Everybody wakes up stiff and sore every once in a while, and the older you get, the more likely it is that your day spent gardening is going to turn into a night with an aching back and popping a few over-the-counter pain killers. But there are distinct differences between the back pains that represent a minor annoyance and the ones that require the attention of an experienced spine surgeon, and if you’re finding yourself regularly experiencing symptoms, it’s important that you recognize the difference between the two. Though it may be in your nature to “grin and bear it,” doing so when there’s a real problem can put you at risk for serious long-term damage.
Here are five specific back pain symptoms that tell you it’s time to seek medical attention:
1. It’s Not Just Your Back, but Your Leg Too.
When the pain in your back is accompanied with pain that runs down your glutes and all the way down your leg to your foot, it means that you have a problem involving your nerves. When your nerve root is irritated, it can lead to numbness and weakening of the muscles.
2. The Pain is Bad Enough That It’s Causing A Limp
If your back pain is causing you to limp or creating weakness on one side of your body, it’s a sign that there may be actual damage that could become permanent without treatment.
3. Is Your Balance Being Affected?
It’s one thing to need to do a few stretches and work out some kinks, but when your back pain is making you feel unsure or unsteady on your feet, you definitely need to seek help. As we get older our risk of injury from falling grows, and the damage from fractures can exacerbate a back problem.
4. Is Your Back Pain Happening at the Same Time as Bowel or Bladder Problems?
If you’ve been finding that you’re feeling numb in the groin or having a hard time controlling your bladder or bowels, it can be a sign of nerve pressure at the lower end of the spine or spinal cord. This is a sign of a serious problem that needs diagnosis immediately.
5. When Your Back Pain Combines with Other Bodily Issues
Though back pain is something that almost everybody experiences at one point or another, and can be completely normal, there are times that back pain serves as one of several whole-body symptoms that something is seriously wrong. When you have back pain that combines with fever or chills or a whole-body rash, it may be an indication that you have an infection or some other issue impacting your immune system. You should check in with your physician immediately.
When problems arise with your spine and back, it’s important that you pay close attention and don’t dismiss the serious warnings that your body may be giving you. To set up a convenient time to come in and see our experienced spine surgeon, call our office today.