Urgent Care for Back Pain: How a Visit Can Help You Find Relief

Back pain, whether it just started after an injury or has been nagging you for months, can seriously decrease your quality of life. The National Center for Health Statistics estimates that 39% of American adults have experienced back pain in the past three months.

If you’re among them, you might wonder if visiting urgent care for back pain can help you find relief. In this article, we’ll explore some common causes and types of back pain and whether visiting your local urgent care could help you find relief.

Types of Back Pain

The term back pain is rather broad, so it can be helpful to both you and your healthcare provider to clearly describe where yours is located. There are several types of back pain, and you can experience more than one at a time.

Back pain can be classified by both the location of your pain and how long you’ve been experiencing it. Note that various factors can cause different kinds of pain and not all back pain responds to the same type of treatment. Some of the most common types of back pain include:

  • Acute: This is back pain that lasts several hours to several days. It typically occurs after an injury strains the muscles and/or ligaments supporting your spine. Back spasms after an injury can also fall into this category.
  • Subacute: This type of back pain also tends to happen suddenly but can last between a few days and a few weeks. You might experience subacute pain after a more intense muscle strain or injury.
  • Chronic: Back pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks and happens daily is classified as chronic. This is usually due to other conditions like arthritis or a herniated disc, or lifestyle factors like poor posture and obesity.

What Causes Back Pain?

Your back is involved in almost every movement you make and also plays a crucial role in supporting your body’s weight and posture. Sitting, standing, and walking all rely on your spine and the muscles that support it for strength and stability. With this in mind, it’s easy to see why a wide variety of factors can cause back pain.


One of the most common causes of back pain is injuries. Whether you sprain or strain the muscles of your back playing a sport or suffer a fracture in a car accident, pain can occur in many ways. The bones of your spine, the discs between your vertebrae, and the muscles and ligaments that support them can all be injured, which causes pain of different types and at various locations.

Since these injuries can range from minor to very serious, it’s a good idea to seek medical care whenever your back is injured. An urgent care provider can evaluate the cause of your back pain following an injury to determine what treatment is needed.


Inflammation is less common, but chronic back pain often falls into this category. You can experience inflammation in your back from overuse, such as lifting or bending excessively without proper rest. Some conditions, such as ankylosing spondylitis and arthritis, can also cause painful inflammation in the joints of your spine.


Though rare, an infection of your spinal bones or the discs between them can be incredibly painful. You might also experience back pain not related to your spine from an infection in your kidneys or when you have kidney stones.

Poor Posture

Research suggests that over 31 million people in the U.S. have poor posture. Slouching or hunching over during sitting or standing puts increased strain on your back and can lead to chronic pain and discomfort. Fortunately, you can easily correct this by improving your posture. Over time, however, unaddressed poor posture can cause tight muscles that make your back pain even worse.

Lifestyle Factors

Beyond posture, several other lifestyle factors can cause back pain. One of the most common is obesity. Being overweight increases the strain on your back and alters the natural curve of your spine over time. Pregnancy can have the same effect due to carrying increased weight in the front of your body.

Not exercising is another common culprit of back pain. If you find yourself sitting too much, your back may become stiff and sore. Other lifestyle factors that can cause back pain include poor lifting form, smoking, poor sleeping positions, and stress.


Sadly, back pain becomes more common as we get older. This happens partially because the cartilage and discs between your vertebrae become thinner and offer less cushion. Your bones may also become weaker thanks to a condition known as osteoporosis. Lastly, you tend to lose muscle strength and flexibility as you age, which can leave your back feeling stiff and painful. Maintaining good posture, exercising, and avoiding obesity can help mitigate these changes.

What Can Urgent Care Do for Back Pain?

Those experiencing back pain can often find relief by visiting an urgent care. This is a good option if your back pain has been occurring for several weeks or is interfering with your everyday activities or sleep. Likewise, if over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or acetaminophen aren’t helping, a visit to urgent care may help.

Your provider will complete a thorough review of your medical history to determine when your symptoms started and what is causing them. They’ll also perform an exam to assess the function of your back. This may include an x-ray to help determine what’s causing your pain.

From there, your provider can prescribe treatment to help you find relief. They may recommend stretching exercises and/or a prescription for a stronger pain reliever or muscle relaxer. Your urgent care provider can also refer you to a specialist for follow-up care or physical therapy without needing to see your primary care provider.

Visiting urgent care for back pain is often cheaper than a trip to the emergency room. However, if your back is injured and you experience any of the following symptoms, you should go to the ER instead:

  • Difficulty standing or walking
  • Sudden loss of feeling in your legs
  • Inability to control bladder or bowel movements
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Sudden back pain if you have already been diagnosed with osteoporosis

For most other types of back pain, especially subacute and chronic back pain, urgent care can be a worthwhile solution to find relief fast.

Velocity Urgent Care is Here to Help Your Back Pain

If you’re experiencing back pain, Velocity Urgent Care is ready to help. Our friendly providers will work to determine the cause of your back pain and prescribe the best treatment to get you back to feeling your best.

When you need relief, stop in at any of our conveniently located clinics across Virginia or make an appointment with our online registration portal to skip the waiting room. We even offer text message updates so you can wait in the car (if you prefer) until it’s time for your appointment.

We’ve put strict sterilization protocols into place and are carefully handling patients who may be contagious to ensure each of our clinics is safe for those who need urgent medical care or occupational health services.

Velocity Urgent Care is an in-network provider for most major insurance plans, meaning you can be seen for the cost of your co-pay and deductible.

All our locations also accept Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Veterans Administration beneficiaries are also welcome.

To learn more about our services, locations, hours, and more, visit www.velocityuc.com.