I hurt my back in summer softball. Coach and trainer said it didn’t look like anything major. A week has passed and it’s not any better. Medicine and rest haven’t helped. Money is tight but how do I know if I should go to the doctor?

Thanks for your question. During sports people may experience different types of injury, including muscle sprains and strains. Most of them are mild and recover with rest, time, and pain medicine (such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen).

You should consider seeing a health care provider if:

  • The pain is not getting better after a week or two
  • The pain keeps you from doing regular things, such as walking
  • The pain is getting worse

It can be expensive to see a health care provider, so you can try talking to your trainer again. Athletic trainers can also be super helpful in treating the area with stretches, ice/heat, TENS unit, etc. You can also check with your health care provider’s office to see if they can offer any financial support.

You should see a health care provider right away if:

  • You have any numbness or tingling in your back, arms, or legs
  • You notice your back, arms, or legs feel weak
  • You have incontinence (meaning you are having accidents with urinating or stooling)​