At some point, acute back pain affects 85% of adults and is severe enough for them to seek medical attention. Fortunately, in most cases the pain subsides in a few days to a week without requiring major treatment. Typically, activity modification, NSAIDs, and pain medication will have most people back on their feet quickly. If the pain persists for more than a week, a thorough evaluation with a spine specialist is recommended. If your acute back pain is initially debilitating and/or includes radiating pain in one or both legs, you should seek immediate attention from a spine specialist. In these circumstances, be aware that you may also experience associated weakness or numbness. In rare cases, loss of bowel or bladder function may occur with severe back pain. This could indicate a surgical emergency and an MRI should be performed ASAP. If you experience unresolved or recurrent episodes of back pain, you should seek medical attention. Remember, in many cases the result of an evaluation with a spine specialist ends with reassurance that no major problems exist and the emphasis is placed on avoiding the recurrence of symptoms.