Your lower back constantly aches. But everyone has back pain at some point or another. You experience numbness, tingling or weakness shooting down your leg. But it’ll probably go away. You have a throbbing pain in your neck, even when you haven’t been leaning over or hunching over. But you may have just aggravated it while sleeping.  You can’t stand up straight without muscle spasms, and you can only walk around for short periods of time. But you can just take another day off from work and the gym. Your back pain worsens if you bend forward, or if you have to cough. But you can just try not to bend or move too much.

If you’ve experienced any of these pains, and reassured yourself about it, your back pain may be more serious than you think. While it is true that over 80% of Americans experience back pain, there are varying levels.

Minor pain or discomfort can happen for a variety of reasons. It could be a strain due to overdoing it at the gym, it could be an ache from sitting too long, or any of a host of minor issues. If back pain goes away after a few days, it is likely just temporary. But when it starts stopping you from enjoying life, or keeps you home from work, then it is becoming a serious issue.

So how do you know if it’s time to see a physician? A heating pad, ibuprofen and resting can only stave off minor back pain. They cannot fix back pain that is debilitating or interfering with everyday life and tasks. If your back pain is causing you to miss out on work or play, it is time to contact a physician.

If your back pain includes numbness, weakness or tingling in one of your legs, it could be sciatica. If your pain worsens when you bend over, it could be a herniated disc. If your pain sticks around even after you’ve rested, or if it lasts longer than a month, it’s time to seek help.

If back pain is affecting you, there is help. You don’t need to suffer and try to deal with it on your own if it’s not going away, or if it’s affecting your life. Microsurgical Spine Center offers a range of surgical and non-surgical treatments for back pain, with treatment based on your individual case. Contact us or call our dedicated Medical Concierge at 800-890-1964 to set up an appointment or learn more.