woman with back pain

While many people suffer from minor aches and pains in their back, severe back pain may indicate a larger problem. At what point does your upper back pain or lower back pain, or that of a loved one, reach the point where you should seek emergency care? 

In short: You should visit a Denver ER near you if you feel that your condition is severe enough that it can’t wait for a visit to your primary care physician. If you are not certain, use the following guidelines to decide if your back pain requires emergency care. 

Certain medical conditions accompanied by back pain may require an ER visit

For individuals with the following medical conditions, back pain may indicate a more serious issue. If you are experiencing severe or chronic lower back pain and have any of these medical conditions, you should visit an emergency department: 

  • History of cancer
  • Recent immunosuppression, either from surgery or prescribed drugs
  • Any recent injury or trauma, especially in the elderly
  • Prolonged steroid use
  • Intravenous drug use
  • Any recent injury or trauma (especially in elderly sufferers) 

These symptoms may necessitate emergency care

Upper back pain and middle back pain, in many cases, will heal with time and rest. Lower back pain, anywhere from your rib cage to your buttocks, can often result from stretching, reaching, lifting or twisting. If your back pain is unrelenting and not helped by rest, or if the pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, you should immediately seek emergency care: 

  • Fever
  • Sudden numbness or weakness
  • Loss of a neurologic function (confusion, slurred speech or inability to speak, loss of vision)
  • Bladder or bowel incontinence 

Exceptional ER care at a Denver ER near you

Among Denver hospitals, Rose Medical Center provides exceptional back pain treatment resources. A Level IV trauma center, Rose Medical Center holds special accreditation for the treatment of suspected stroke, orthopedic injuries and abdominal and chest pain. In addition, a full-time group of dedicated OB hospitalists ensures comprehensive treatment for pregnancy-related issues. Rose Medical Center’s Denver emergency room strives to beat the national average wait time, ensuring quick access to high-quality emergency medical care.