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How To Know If Your Lower Back Pain Is Serious

Treatment Options For Lower Back Pain

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

If you see a physiotherapist or GP for lower back pain, they will probably encourage you to try the self-help measures outlined above first. They can also advise you on what exercises you can do to help your back, or may refer you to a group exercise programme. But if your pain doesnt improve, they may be able to recommend other options you can try. They can also refer you to a specialist if necessary.

Concerned About Your Back Pain Symptoms We Can Help

Most back pain goes away on its own. But if your back pain has been lingering for more than two weeks without improvement, its been coming and going for some time, or if youre experiencing any alarming symptoms, dont delay the care you need. After all, its much easier to take care of yourself when you can move without pain.

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Not ready for an intensive physical therapy program? Start with physical therapy.

What Is Back Pain

Back pain refers to pain that you may feel in your back or spine. It is a very common problem: 1 in 6 Australians report having back problems, and 4 out of 5 experience it sometime in their life. While both men and women report that they experience back problems, it is more commonly reported by people 25 years and older.

Back pain can be grouped into different categories. Lower back pain refers to pain felt in the lower part of the spine . Back problems can also affect the upper back , the neck as well as the tailbone .

People experience back pain in different ways. Some people say it feels like a sharp pain other people report aches or spasms. You may feel stiff, or find it hard to turn or bend in certain directions. In some cases, such as sciatica, pain can travel down one or both your legs.

Back pain can impact you physically and mentally. People suffering from back pain may feel irritable or short-tempered. They may worry about whether the pain will control their life and may experience feelings of helplessness.

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When Should I See My Doctor

Apart from the signs of a serious back injury, you should see your doctor if:

  • your problems have not improved at all within a few days
  • your problems have not improved completely within 6 weeks

Your doctor may be able to help you manage any pain and may refer you for physiotherapy or other investigations.

What’s The Success Rate Of Surgery For Low Back Pain

Low Back Strain

Answer: It is difficult to determine the success rate of surgery for low back pain because there are many different types of surgeries that can be performed on the spine.

Some of these surgeries have a higher success rate than others. It is also difficult to put a percentage on this because not every individual who has low back surgery is guaranteed a successful outcome.

The overall success rate of surgery for acute low back pain may vary depending on the type of operation, the specific procedure being performed, and what type of condition needs to be addressed.

Surgery is not the only option for treating low back pain. If you’re experiencing back pain, it’s important to see your physical therapy doctor find out what the cause may be and how best to treat it.

Other treatments such as heat, cold, stretching, medication, or new goals can provide temporary relief from back pain rather than resorting to surgery.

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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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Persistent Low Back Pain

Nonspecific low back pain is classed as chronic if it lasts for longer than six weeks. In some people it lasts for months, or even years. Symptoms may be constant. However, the more usual pattern is one in which symptoms follow an irregular course. That is, reasonably long periods of mild or moderate pain may be interrupted by bouts of more severe pain.

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When To Go To The Doctor

You cant always assume the discomfort is no big deal. If pain lingers for more than a few days or requires regular pain medications you should be evaluated by your physician, says assistant professor of orthopaedic surgery and physical medicine and rehabilitation, Dr Leda Ghannad. Another sign: if the pain limits your abilities in your day-to-day life, like you have to call off work to stay in bed.

How Are Back Injuries Treated

Severe Low Back Pain, Sacroiliac Pain, Sciatica First Time Adjustment

Your doctor will examine you to check whether the nerves from your spinal cord are working properly. Make sure you tell them if you have any problems with going to the toilet.

Most minor back injuries get better by themselves within 6 weeks. Usually you will not need any other tests or treatment. The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists recommends that an x-ray for low back pain is only needed if you have other significant symptoms such as problems with bladder and bowel control, severe pain or weakness or numbness in one or both legs. For further information, visit the Choosing Wisely Australia website.

The most important thing you can do is to continue to stay active. A common myth is that bed rest will cure back pain. In fact, bed rest slows down the recovery period and can add to your pain.

Simple pain relief, such as paracetamol or anti-inflammatories, may help. You can talk to your doctor or pharmacist, or call healthdirect for advice on 1800 022 222.

You can help ease injuries to your back by:

  • using cold compresses for 20 minutes at a time every 3 to 4 hours for the first day these will ease pain and swelling
  • using warmth after the first day showers, baths or hot moist towels can help ease pain and help recovery
  • avoiding activities involving bending, lifting and twisting until you feel better

Depending on your job, you may need time off work to allow your back to heal.

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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.

What Can I Do For Low Back Pain At Home

If your lower back pain has just started, the best thing you can do is start a log. Record your symptoms, times, dates and which activities trigger the pain or make it worse or better. Take this information to your family physician if the pain doesnt resolve on its own. It will make diagnosing the cause much easier.

Once you know which motion or position causes your lower back pain, try to avoid it and see if you get better. Icing the painful spot can also help. And so can over-the-counter pain relievers that help reduce inflammation. Just remember that pain killers treat only the symptom pain and not its cause.

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What Are The Causes Of Back Pain

A muscle strain or pulled muscle is a common cause of back pain and happens when you injure the tendon or ligaments by overusing or misusing your back muscles.

Anyone can pull a muscle. Factors that can contribute to the problem include:

  • Lack of exercise or not warming up before exercising
  • Excess body weight
  • Sitting for long periods of time

Certain health conditions can also cause back pain, including:

  • A herniated disc that may be pressing on nerves
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Infections and cancer, in rare cases

Signs Of Something Serious

Pin on Back Pain

So, can back or neck pain be a sign of something serious? An expert helps us navigate the waters.

While back pain is very common and usually benign and self-limiting, there are some signs and symptoms which could indicate a more serious medical condition requiring further evaluation and treatment, says , Medical Director of the University of Missouri Health Cares Comprehensive Spine Center.

According to Dr. Drymalski these red flags can include:

  • Persistent fevers

  • Progressive worsening of pain despite relative rest

Some symptoms can come on suddenly while others can ramp up gradually. There are several conditions that can bring on these so-called red flags.

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Leg Pain And Weakness

Pain that originates in the lower back and travels down the legs also known as sciatica may signal a serious problem. Kelley says culprits may include a herniated disk or spinal stenosis. Both conditions cause the space around the spinal nerves to narrow, which may result in nerve pain and irritation.

Like back pain, pain through the back of your legs may be dull or severe and can come in quick bursts, worsened by coughing or sneezing. Discomfort caused by a herniated disk typically travels down one side of the body. Pain from spinal stenosis typically affects both legs, sometimes in their entirety.

Like back pain, pain through the back of your legs may be dull or severe and can come in quick bursts, worsened by coughing or sneezing. Discomfort caused by a herniated disk typically travels down one side of the body. Pain from spinal stenosis typically affects both legs, sometimes in their entirety. Most pain caused by sciatica or a herniated disk will improve within six to eight weeks without surgery. But if pain in the arms or legs lasts longer than a week, becomes severe or is accompanied by muscle weakness or difficulty controlling your bowels or bladder, seek immediate medical attention.

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What Does It Mean If Lower Back Pain Is Shooting Into Legs

Lower back pain can radiate to other parts of the body: up or down from its place of origin. Sometimes lower back pain can be on one side of the back, which is also normal.

If the pain is shooting from the lower back into one or both legs, it could be sciatica , but its not always the case. There are many parts in the lower back that may cause the pain to radiate into the legs, such as facet joints, sacroiliac joints, muscles or inflammation of the bursa.

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What Causes Lower Back Pain During Running

Low back problems can include aching lower back muscles, tightness in the lower back and pain upon trunk bending or twisting. Discomfort can occur before, during and after a run. Lower back pain is often the cause or result of a number of problems, such as muscle tightness, muscle imbalance or improper running technique.

How can running cause lower back pain?

If you have existing back problems, running can make them worse. If you run when you have degenerative disk disease, you are more likely to develop severe lower back pain. Running with pre-existing conditions may cause inflammation in the back muscles and lead to pinched nerves or other back injuries.

Fractures And Lower Back Pain

Severe Lower Back Pain Gone After 1 Adjustment At Advanced Chiropractic Relief

are often very difficult pain problems and indicate the possible presence of . In patients with severe osteoporosis, spinal fractures can occur with no early warning and no significant trauma the patient does not have to fall to fracture a vertebrae.

