back pain?

Back pain constitutes one of the most common types of musculoskeletal conditions. It’s the third most common reason people seek out musculoskeletal treatment from a physician, and 16%-26% of the population report suffering from it. People get back pain for a variety of reasons, ranging from injury to overuse. If you’re like most people, you want to get relief for your pain but don’t want to go to the doctor if you don’t need to. But how do you tell whether or not you need an orthopedic doctor for back pain? Keep reading to learn more!

What Is an Orthopedic Doctor?

But what is an orthopedic doctor? And how can they facilitate treatment for lower back pain? Orthopedic doctors work with your musculoskeletal structure to relieve pain and treat a variety of ailments. Commonly, people come to orthopedic doctors when they’ve been suffering from some type of pain and would like treatment. These doctors also can diagnose chronic conditions.

When to Not See an Orthopedic Doctor

If you’re looking for a treatment, you may wonder whether or not seeing an orthopedic doctor for back pain is for you. After all, you don’t want to spend the money on a physician if you can take care of it yourself at home. Many different types of back pain don’t require a visit to the doctor. These often stem from common, everyday causes, such as pulling a muscle or even slouching at a computer. With proper rest, these injuries will heal independently, without the additional intervention of a doctor. If you notice your back pain subsiding after a few days, you likely don’t need to see a physician. You could also see if the pain goes away after a massage session or pain killers. If it does–and doesn’t return–you don’t need to see a doctor.

When You Need to See an Orthopedic Doctor for Back Pain

But when do you need to get treatment for your back pain? There are several instances in which you should seek the help of a physician. Let’s go into each of them below.

You’ve Been in an Accident.

Have you suffered from a car accident (or another severe incident)? If so, you want to see your physician as soon as possible. Vehicular accidents exert an intense amount of force on the body, which can cause injuries to the ligaments and joints. Even small accidents jolt the body enough to give it lasting pain. If you’ve been in an accident, make sure you see your doctor as soon as possible. Many put off seeing a physician after a car wreck because they don’t believe they sustained significant injuries. Still, orthopedic doctors can help with persistent pain and get your body back to functioning normally again.

Your Back Pain Is Persistent

Has your back pain lasted more than a few weeks without abating at all? If you have persistent back pain, it might be time to visit a physician. In particular, if your pain has stuck around for more than 12 weeks, you should stop in to see an orthopedic physician. Why is this the case? The body is equipped to heal many of its ailments naturally. Yet, sometimes, it suffers injuries that it needs the help of a doctor to repair. If your pain has been persistent, you may want to find a doctor who can treat it.

Soft Tissue Injury

Have you suffered a soft tissue injury that hasn’t subsided for at least 48 hours? If so, then it’s time to make a doctor’s appointment. Soft tissue injuries should heal on their own, but if the pain has lessened in 2 days, you might be dealing with a problem that requires a medical professional’s attention.


Do you find that you also have instability when you walk, stand, or sit? If so, you might be experiencing an issue stemming from your back. This issue should be looked at by a physician so that you can begin treatment and return to a normally functioning lifestyle.

Sharp or Severe Pain

Is your pain sharp or severe? Do you suspect it might be more than just a small injury that will heal over time? Pain is your body’s signal that something isn’t right. If you’re experiencing unbearable pain, make sure you get to the doctor right away. The doctor will be able to assess your condition and recommend treatment.

Pain in Your Legs

Does your pain shoot down your legs, especially beneath your knee? Often, when people develop sciatica, their pain starts in the lower back, shoots down into the glutes, and then goes down one leg. Orthopedic doctors can help people suffering from sciatica. It can be caused by a severe sports injury, piriformis syndrome, herniated disc, stenosis, osteoarthritis, or spondylolisthesis.

Your Legs Change Color

If you’re experiencing back pain and your legs have changed color, it’s time to see a physician. A change of the color in your legs can indicate a wide variety of conditions, including neuropathic ailments. To keep your body in prime functioning condition, you shouldn’t ignore this symptom.

Unintended Weight Loss

Have you noticed that you’ve lost weight recently, in addition to your back pain? If you’ve lost weight unintentionally and have back pain, your pain may come from another underlying condition. It would be best if you considered making an appointment with your orthopedic doctor for an official diagnosis.

Ready to Get Treated?

If you’re suffering from back pain, you want to feel better as quickly as possible. In some cases, your back pain will go away on its own without seeing an orthopedic doctor. However, if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, you should make an appointment and get an examination. If you ready to get your back pain taken care of, please make an appointment with us today!

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