Back Pain in Older Adults : When to Consult a Doctor

Back pain is common in seniors. Here are some clues to decide if it might be serious. If you fit into these categories, make an appointment to see your doctor:

  • You are more than 50 years old
  • Pain has lasted more than 6 weeks
  • Recent injury – even a minor injury can cause a fracture in the older adult
  • You have or did have cancer
  • You are having fever, chills, night sweats, unexplained weight loss
  • Your pain radiates below the knee
  • You have developed incontinence
  • You are immunocompromised
  • Night pain
  • Unrelenting pain, even when lying down
  • Loss of sensation in the pelvis or legs
  • Weakness in the legs that is getting worse
  • IV drug use
  • Recent GI or GU procedure
  • Be sure not to ignore these signs. Self care is an important tool to help you live a pain free and happy life.

  • Danwil Reyes says:

    I appreciate your perspectives on the subject.

  • That’s good info to know. I fit into more than one of those categories, so I will be giving this some thought.

  • I am WAY over 50 and while I have back pain I know it’s caused from spinal stenosis. I exercise to keep as fit as I can but I know when it’s time to visit the spine center too. Thanks for the great article!

  • I appreciate that this article provides helpful information on when to see a doctor about back pain. It is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms that could indicate a serious problem. I have occasional back pain that flares up on occasion, and using ice as soon as it flares up helps a lot. Thanks for these tips!

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