Six signs that let you know when back pain is serious

when is back pain serious

Most of us aren’t strangers to back pain. It’s normal to have a stiff back after a long day of physical activity or sitting for too long at a desk or in the car. Usually, this type of pain dissipates after a few days of rest and home remedies. 

However, back pain that persists for a long period of time or is more intense than usual may be the sign of a condition that needs treatment. If you’re experiencing back pain right now, you might be wondering if your pain is serious. Rarely is back pain the sign of anything life-threatening, but it could be the sign of a chronic condition that requires professional treatment.

Six signs your back pain is related to a chronic condition

The six most common signs of back pain that justify professional treatment are: 

  1. You have a constant ache in your back muscles.
  2. You would describe your back pain as stabbing or burning.
  3. Your back pain feels worse when bending, twisting or lifting an object.
  4. Your back pain radiates down into one of your legs.
  5. You still suffer from pain when trying to rest.
  6. Your pain is accompanied by numbness, weakness, and tingling in the legs or neck and shoulders.

As mentioned before, back pain is rarely life-threatening, but if it is accompanied by any of the following, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible for diagnosis and treatment:

  • A persistent fever
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • A fall or a direct impact that preceded the pain

Common causes of back pain that needs professional treatment

If you’re experiencing any of the six signs of back pain, you might have one of the following conditions:

  • Strains — A strain is a pulled or torn muscle in your back. The muscle itself is in pain if you have a strain, and it may increase pressure on your spine, which can add to your symptoms.
  • Sciatica — Sciatica is the irritation and inflammation of the sciatic nerve, which is a long nerve running from your lower back into each of your legs. If you have a burning sensation in your lower back that spreads into one of your legs, you may be suffering from sciatica.
  • Herniated discs — A herniated disc is a disc in your spine that has burst, causing its fluid to leak out and spread around the spinal canal. Thiscan put pressure on the spinal nerves and lead to pain and other complications.
  • Degenerative disc disease (DDD) — DDD is the natural wear and tear that affects your discs as you age. Some people never notice the effects of DDD, but others experience pain and a limited range of motion.
  • Arthritis — Arthritis causes the cartilage in your joints to wear down. It can affect the joints in your spine, which can make it painful to bend or twist your back.
  • Spinal stenosis — Spinal stenosis causes the spinal column to grow more narrow, which increases pressure on the nerves running through the spinal canal. 

Visit Advent Physical Therapy for back pain treatment

Do you suspect your back pain is related to a chronic condition? If you’re tired of this pain controlling your life, you should talk to a physical therapist about your treatment options. Contact our team today for more information about treating your back pain or to schedule an initial appointment.