Most of us will experience back pain at some point during our lives. Fortunately, the majority of back pain causes are not serious and can be treated with good chiropractic care. However, it is important to be aware of “red flags”, the warning signs and symptoms that may indicate that your back pain could be caused by an underlying medical problem.
Here our Fareham chiropractor highlights a few of the most common red flag signs and symptoms that you should make your doctor/chiropractor aware of immediately. Seek urgent medical attention of you experience any of the symptoms listed below.
Severe Pain and/ or Weight Loss
You should let your doctor know immediately if you experience severe back pain or you’ve lost weight without trying. Although rare, these can sometimes be the symptoms of spinal cancer, so it is important that you do not ignore them. If your doctor/chiropractor suspects or expresses concern about cancer, you may be referred to a specialist for further testing.
Fever, chills, weight loss, stiff neck
You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms such as fever, chills, stiff neck or unexplained weight loss, as these could indicate an infection. Getting an early and accurate diagnosis is really important when it comes to spinal infections. The sooner your suspected infection is diagnosed, the quicker your healthcare team can work to relieve pain, maintain the stability of your spine and help preserve the functioning of your nervous system.
Numbness, Weakness and/or incontinence
You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Saddle anesthesia – nerve related symptoms in the area of your seat. The symptoms you are most likely to notice are numbness at the bottom of your pelvis and around the location of your seat.
- Bladder or bowel problems, which includes the inability to urinate or the need to urinate more often.
- Weakness and/or sciatica that hasn’t previously been diagnosed or seems to be getting worse.
Your health history and symptoms may lead your medical team to suspect that your back pain is caused by a spinal fracture. This is a serious condition usually caused by minor or major trauma or osteoporosis. Cauda Equina Syndrome is another disorder that your doctor may assess you for if you experience the symptoms mentioned above. This rare syndrome is where exposed nerve fibres at the bottom of your spine become irritated. If this disorder is not diagnosed and it is left untreated, Cauda Equina Syndrome can lead to paralysis and other serious health problems.
Back pain is a common condition that will affect 80% of us at one point or another during our lives. While back pain isn’t usually a sign of anything serious, it is important to be aware of any symptoms that need urgent medical attention.
Never ignore what your body is trying to tell you. There are times when back pain comes as a warning sign that something major is going on with your health. Listen to it. Seeking quick medical attention can help to gain a timely and accurate diagnosis and the appropriate treatment for issues such as cancer and infections.
When it comes to keeping your spine healthy, knowledge certainly is power – the more you know, the more you can do to protect your spine and wellbeing.
If you are suffering back pain, our experienced team of chiropractors at Homewood Chiropractic Clinic in Fareham are here to help you. For more advice, contact our friendly and professional team on 01329 280 283.
Take the first step towards a healthy spine today.