Almost everyone has felt back pain symptoms at some point in their lifetime, but how do you know which of those symptoms are serious enough to call for medical attention? Many people opt for the path of least resistance and do nothing - but if you do have something wrong with your back, that could be a serious mistake.
Many back pain issues will simply fade away of their own accord, but others are more serious and require prompt examination by a qualified medical professional. Read on to find out which symptoms associated with back pain are serious enough that you should consult with your chiropractor or your family doctor.
Common back pain causes
Some of the most common causes for back pain are ligament sprains or muscle strains, but these are certainly not the only culprits. People who are obese or who have bad posture will exert tremendous strain on their backs and trigger pain or discomfort. As you age, there will be changes which take place in your spinal column, for instance arthritis, and that can also cause significant pain to an individual.
Some of the more serious sources of back pain can be fractured vertebrae or ruptured discs, and these will definitely require medical attention. Here are some of the other common causes of back pain:
- stenosis, which is a narrowing of the space along nerve passages and the spinal column
- osteoporosis which is a disease that weakens the bones of the vertebrae
- herniated discs which occur when a spinal disc slips out of place
- ankylosing spondylitis which is arthritis situated in the spine
- scoliosis which is a spinal curvature
- osteomyelitis, a fairly common infection of the bones
- sciatica, or pain which travels along the pathway of the sciatic nerve.
When you should see a doctor
You should always see a doctor when you are experiencing pain which is so intense that it interrupts your sleep, or prevents you from sleeping altogether. You should also have a doctor check your back out when it prevents you from performing your normal activities. In cases where you're experiencing significant pain which is either constant or severe, and it lasts more than two weeks, you should have your back checked out by a medical professional. You should also seek medical attention if any of the following situations occurs to you:
- an infection or a fracture which could potentially affect your spine
- if you are diagnosed with some form of cancer
- constant intense pain, even when you lie down at night and try to go to sleep
- numbness, weakness, or tingling which you feel in the extremities, especially in the arms and legs
- a rapid unexplained weight loss
- severe pain which seems to spread all the way down your leg, and travels below the knee
- redness or swelling which appears on your back and has no obvious cause.
Obviously, if you're involved in a motor vehicle accident or some other traumatic injury, you'd be well advised to contact your doctor or chiropractor and have your back checked out. It happens fairly often that problems with the back don't immediately make themselves felt in the aftermath of an accident, but do show up a week or two later. Likewise, if you've had a bad fall and sustained any kind of injury from it, you should consult a medical professional. Anyone who was involved in contact sports, and sustained an injury that causes bladder problems or bowel problems, should also seek medical attention to determine whether any back injury has been sustained.
About the author:
Dr. Eric Brown is a Salt Lake City Chiropractor with advanced certification in Chiropractic BioPhysics, located at Creekside Chiropractic. Dr. Brown specializes in non-surgical spine correction and back rehabilitation with a specialization in spine deformities and scoliosis back bracing. To learn more about Creekside Chiropractic treatment options visit: https://creeksidechiro.net/