As we age, our bodies lose some of the elasticity and flexibility of youth. Suddenly, just sleeping on a bad bed or doing a few hours of gardening can result in mysterious aches and pains. Some aches and pains, however, can be a symptom of something more serious and should not be ignored. Back pain, in particular, should be treated seriously because it can have a wide range of underlying causes. Here are 3 reasons you want to see a doctor about back pain.

Nerve Damage

If you have back pain combined with numbness or tingling, this could be a sign of nerve irritation or damage. Conditions such as a herniated disc or spinal stenosis can cause nerve pressure. If left untreated, these conditions can lead to prolonged nerve irritation which can even result in permanent disability. If you have back pain combined with numbness or a prickly tingling that just won’t go away, it’s time to see a doctor.

Trauma or Accident

If your back pain started after you had some kind of trauma such as a fall or were injured in some type of accident, it could potentially be the result of a fracture. As you age, your bones grow more fragile and brittle, which means they are more prone to fracture. Even a minor vehicle accident or running into something while walking or jogging can cause more damage than you might think. If you are over 50, it’s important to go see a doctor any time you experience back pain following a collision or fall of any kind.


Over time, bones begin to lose density, which is what causes them to become fragile and brittle. This brittleness is often related to a condition called osteoporosis. There are a number of different osteoporosis treatments, but the sooner you begin treatment the more effective the treatment is likely to be. Women, smokers and those who experience low body weight tend to have the highest risks of developing osteoporosis. Certain medications can also strip your body of critical minerals that help prevent osteoporosis. If you have chronic unexplained back pain, it might be a symptom of osteoporosis.

While you may be able to treat a wide variety of chronic pain with over-the-counter medications, it is not always wise that you do. Particularly when it comes to back pain. The spine is the central support structure of the entire body. When it has issues, those issues can quickly spread and cause other problems. You can avoid a wide range of long-term issues by simply getting your back pain checked out to determine the cause.