When Does a Chiropractic Problem Need Immediate Attention?

A common question patients ask about all sorts of medical issues is “When do I need immediate help?” Whether the problem is a cut or a toothache, some medical complaints require urgent attention while others can be delayed until a scheduled appointment. The same goes for chiropractic issues. Here’s a brief guide to when you need immediate care and when it’s fine to put off treatment for a while.

Listen to Your Body

Pain exists for a reason. It’s a signal letting you know that something is wrong. The severity of your pain can be a good sign of the seriousness of your problem. For example, you probably wouldn’t rush to your chiropractor or doctor for a mild headache, but an excruciating migraine might be a different story. If you’re experiencing severe pain, especially in your neck and/or back, it’s best to notify your chiropractor right away.

Another indication that you should call your chiropractor sooner rather than later is pain with dysfunction or movement restriction. Say you lifted some heavy items and had an onset of minor back pain. If you also find that you’re having trouble flexing or extending your spine, you should inform your chiropractor promptly – even if the pain is mild. This is true of other problems as well, such as difficulty moving your neck or numbness and tingling in your arms or legs.

An additional factor to consider is the duration of your pain. Everyone encounters minor aches from time to time, and these problems often disappear on their own. But even small amounts of pain can indicate a problem if they linger. In general, pain that lasts more than two to three days needs to be addressed.

Remember, you should always err on the side of caution. If your symptoms are concerning to you, go ahead and call your chiropractor. They will be able to tell you if you should come in immediately or if the problem can wait until your next scheduled appointment.

Emergency Situations

There are some symptoms heralding emergent problems that require immediate medical care. If you notice these symptoms, do not hesitate to call 911 or have someone drive you to an emergency department right away. Any delay could result in permanent disability.

The first is saddle anesthesia. This is a loss of sensation in the inner thighs, buttocks, and genital area – in other words, the areas of your body that would be in contact with the saddle if you were riding a horse.

The next is a sudden loss of bowel and/or bladder control. Both of these symptoms can indicate a spinal injury that needs immediate medical attention.