How To Tell If Your Back Pain Is Serious

back pain

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels.

Every single movement you make involves your spine somehow. Because of this, pulling a muscle reaching the top shelf at the grocery store, tying your shoes, or simply sleeping wrong can leave you with debilitating back pain.

Because our backs are regularly undergoing pulls and aches and strains and tweaks, it can be especially difficult to tell when the aches you’re feeling require special care.

While back discomfort can come and go, to determine if it might be time to seek help, you should first be aware of the different types of pain you can experience.

Acute (Short-term)

Acute back pain is sudden and specific. The Cleveland Clinic shares that “acute pain usually doesn’t last longer than six months. It goes away when there is no longer an underlying cause for the pain.” Luckily, after acute pain goes away, it is very easy to continue with life as usual.

Chronic (Long-term)

On the other hand, chronic pain will stick with you for longer than six months. In fact, chronic pain can continue even if you’ve healed the original underlying cause. The Cleveland Clinic goes on to say that “pain signals [can] remain active in the nervous system for weeks, months or years.” The body is a grudge-holder when it comes to trauma. however, there are some cases where an individual can suffer from chronic pain without the presence of a past injury— the discomfort is a result of neurological signaling gone haywire, not damage.

Warning Signs

Because some back irritation goes away in a matter of days, it’s difficult to tell when it’s time to pay closer attention. Luckily, orthopedic surgeon Douglas Dickson and rehabilitation doctor Kavita Trivedi put together a list titled “5 Signs Your Back Pain Might Be an Emergency.” Their list includes:

  • Experiencing sharp (or acute) pain. This could suggest a torn muscle or an organ problem, like a kidney infection.
  • An ache that travels to the glutes or legs. This could mean that a nerve is being compressed.
  • Weakness in the legs. A compressed nerve in the spine has been known to cause this, but it can also be the early stage of a stroke.
  • Incontinence. Back pain combined with not being able to control the bladder or bowels can be signs of a spine infection or dangerous nerve compressions.
  • Numbness or “tingly” feeling in the groin or glutes. This could be a symptom of a more serious nerve or spine condition.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be time for you to head to the doctor and proceed with treatment!

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About Kayla Gonzalez

Kayla Gonzalez is a graduate of Texas A&M University and joined the Empower Brokerage marketing team in early 2021. She creates content for the company websites and assists with various marketing campaigns. LinkedIn Profile

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