The majority of people who develop pain confined to the spine usually improve and get back to normal activities without recourse to surgery. If pain is severe and persists beyond a few days, or if you are worried or feel unwell in other ways, it is important that you consult your GP so that an accurate diagnosis can be made and serious illnesses ruled out.
Conservative treatments such as rest, physiotherapy and analgesia will usually be prescribed. If your spinal pain persists beyond two months further investigations (such as MRI) and referral to a specialist is indicated.
It is important to make a distinction between spinal pain only and spinal pain that also radiates into a limb.
Patients suffering severe ‘nerve’ pains radiating from the spine into the arms or legs, especially those with impaired sensation or weakness in a limb, should seek medical advice without delay.
In the rare circumstance where bladder or bowel function is impaired an emergency referral is indicated.