July 20, 2022
Back pain is a common problem affecting 8 out of 10 people at some point in their life. It can affect people of all ages and is a common reason for seeking medical assistance. Back pain can arise due to many reasons and accounts for significant suffering & financial loss worldwide. Many people choose to treat their back pain at home with pain relieving medications, heat and ice, or stretching. So, if it’s so prevalent what are the warning signs of something serious which requires medical attention. Some of these are addressed as red flags in medical terminology to warn the clinician of the possibility of serious underlying pathology.
- Persistent or worsening back pain. Back pain often goes away in a few days or weeks but if it is persisting or progressively increasing then its reason to seek medical attention.
- Back pain associated with progressive numbness, tingling, or weakness. This could be a symptom of pinched nerve, slipper disc or narrowing of the space in the spine (slipped disc) and requires medical attention
- Inability to control your bowels or urination (incontinence) Spinal nerve compression can have an impact on one’s ability to control bladder and bowel function, leaving to incontinence. This is a severe symptom and requires immediate medical attention.
- Back pain starting after an accident. If your back pain began after a fall, accident or an injury
- Back pain that is worse at night
- Back pain associated with unexplained weight loss. .
- Back pain with Fever. This could be a sign of infection or ongoing inflammation
- Back pain in extremes of ages (too young or too old patients) or in high risk individuals such as those with severe osteoporosis or prolonged use of steroids or drug abuse history