As a physiotherapist, I encounter patients seeking clarification on whether their back pain is a cause for concern. While most cases of back pain are not indicative of a serious underlying condition, there are certain types of back pain that warrant attention and may require immediate medical evaluation. In this article, we will discuss the types of back pain that should be taken seriously.
- Back Pain Following Trauma or Injury: If your back pain is a result of a traumatic event, such as a fall, a car accident, or a sports injury, it should be considered serious and evaluated promptly. Trauma to the back can lead to fractures, dislocations, or damage to the spinal cord, which can have significant implications for your overall health and well-being.
- Severe and Sudden Onset of Back Pain: If you experience sudden and severe back pain, especially if it occurs without any apparent cause, it may require immediate medical attention. This type of pain could indicate a serious condition such as a spinal infection, spinal tumor, or aortic aneurysm. Seeking prompt evaluation is crucial to rule out these potentially life-threatening conditions.
- Back Pain Accompanied by Neurological Symptoms: Back pain accompanied by neurological symptoms, such as numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of sensation in the legs, should not be ignored. These symptoms may indicate nerve compression or damage, which can result from conditions like a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or cauda equina syndrome. Cauda equina syndrome is a rare but serious condition that requires immediate medical intervention to prevent permanent neurological damage.
- Back Pain with Bowel or Bladder Dysfunction: If you experience back pain combined with bowel or bladder dysfunction, such as urinary incontinence or difficulty controlling bowel movements, it may indicate cauda equina syndrome. This condition requires urgent medical attention to prevent potential complications.
- Back Pain with Unexplained Weight Loss: If your back pain is accompanied by unexplained weight loss, it may indicate an underlying systemic condition such as cancer or infection. While rare, these conditions can cause back pain and warrant further investigation to determine the cause.
- Back Pain with Fever: If you experience back pain along with fever, it may indicate an infection, such as a spinal infection or kidney infection. Infections can cause localized or systemic symptoms and should be assessed by a healthcare professional.
It is important to note that this article provides general information and not specific medical advice. If you are experiencing any of the serious types of back pain mentioned above, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention from a qualified healthcare professional. They will conduct a thorough evaluation, including a physical examination and potentially imaging tests, to identify the underlying cause and provide appropriate treatment.
Remember, while most cases of back pain are not serious, certain signs and symptoms require prompt evaluation. As a Crawley physiotherapist I specialise in treating back pain related to muscle and joint pain however it’s important to know that back pain can be caused for other reasons. Trust your instincts and seek medical attention if you are concerned about the severity or nature of your back pain.
Note: This article was written with the help of AI technology and therefore may include incorrect information and discrepancies. Always consult with qualified healthcare professionals for personalised advice and treatment.