Back pain typically isn’t something to stress about ― but there are a few specific circumstances in which you might want to, well, watch your back.
Lower back pain is extremely common, affecting approximately 1 in 8 people, according to Neel Anand, a professor of orthopedic surgery and director of spine trauma at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles. The good news is that 80-90 percent of lower back pain is innocuous and comes and goes, according to Anand.
“It can bring you down for a few days or a week, but generally, low back pain gets better quickly and you can get on with your life,” he said.
When it comes to treating mild back pain, an anti-inflammatory such as Advil or aspirin, moderated rest (limiting activities that cause strain on your back — but not complete bed rest) and regularly icing the affected area can help.
But when back pain is more than just a nuisance, getting it checked by a doctor can make all the difference in preventing a more serious health issue. Here, experts share the back pains you shouldn’t wait out or completely ignore: