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How To Know If Lower Back Pain Is Serious

Which Lifestyle Factors Contribute To Lower Back Pain

How To Know If Your Lower Back Pain Is Serious?- Ask A Physio

There are three major lifestyle factors that may affect your chances of developing lower back pain:

  • Multiple studies have established a link between smoking and lower back pain. Smoking raises inflammation inside the body and hinders the body from healing itself.
  • Obesity is also associated with several types of chronic pain, including lower back pain. In people with high body mass index , the stress on the spine increases, contributing to even more wear and tear.
  • Your level of physical activity can also play a role in your lower back health. While a sedentary lifestyle could increase your risk of developing lower back pain, so can excessive or strenuous physical activity. Check with your doctor if you are unsure about your ideal level of physical activity.

Acupuncture How To Know If Lower Back Pain Is Serious

This ancient Chinese recovery technique might bring relief for individuals with chronic low back pain. Gently positioning thin, dry needles into your skin at particular points may activate the release of endorphins, your bodys natural medicines, or it may transform your brain chemistry so you have a higher discomfort tolerance. You must use it in addition to other therapies.

Back Pain And Pregnancy

Back pain during each trimester of your pregnancy can be common, and several causes are to blame. However, you should be sure to talk with your doctor about what youre experiencing, in case the pain may be part of a bigger problem.

Here are a few reasons why you may be experiencing back pain during pregnancy:

Shifting center of gravity

As your baby grows, the center of your bodys gravity moves outward. Your spine and back arch to make up for the change in balance. This put extra stress on the lower lumbar spine.

Weight gain

Weight gain can be a healthy part of pregnancy, but even the little bit youre likely to gain during those 9 months can put more stress on your back and core muscles.


As your body prepares to deliver the baby, it releases hormones that loosen the ligaments that stabilize your pelvis and lumbar spine. These same hormones can cause the bones in your spine to shift, which may lead to discomfort and pain.

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The Tricky One: Cancer As A Cause Of Low Back Pain And The Necessity Of Testing Just In Case When The Symptoms Justify It

Sorry I have to use the C word I know its kind of a bummer. But C happens.

A few cancers in their early stages can be hard to tell apart from ordinary back pain a bone cancer in the vertebrae, for instance and these create a frustrating diagnostic problem. They are too rare for doctors to inflict cancer testing on every low back pain patient just in case. And yet the possibility cannot be dismissed, either! This is an unsolveable problem.

Most cancers and ominous problems will inevitably start to cause other, distinctive, ominous symptoms, and it wont be long before someone catches on that theres more going on than just back pain. So it truly is an extraordinary circumstance for back pain to be ominous without causing other symptoms that raise the alarm.

For example, in 2017, the New England Journal of Medicine reported on a creepy case of slowly growing neurological deficit caused by a very stealthy cancer, which took a lot of diagnostic effort to solve.25shudder So sneaky cancers happen but they are crazy rare.

This is an unholy combination of factors: the exact same symptoms can have either an extremely rare but serious cause, or an extremely common but harmless cause that can be greatly aggravated by excessive alarm!

My favourite epitaph: I told you I was sick!

What Are The Causes Of Lower Back Pain

How Do You Know If Your Low Back Injury Is Serious?

The vast majority of patients experience back pain because of mechanical reasons. They strain a muscle from heavy lifting or twisting, suffer a sudden jolt in a car accident, experience stress on spinal bones and tissues resulting in a , or suffer from osteoarthritis, a potentially painful degeneration of one or more spinal joints. Common causes for low back pain are:

  • mechanical or functional injury
  • inflammation
  • active infection
  • neoplasms
  • referred pain

To choose the safest and most effective therapy, doctors need to consider the full spectrum of possible underlying issues, such as inflammatory conditions, fracture, infection, as well as some serious conditions unrelated to the back that radiate pain to the back.

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Two Back Pain Situations You Should Take Seriously Right Away No Delay

These two back pain scenarios might be medical emergencies. They do not necessarily mean something horrible is wrong, but its important to make sure.

  • Pain and weakness in both legs, especially if its also hard to pee. More about this below.
  • Any accident with forces that may have been sufficient to fracture your spine. Please seek thorough medical assessment promptly, including an X-ray to look for a fracture. You really do need an X-ray to ensure that your spine is not actually broken. They arent necessarily as obvious as youd think!12
  • Isnt it rather obvious that a potential spinal fracture is an emergency?

    Youd think so. But consider this story of a motorcycle accident: many years ago, a friend hit a car that had pulled out from a side street. He flew over the car & landed on his head. Bystanders showed their ignorance of spinal fracture by, yikes, carelessly moving him. In fact, his thoracic spine was significantly fractured yet the hospital actually refused to do an X-ray because he had no obvious symptoms of a spinal fracture. Incredible! The next day, a horrified orthopedic surgeon ordered an X-ray immediately, confirming the fracture & quite possibly saved him from paralysis.

