Back pain


Rest for up to two days if pain is severe. Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve) can ease discomfort.

When to seek immediate medical care

See a doctor immediately if:

  • A traumatic incident caused the pain, such as a car crash or fall
  • Fever
  • Difficulty emptying the bowel or with urination

When to make a doctor's appointment

Make an appointment to see a doctor if:

  • Pain is intense or constant
  • Extends down one or both legs
  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling occurs in one or both legs
  • Swelling, redness, or unintentional weight loss
  • Unable to work, sleep, or perform daily activities

Last Updated May 26, 2018

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