I started having back pain about a month ago that seems to be getting worse instead of better. How can I tell if there's something seriously wrong with me?
The best way to answer this question is to see a medical doctor for an exam. You may need blood tests and/or X-rays to rule out a serious cause of back pain.
The doctor will also review your medical history, any medications you're taking, and look for signs of a medical problem. You didn't mention your age. The risk of something like cancer, infection, or fracture increase with age. A previous history of cancer is also a red flag.
Sometimes all that's needed is a short course of conservative care like physical therapy. But if you get worse with this type of treatment then the doctor must recheck you.
Michael D. Ross, PT, DHS, OCS, and Edmond Bayer, MPT. Cancer As a Cause of Low Back Pain in a Patient Seen in a Direct Access Physical Therapy Setting. In Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy. Vol. 35. No. 10. Pp. 651-658.
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