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Signs Your Back Pain May Be Serious

Most episodes of back pain will get better in a few days, but sometimes the reason for back pain can be more serious. You should call your doctor if you have a new episode of back pain and:

  • You are over 50 years old or less than 20 years old
  • You have symptoms of fever or chills, or have had a recent infection
  • You have chest pain along with your back pain
  • You have been in a traumatic accident or have had a fall
  • You have shooting pain that goes down into your leg or arm
  • You have weakness in the leg or arm, or loss of sensation that is getting worse
  • You lose control of your bladder or bowel, or have numbness in the genital area
  • You have unexplained weight loss along with your back pain
  • You have nausea and vomiting or trouble breathing
  • You have osteoporosis
  • You have had cancer
  • You have any condition affecting the immune system
  • Your pain gets noticeably worse when you lay down, or is worse at night
  • You have had recent medical procedures
  • You have new back pain that simply does not improve over time

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.

Contact Information

Spine Center
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Shapiro Clinical Center, Second Floor
330 Brookline Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
617-754-9000
spinecenter@bidmc.harvard.edu

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