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4 Types of Back Pain You Should Never Ignore


Back pain isn’t usually a stressful thing, but there are a few specific circumstances where you might want to, well, watch your back.

According to Neel Anand, professor of orthopedic surgery and director of spinal trauma at Cedars-Sinai Spine Center in Los Angeles, lower back pain is extremely common, affecting approximately 1 in 8 people. The good news is that 80-90% of Lower back pain is harmless and comes and goes, according to Anand.

“It may depress you for a few days or a week, but usually the lower back pain gets better quickly and you can get on with your life,” he said.

When it comes to treating mild back pain, an anti-inflammatory like Advil or aspirin, moderate rest (limiting activities that cause strain on your back – but not complete bed rest) and regularly icing the affected area can help.

But when back pain is more than just a nuisance, getting it checked out by a doctor can make all the difference in preventing a more serious health issue. Here, experts share back pain you shouldn’t expect or completely ignore:

Back pain with loss of bladder control

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Lower back pain is extremely common, affecting around 1 in 8 people.

If you have back pain associated with an inability to regulate your bladder or bowel movements, this is a sign that you need to go to the emergency room.

“It means there is something in the spinal canal, such as a herniated disc or lesion, compressing your nerves to the point of affecting the nerves to the bladder and bowel, creating temporary paralysis,” he said. Anand. “If this nerve is compressed for too long, it can be difficult for it to recover and function normally again.”

Back pain with fever

Taking Advil or aspirin, getting moderate rest, and regularly icing the affected area can help relieve back pain.

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Taking Advil or aspirin, getting moderate rest, and regularly icing the affected area can help relieve back pain.

If you find your back pain flares up with a fever, it could be a sign of something more serious like an infection, said David Anderson, spine surgeon at OrthoCaroline in Monroe, North Carolina.

“It’s extremely rare, and of course people can get a fever for all sorts of reasons, but when it comes to ongoing back pain it can be an epidural abscess. [a collection of pus that can affect the brain or spinal cord],” he said.

Back pain accompanied by leg pain

Radiating pain that can start anywhere from the buttocks to the leg, along with numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs, is a sign that a nerve or collection of nerves is pinched.

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Radiating pain that can start anywhere from the buttocks to the leg, along with numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs, is a sign that a nerve or collection of nerves is pinched.

Radiating pain that can start anywhere from the buttocks to the leg, accompanied by numbness, tingling, or weakness in the legs―like dragging your foot when you walk or having difficulty lifting it―is another sign that a nerve or collection of nerves is pinched, says Anand. This can be caused by a bone spur (small projections that develop along the bony edges), herniated disc (a problem with a rubbery disc between the bones of the spine) or stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal that happens slowly).

And while the stenosis can’t be completely cured, Anderson added that many people with this chronic condition can easily learn what their triggers are and how to manage their symptoms so they become tolerable in everyday life.

Pain in the upper back near the neck

Having your back checked by a doctor can make all the difference in preventing a more serious health issue.

Chad Springer via Getty Images

Having your back checked by a doctor can make all the difference in preventing a more serious health issue.

“A lot of people get upper back pain below their neck and think it’s back pain, but it’s not,” Anand said. “This pain is coming from your neck, and the reason it’s different is because it’s your spinal cord. You actually have a spinal cord running through your neck, which is a direct extension of your brain. .

If you have upper back pain associated with tingling or weakness in your hands, or if you notice that you are walking unsteadily and your gait changes, it could be a sign that something is wrong with you. your spinal cord which needs to be checked by a physicist.

“People may assume that problems such as difficulty with shirt buttons or putting earrings on are common with old age and possibly arthritis, but if it happens in permanently, you need to see a doctor and have a neurological exam,” Anand said. . “If detected early, damage can be prevented, but if the spinal cord is affected, it often does not improve.”




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