    Pain + weakness in both legs as symptoms of cauda equina syndrome or not

    That said, obviously you should be checked out if you are experiencing true saddle numbness.17 Even if its not CES, any significant malfunction of your plumbing should be taken seriously.

    Acupuncture How To Know If Your Lower Back Pain Is Serious

    This old Chinese healing method may bring alleviation for people with chronic low back pain. Carefully putting thin, dry needles right into your skin at particular factors might trigger the release of endorphins, your bodys natural medicines, or it may transform your brain chemistry so you have a higher pain resistance. You ought to utilize it along with various other therapies.

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    Symptoms Of Low Back Pain

    These might range from a dull ache to a stabbing or shooting sensation. The pain may make it hard to move or stand up straight. Pain that comes on suddenly is âacute.â It might happen during sports or heavy lifting. Pain that lasts more than 3 months is considered âchronic.â If your pain is not better within 72 hours, you should consult a doctor.

    Medication From The Store How To Know If Your Lower Back Pain Is Serious

    Low Back Pain – How to Know if My Back Pain Serious

    There are 2 type of over the counter pain relievers that frequently aid with back pain: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and also acetaminophen. Both have some side effects, and some people might not have the ability to take them. Speak with your doctor before taking pain relievers As well as dont expect medicine alone to address your discomfort issue. Research studies show youll possibly require greater than one kind of treatment.

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    When Are Diagnostic Tests For Lower Back Pain Necessary

    Many patients do not need X-rays in the first few weeks of pain because their pain will end up resolving. Many more do not need CT scans or MRI imaging, which are overly sensitive and often reveal abnormalities not related to the patients pain. These forms of imaging can be extremely useful, however, if a person has chronic or severe pain, and/or neurological symptoms. Blood tests may be ordered if an infection or tumor is suspected.

    Diagnosis And Treatment Of Acute Low Back Pain

    BRIAN A. CASAZZA, MD, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina

    Am Fam Physician. 2012 Feb 15 85:343-350.

    Patient information: Handouts on this topic are available at and .

    Most persons will experience acute low back pain during their lifetime. The first episode usually occurs between 20 and 40 years of age. For many, acute low back pain is the first reason to seek medical care as an adult. Pain can be moderate to severe and debilitating, causing anxiety. Many cases are self-limited and resolve with little intervention. However, 31 percent of persons with low back pain will not fully recover within six months,1 although most will improve. Recurrent back pain occurs in 25 to 62 percent of patients within one to two years, with up to 33 percent having moderate pain and 15 percent having severe pain.24


    Red flags are common in patients with acute low back pain and do not necessarily indicate serious pathology therefore, physicians should rely on a comprehensive clinical approach to evaluating red flags in these patients.


    Differential Diagnosis of Acute Low Back Pain

    Intrinsic spine

    Information from references 5 and 6.

    Differential Diagnosis of Acute Low Back Pain

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    Restore Muscle Balance & Strength

    In order to restore the muscle strength and balance after a back sprain or strain and be ready to perform the heavy deadlifts again, you need to go through some rehabilitative exercise routine.

    Here are few exercises that would help you get your strength back, restore the muscle balance, and also improve your form.

    90/90 Pelvic Tilt

    All variants of pelvic tilts are helpful in strengthening the core, reduce the severe low back pain after deadlifts, and strengthen the lower back. The 90/90 pelvic tilt in particular is helpful in lower back pain after deadlift due to hyperextended lumbar spine.

    To perform 90/90 pelvic stabilization tilt, you need a bench or a knee-high chair. Lie on your back and put your feet on the bench in such a way that your knees are at 90-degree angle and your hips are also bent at 90 degree. Tighten your glutes and tilt your pelvis forward to lift the hips up. Then go to the starting position in a controlled motion. 4-5 sets of 15-20 reps would do the trick.

    Assisted Hip Airplane

    The hip airplane is a good exercise for muscle balance and control. Till you get the strength, balance, and control to perform the hip airplane you can perform the assisted hip airplane.

    Bird Dog Exercise

    It is a kind of physical therapy that engages both your core and lower back muscles at the same time. It is a safe exercise to perform during the recovery, and it helps you get rid of that lower back pain.

