Questions to ask your doctor about low back pain

If you have back pain, you are not alone; 85 percent of the population will experience back pain by the time they reach the age of 50. If you are in pain and are not sure what to do about it, talk to your doctor.

Here are the top 10 questions to ask your doctor about your pain:

  1. What is causing my back pain?
  2. What can I do to prevent my back pain from getting worse?
  3. Why is my back vulnerable to pain and injury?
  4. Could stress be a contributing factor, and what can I do about it?
  5. What are all the treatment options?
  6. Is surgery is recommended, why is it necessary and what are the risks?
  7. What are the potential risks and benefits of other available treatments?
  8. What lifestyle changes do I need to make to keep my back healthy?
  9. How can I be sure that my work does not negatively affect my back?
  10. What are the chances that my back pain will result in permanent disability?

Symptoms you shouldn't ignore

While neck and back pain are common, some symptoms call for prompt attention. If you have back pain that has lasted longer than three months, or any of these other symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
  • Pain caused by a serious injury
  • Pain that travels down one or both legs
  • Pain that worsens when you sneeze or cough, or pain that wakes you up at night
  • Pain in your abdomen or changes in your bowel or bladder habits
  • Fever, weight loss or swelling or weakness
If you are experiencing low back pain, you may be eligible to participate in our low back pain program. Contact customer service at 503-574-7500 or 800-878-4445, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to ask about your physical therapy benefits. Then choose a physical therapist from our list of participating providers and call to make an appointment.