Patients with spinal compression fractures experience spasms and, often, very high pain levels.

In patients with low back pain where the cause is difficult to determine, especially for elderly patients with osteoporosis, a fracture in the sacrum may be the cause of the pain. A standard X-ray or bone scan may not show a sacral fracture. Imaging techniques such as CT scan or MRI can often reveal these fractures.

It is very important that patients with acute lumbar compression fractures be tested for osteoporosis. A bone density study is needed, unless the patient has no other osteoporosis risk factors and has had a very high impact fracture. Studies have shown that many patients with fractures in the U.S. are discharged from hospitals with no plans for management of their bone density problems, which then are left to worsen.

Although pain can be very intense, it is best for patients with lumbar fracture to resume activity as soon as possible. This is especially true for elderly patients, who can too easily become weakened, and develop other complications, if mobility is reduced for too long. may be needed for pain control, for as brief a period as possible.

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Can I Prevent Lower Back Pain

You cant prevent lower back pain that results from disease or structural problems in the spine. But you can avoid injuries that cause back pain.

To reduce your risk of a back injury, you should:

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight puts pressure on vertebrae and disks.
  • Strengthen your abdominal muscles: Pilates and other exercise programs strengthen core muscles that support the spine.
  • Lift the right way: To avoid injuries, lift with your legs . Hold heavy items close to your body. Try not to twist your torso while youre lifting.

Lower Back Pain And Cancer

Cancer involving the lumbar spine is not a common cause of back pain. However, in people who have a prior history of cancer, for example, in the breast or prostate, or who have weight loss or loss of appetite along with back pain cancer needs to be considered.

Night pain can be a clue to cancer in the spine. A benign tumor called osteoid osteoma, which most often affects young people, causes pain that tends to respond well to aspirin. Multiple myeloma is a malignancy that occurs when the plasma cells in the bone marrow begin spreading uncontrollably. It is most common in older people, and can cause pain in many parts of the spine. When tumor or infection are suspected, blood tests may be ordered, including a CBC , sedimentation rate , and protein electrophoresis .

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You Feel Very Fatigued

In one eye-opening survey, 43 percent of Americans admitted to being too tired to function at work. The National Safety Council also found that 97 percent of survey respondents reported at least one risk factor for fatigue.

In short, Americans are all too familiar with fatigue and exhaustion. Unfortunately, the ubiquitous nature of fatigue is precisely why the problem is so overlooked even if theres a potential medical emergency. For example, a backache coupled with extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, and nausea could signify heart problems.

The symptoms mentioned above should also be considered a medical emergency.

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Signs Back Pain Is Something More Serious

Lower Back Pain (Lumbago)

Anybody who has ever experienced back pain knows that its no joking matter.

Per the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is the number one cause of disability around the globe. In the United States, 80 million working adults experience the discomfort of the back or neck every year, resulting in a total of more than 260 million days of work missed.

Here are some other facts about this painful condition:

80% of people experience an aching or painful back at some time in their lives.

Backaches are the 3rd most common reason for doctor visits.

Back issues costs Americans up to $100 billion annually.

Most causes of spinal discomfort are caused not by a medical condition, but an alteration of the backs physiology

The number of disabled due to problems with the lower back has risen 54% between 1990 and 2015.

Back pain, if left untreated, can progress into a chronic and debilitating medical condition. For the vast majority of such cases, the resultant symptoms are wholly preventable.

While back pain is quite common, and its symptoms uncomfortable, spinal pain is rarely severe. However, there are exceptions. In this article, were going to describe seven signs that your back pain may be more serious than you think. Well also discuss the causes, symptoms, and risk factors associated with back pain.

Lets do this!

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Getting Into A Car Accident And/or Falling Down

Getting into a car accident and/or falling down for lower back pain can also be a potential cause of chronic back pain. Car accidents and falls may result in broken bones, cuts, bruises, head injuries, or other serious injuries. Go for an X-ray if you feel uncomfortable.

This injury may not be seen immediately after the accident occurs but may manifest weeks later as chronic back pain is serious.


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