How to Know If Your Back Pain is Extremely SeriousSEMGeeks
Back pain is one of the most common medical problems, affecting 80 percent of people at some point in their lives. Some back pain is dull and constant, lasting more than three months. Other back pain is sudden and sharp, yet gets better in a couple of weeks.
While back pain is generally not serious, there are times when it can be. In these cases, you’ll need to be checked by a doctor and given a personalized treatment plan. Here are some ways to tell if your back pain needs medical attention.
Pain Lasting More Than One Week
Most back pain gets better on its own. If you’ve been experiencing back pain for more than one week, it’s time to call a back pain specialist. Your doctor will perform a variety of tests to determine where your pain is coming from, and if it’s part of a bigger problem. A back pain doctor can also rule out serious complications like a kidney infection.
Pain Extends to Other Body Parts
If you’re experiencing pain in other parts of your body, you should see your doctor. For example, pain radiating down your leg could be a sign of sciatica, a form of pain that affects the sciatic nerve. Pain radiating from the neck down to the arm can indicate a herniated disc. Sprains, strains and fractured vertebrae can also cause pain in other areas of the body.
Numbness, Tingling or Weakness
Back pain accompanied by numbness, tingling or weakness could be a sign that your nerves are damaged or irritated. A good way to tell if you’re dealing with nerve pain is if you don’t react to over-the-counter pain medications. If this is the case, you should see a pain management specialist for nerve pain. This pain can be serious and result in permanent damage or disability.
Pain Following an Accident
If you were involved in a recent accident and are now experiencing back pain, schedule an appointment with your doctor. You may have suffered a more serious injury, such as a compression fracture, that needs to be treated. Until this underlying problem is addressed, you may continue to experience back pain.
Losing control of your bowels or urine is not a normal part of back pain. This could signal a serious nerve compression or spine infection, such as meningitis. Difficulty controlling your bladder or bowels can also mean that you have cauda equina syndrome, which is where the nerves in the lower spine become paralyzed. This rare disorder is usually a medical emergency.
Worsening Pain in Certain Situations
Even though it’s normal for back pain to feel worse at certain times, you’ll want to see your doctor if the pain is worse in specific positions, such as when lying down. While all this could mean is that you need a new pillow or mattress, it’s also possible that you have something systemic going on.
Jersey Rehab can help you take control of your back pain. Our doctors can identify the root cause of your pain and the best treatment options. Schedule an appointment at one of our two locations to learn more about your options for healing back pain.