Back Pain – Red FlagsMay 15, 2019
It is not uncommon for a person to experience back pain at some point in life. Back pain is a common medical condition and people often take it for granted. However, doctors highly advise to pay close attention when this happens because back pain might be a red flag of a serious medical ailment. Pain is also an indicator of inflammation in the body, and consulting a back pain specialist could help diagnose and treat underlying medical problems.
What Causes Back Pain?
The most common causes of back pain are poor posture, lack of exercise, trauma or injury, and muscle strains or pains. Back pain is also common during pregnancy and old age. But there are way too many culprits as to why the back hurts longer than it should, especially when accompanied by other symptoms that manifests in the body. It is important to pay close attention to the red flags of back pain and consult a doctor immediately.
Red Flags of Back Pain?
- Bladder and/or bowel dysfunction. These symptoms are common in patients with spinal cord injury and cauda equina syndrome, a condition where the nerve roots in the lower end of the spinal cord has experienced compression and becomes paralysed.
- Unexplained weight loss. If a person loses weight of more than 10 lbs. for over three months, doctors could associate the symptom with cancer of the lower back, spinal infection, or autoimmune/inflammatory disease.
- Fever. This indicates infection that could lead to spinal tuberculosis, herniated disc, and connective tissue disease.
- History of trauma or injury. Doctors could associate this symptom with spine fracture, and further tests should be done.
- Bacterial infection and immunosuppression. Some studies show that bacterial infections cause 40 percent of chronic back pain.
- Inability to get into a comfortable position. This might be a sign of nephrolithiasis and spinal stenosis, a condition associated with the narrowing of the spinal canal.
- Back pain that extends to the legs or below the knee. This is one of the clinical symptoms for sciatica, or when the sciatic nerves, the largest in the body, become irritated.
- No pain relief with rest. This could be a sign of an abdominal aortic aneurism.
- Sheer pain when lying down. Excruciating pain when lying supine could mean a case of malignant retroperitoneal lymphadenopathy.
- No pain improvement within 6 weeks. This could ring more underlying medical issues if the pain is still severe for that long amount of time.
- Numbness and tingling. These could be an indication of nerve irritation or damage. If they do not go away after a long time, it could lead to permanent disabilities.
- History of cancer. Back pain is amongst the signs that a cancer potentially has spread throughout the body.
- Osteoporosis and steroid use. A doctor might pinpoint a fracture as the cause of back pain.
- Nite Pain. If the pain attacks while at sleep, it could mean disc degeneration, sprain, or worse, cancer and tumour.
- Age. People over 50 years of age are at higher risk for infection, tumours, and abdominal causes of back pain.
At Ubuntu Medical we also have an Osteoporosis Specialist.