The Fit Stop Blog

Expert advice to help you feel better.

When Should I See Someone About My Back Pain?

When Should I See Someone About My Back Pain?

How many of you have ever had an injury? Okay, okay – put all your hands down. Now how many of you have had an injury that lasted a little longer than normal? Maybe you thought “if I just rest it and give it time it will get better on its own” and then after 2, 3, 6, even 24 weeks it was still hurting you. It honestly happens to all of us. But what if there were a way to know when you should probably call up your doc for an injury that just won’t get better on its own? Well you’re in luck – today we’ve got one of our resident back pain specialists, Cameron Garber, PT, DPT here discussing important signs that will indicate to you whether your back will get better on its own with time or if you need to jump on the phone and get an appointment scheduled…

Check out our quick quiz for seeing when to come in and see a PT for your low back pain.  It is adapted from a book titled “Treat Treat Your Own Back” by a back pain guru named Robin McKenzie.  It is a great screening tool for helping you to know if your pain will likely clear on its own or if you should seek treatment.  Remember, if you have any doubt, get it checked out.  And be sure to check out our other posts “5 Types of Low Back Pain” and …. “The Least Expensive Way To Treat Your Back Pain” to learn more about why you should see a PT first for your low back pain.
(Adapted from Treat Your Own Back by Robin McKenzie)
•    Are there periods in the day when you have no back pain?  Even 10 minutes?shutterstock_159038366
•    Is the pain confined to areas above the knee?
•    Are you generally worse while sitting for prolonged periods or when rising from a seated position?
•    Are you generally worse during or right after prolonged bending or stooping as in bed-making, ironing, vacuuming, concrete work, digging or gardening?
•    Are you generally worse when waking up in the morning, but improve after about a half an hour?
•    Are you generally worse when inactive and better when on the move?
•    Are you generally better when walking?
•    Are you generally better when lying face down?  When testing this you may feel worse for the first few minutes after which the pain subsides; in which case the answer is ‘yes.’
•    Have you had several episodes of low back pain over the past months or years?
•    Between episodes, are you able to move fully in all directions without pain?
•    Between episodes are you pain free?
•    If you have pain in the buttocks, or the upper or lower leg, does it sometimes stop completely, even though you may still have pain in the back?
If you have answered ‘yes’ to all the questions, you might try the extension exercises category from our post “Top 10 Exercises for Reducing Your Low Back Pain.” If it doesn’t lessen within a few days seek help from your physical therapist for proper evaluation and treatment.

If you answered ‘yes’ to >5 questions you would benefit from a thorough investigation into your low back pain from a physical therapist.  They will be able to quickly identify the cause of your pain and prescribe the most appropriate course of treatment.

If you answered ‘yes’ to <5 you should definitely seek help from a physical therapist for further investigation into your low back pain.  Your symptoms are likely more involved and will require a thorough examination.

If you have any questions regarding your back pain please call us at Fit Stop Physical Therapy.  We would love to see you and help you get rid of your pain and get back to life. Contact us at one of our 4 conveniently-located locations by clicking on the links below:

Heber City        Salt Lake        Farmington        Murray

Cameron Garber, PT, DPT
Fit Stop – Farmington
172 N East Promontory
Suite 200
Farmington, UT 84025
(801) 558-8612

Fit Stop – Salt Lake City
51 South Main Street
Suite 307
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
(801) 656-2091

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