How do you know if your back pain is something serious or not?
Below is a small checklist of questions to rule out some things to see if you should get a more thorough look or if you can do simple things to manage it. The number next to the question is a scoring system and will be a way for you to determine the severity of your pain.
My back hurts.......
When only doing specific things? 1
When working out or lifting things? 2
Only in the morning or after being seated for a while, but goes away once moving around? 1
When getting up after a still position, but does not ease up right away? 2
Most of the time, regardless of the activity, but as a dull ache? 2
When doing small tasks, but comes in quick sharp bolts? 3
When I have more stress? 1
When I get a poor night of sleep or sleep in unusual positions? 1
The list could go on quite extensively, but these are the most common things we hear when back pain is present. If you add up the scores next to the question you answer "yes" to, you will be able to determine when it is time to seek help. If you have had symptoms for > 3 weeks in any of the questions answered, then you will want to add a +2 to your total score.
Scores <5 = Manageable, and the pain may be temporary due to a muscle pull, stress, or other factors. If it persists, then seeking the help of a skilled clinician would be your best option. Light walks, gentle movements in various positions, and exercise may be a way to help manage this better.
Scores 5-7 = Not as manageable on your own. A thorough evaluation from a skilled PT or clinician would be needed to rule out and significant injuries or potential for further injury.
Scores 7+ = Please seek help as soon as possible with a skilled clinician in your area whom you can trust. This is something you don't want to linger, and a skilled PT can help you reduce pain, improve mobility, and prevent the possibility of surgery if managed in time vs. waiting and hoping it will go away.
This can provide a better framework for knowing what to do with your back pain. If you still need to find out who can help you, you can click the button below to set up a chat with a skilled PT from DPR. We will ask you all the right questions and provide you with more clarity regarding your concerns.
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Dr. Peter Dionisopoulos is the owner and founder of Dynamic Performance & Rehab. He has worked with many high-level athletes and military personnel, but his true passion is to help active adults maintain their lifestyle by providing information and potential solutions to their aches and pains so they can continue with the activities they love.