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Signs Of Serious Back Problems

Serious Back Problems

and what may have caused them

At some point in their lives, most people will experience back pain. Typically, most cases can be attributed to advanced age, overuse, sprain, or some other mild injury. About 95% of back pain cases are simply due to sore muscles.  But sometimes, back pain can be so severe that it requires medical intervention. Keep reading to find out if you should see a doctor for your back pain symptoms.

The Types Of Pain You May Experience

If your pain registers as sharp, not dull, and gets worse over time instead of better, it’s probably time to call your doctor. Most non-emergency back pain can be treated effectively at home with ice, very short-term rest and exercise, but if the pain persists, it could be indicative of something serious. You may have pulled a muscle or ligament, or may even have another underlying issue with one of your internal organs. Pain that occurs at night may be a troubling sign as well.

If your pain “moves” or radiates down your legs, you may be experiencing an issue with your nerves. You may have a pinched or slipped disc, or some other condition that is irritating the nerves in your vertebrae.

If you are experiencing numbness instead of pain, this is something to bring to your doctor as well – especially if you’re also experiencing muscle weakness in the legs. This could indicate anything from sciatic nerve problems resulting from compressed joints, or, if the leg weakness is sudden, even a stroke.

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Any loss of function of the bowel or bladder is a ‘red flag’ and you should seek immediate care. Unexplained weight loss and/or night sweats combined with significant back pain should also inspire a visit to a professional.

What Your Treatment May Look Like

Your treatment will vary depending on many things – the condition you are suffering from, any underlying conditions you have in your medical history, your age, lifestyle, and more. Assume that you will undergo a full work-up at the office. Here are some common things your doctor may prescribe or recommend for treating your severe back pain:

Medications: Muscle relaxants, opioids for severe pain, steroid injections, and even antidepressants may help relieve some of your pain. Muscle relaxants and steroid injections can be temporary fixes, with steroid injections sometimes relieving pain for up to 3 months. Some antidepressants focus on different areas of your body’s pain response, and can be effective when used for back pain. Other prescription medications like gabapentin are utilized to reduce nerve-based pain.

Surgery: Surgery is often treated as a last resort – as it should be. Most doctors will only consider surgery for back pain if the pain is noticeably severe, or has other accompanying, worrying symptoms such as muscle weakness or a tumor as the causal event. You may need surgery to repair, replace, or remove damaged tissues if your pain is caused by a degenerative bone disease. 

Only about 1% of cases of back pain should ever require surgery. Certain geographic areas are more prone to recommending large spinal surgeries for complaints of pain. Do your research!

If you are having to consider surgery for your back pain, read our blog about why you should consider taking a multivitamin before your procedure. Making sure you have all the essential vitamins + minerals before you go into surgery is a key part in ensuring a safe and successful recovery! 

Alternative Medicines: Your doctor may recommend other, less invasive measures of relieving your back pain. Physical therapy, yoga, chiropractic adjustments, and other methods of pain relief are often effective when utilized under the guidance of your personal physician.

At Well Theory, we advocate for patient-led healing and treatment. Informed patients are the best advocates for their own health, which is why we offer these resources and holistic healing therapies Dr. Warner has developed in her years of clinical practice.


Dr. Meredith Warner is the creator of Well Theory and The Healing Sole. She is a board-certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Air Force Veteran.

She is on a mission to disrupt traditional medicine practices and promote betterment physically, spiritually and mentally to many more people. She advocates for wellness and functional health over big pharma so more people can age vibrantly with more function and less pain.

At Well Theory, Our surgeon-designed products are FDA Registered and formulated to help people:

  • Manage the symptoms of musculoskeletal pain
  • Recover vibrantly from orthopedic related surgeries
  • Fill the gaps in our daily diets
  • Manage pain associated with inflammation

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Natural Ingredients + Cutting-Edge Medical Breakthroughs.