Back pain is so common that most tend to shrug off symptoms, even those that may indicate a serious medical problem. A review by Neurologic Clinics found that around 80% of U.S. adults will suffer from back pain at some point, so it’s essential to take note of how long your pain lasts and pay attention to the severity and types of symptoms.
If you have back pain, these signs are a red flag indicating it may be more serious than you think.
You’re Experiencing Numbness and/or Tingling
If you have a complete loss of feeling, or a “pins and needles” kind of sensation, that often indicates there is a problem with the nerves in the affected area of the back or neck. It can be caused by anything from a herniated disc to spinal stenosis or sciatica. All require a visit to a healthcare professional as the prolonged irritation of nerves may lead to permanent damage and even disability over the long term.
If you’re experiencing dizziness and are finding it difficult to maintain your balance, perhaps even running into door frames, falling backward or forward for no explainable reason, that can be cause for concern as it may indicate a serious condition like a brain hemorrhage or stroke. Pay attention to symptoms like slurred speech and double vision too as those can also be signs of similar severe issues.
If you have trouble standing for long periods that can indicate a problem. When the facet joints of the vertebrae and disks become inflamed that can result in lower back pain when standing. You might try lower back disk pain exercises to see if they help. If not, it may be time to call your doctor.
Bowel or Bladder Issues
Back pain combined with bowel or bladder issues is serious, which means you need to seek medical attention. If your pain is significantly relieved after a bowel movement or you’re experiencing a loss of control, it’s time to make an appointment. If you’re constipated and have dull back pain, odds are the two are correlated as there could be a back up of stool causing the discomfort. If you find blood in your stool or develop a fever, see your doctor as soon as possible.
Certain conditions can also result in incontinence due to the compression of nerves in the spine which travels to the organs, affecting those that control the bladder.
Motor Function Loss
If you’re feeling as if you’ve lost control over motor function in one of both of your legs and also experiencing back pain, the sciatic nerve may be damaged or you may have some paralysis of muscles in your lower leg. Sciatica can show up as pain with weakness, burning, and/or numbness.
You’ve Been in a Traumatic Accident
If you have any kind of back pain following a traumatic accident like a fall, assault, or car crash, it’s a must to visit a healthcare professional as those incidents can cause damage to the spine, from vertebral fractures to lacerations of the spinal cord. Even if you can easily walk right after it happened, there can be damage that results in serious problems later on.