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Health A-Z

Medical Content Created by the Faculty of the
Harvard Medical School

When to Call A Doctor

Contact your doctor if:

  • Severe back pain makes it impossible for you to do your normal daily activities.

  • Your back pain follows significant trauma.

  • Mild back pain gets worse after a few days or persists more than a week or two.

  • Back pain is accompanied by weight loss, fever, chills or urinary symptoms.

  • You develop sudden weakness, numbness or tingling in a leg.

  • You develop numbness in the groin or rectum or difficulty controlling bladder or bowel function.

  • You have had cancer previously and you develop persistent back pain.

Page 7 of 9     Next Page:  Back Pain Prognosis
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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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