    Side Planks

    Cat-Cow Pose

    Knee-to-chest Stretches

    Banded Bridge

    Treatment Of Nonspecific Pain

    Back Pain Relief

    Approach to the Treatment of Nonspecific Acute Low Back Pain

    First visit

    Patient education

    Reassure the patient that the prognosis is often good, with most cases resolving with little intervention

    Advise the patient to stay active, avoiding bed rest as much as possible, and to return to normal activities as soon as possible

    Advise the patient to avoid twisting and bending

    Initiate trial of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or acetaminophen

    Consider a muscle relaxant based on pain severity

    Consider a short course of opioid therapy if pain is severe

    Consider referral for physical therapy if it is not the first episode

    Second visit*

    Consider changing to a different nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug

    Consider referral for physical therapy if not done at initial visit

    Consider referral to a spine subspecialist if pain is severe or limits function

    *Two to four weeks after the initial visit, if the patient has not significantly improved.

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    More Advanced Care Options

    Surgery When other therapies fail, surgery may be considered to relieve pain caused by worsening nerve damage, serious musculoskeletal injuries, or nerve compression. Specific surgeries are selected for specific conditions/indications. However, surgery is not always successful. It may be months following surgery before the person is fully healed and there may be permanent loss of flexibility. Surgical options include:

    Implanted nerve stimulators

    • Spinal cord stimulation uses low-voltage electrical impulses from a small implanted device that is connected to a wire that runs along the spinal cord. The impulses are designed to block pain signals that are normally sent to the brain.
    • Dorsal root ganglion stimulation also involves electrical signals sent along a wire connected to a small device that is implanted into the lower back. It specifically targets the nerve fibers that transmit pain signals. The impulses are designed to replace pain signals with a less painful numbing or tingling sensation.
    • Peripheral nerve stimulation also uses a small implanted device and an electrode to generate and send electrical pulses that create a tingling sensation to provide pain relief.

    Where Can I Get More Information

    For more information on neurological disorders or research programs funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, contact the Institute’s Brain Resources and Information Network at:

    Office of Communications and Public LiaisonNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and StrokeNational Institutes of HealthBethesda, MD 20892

    NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient’s medical history.

    All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

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    Severity Of The Symptoms

    The severity of your symptoms is one factor you should consider when determining if your LBP is serious. However, symptom severity can sometimes be misleading. For instance, a strained lower back muscle may produce severe pain for the first few days until the tissue irritation and swelling subsides. On the other hand, LBP from degenerative disc disease can result in dull aches that slowly become more distracting over time.

    Achieve A Healthy Weight

    How do I know if my back pain is serious | lower back Pain

    More than 70 percent of people in the U.S. are overweight and nearly 40 percent are considered obese. Carrying extra weight can significantly strain your back muscles and spine.

    Losing weight can be difficult however, doing so can help control your back pain, prevent the condition from getting worse, and even potentially eliminate the need for pain medication or surgery. If you need help losing weight, request an appointment.

    “There are many alternative treatments for back pain, many of which are easy to do at home and affordable, with no doctors prescription necessary.”

    Carlos Bagley, M.D.

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    A Weakness Of The Legs

    If, after lifting something heavy, you feel that discomfort accompanied by weakness or numbness of the legs, you could have a herniated disc. Herniated discs, also commonly referred to as slipped discs or a slipped disc can lead to severe complications if left untreated.

    The discomfort of the upper back and neck and weakness of the legs also links to arthritis.

    You’ve Been In Pain For Over A Week

    Most back pain will subside after a few days, but if you’ve been experiencing pain for over a week, then it’s time to call a doctor. Your doctor will perform any examinations or tests required to help get to the bottom of your pain before it could become a bigger problem. As is the case with many health conditions, prevention and addressing problems early is key.

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    How Common Is Lower Back Pain

    Around four out of five people have lower back pain at some point in their lives. Its one of the most common reasons people visit healthcare providers.

    Some people are more likely to have lower back pain than others. Risk factors for lower back pain include:

    • Age: People over 30 have more back pain. Disks wear away with age. As the disks weaken and wear down, pain and stiffness can result.
    • Weight: People who are obese or carry extra weight are more likely to have back pain. Excess weight puts pressure on joints and disks.
    • Overall health: Weakened abdominal muscles cant support the spine, which can lead to back strains and sprains. People who smoke, drink alcohol excessively or live a sedentary lifestyle have a higher risk of back pain.
    • Occupation and lifestyle: Jobs and activities that require heavy lifting or bending can increase the risk of a back injury.
    • Structural problems: Severe back pain can result from conditions, such as scoliosis, that change spine alignment.
    • Disease: People who have a family history of osteoarthritis, certain types of cancer and other disease have a higher risk of low back pain.
    • Mental health: Back pain can result from depression and anxiety.

    What Is The Outlook For People With Lower Back Pain

    When Should I Take Back Pain Seriously?

    The outlook depends on the cause of pain. Most people with back strains and sprains recover and do not have long-term health issues. But many people will have another episode within a year.

    Some people have chronic back pain that doesnt get better after several weeks. Older people with degenerative conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis may have symptoms that get worse over time. Surgery and other treatments are effective at helping people with a range of injuries and conditions live pain-free.

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