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Signs Your Back Pain Might Be an Emergency

Studies indicate that 80% of adults will at some point have back pain associated with prolonged sitting hours, an accident, or an underlying medical condition. In other words, the likelihood of experiencing back pain increases for every adult. With that said, how can you determine if what you’re feeling is more than a regular ache and should be taken seriously? Take a look at some of these signs to help you be better prepared when that backache is more than it appears to be. 


  • Acute trauma


Usually, when you’ve been in an accident (a fall, sudden impact, etc.), the points of body contact are the areas pain will radiate from. However, when the pain is suddenly concentrated in the spinal area, that is cause for concern. This happens a lot among professional and student-athletes, drivers, active kids, etc. When this acute trauma comes with headaches and tingling sensations in the upper or lower extremities, it is even more worrying.

These prickly sensations indicate nerve trauma that needs immediate medical attention before they worsen. You should know that acute trauma can cause hidden compression fracture(s) in the backbone. If left unattended, it can put intense pressure on nerve endings, increasing your chances of developing a form of paralysis.


  • Sudden weakness in the lower extremities


When you experience dull backaches, your immediate concern will be to alleviate the pain with heat therapy or muscle-infusing topical ointment. However, when these intermittent aches cause you to experience sudden weakness in one or both legs, seek immediate specialist care. Sudden weakness in the legs is usually indicative of an impending stroke. It could also be a sign of blood clot in the lower extremities that only a specialist can attend to.

More importantly, it means your spinal cord (located within the spine) is losing its inherent ability to communicate with your brain and lower extremities. Sometimes, it could be the onset of spinal stenosis, which is characterized by narrowing of the natural spaces between the backbone. In that case, seek the best spinal surgeons to correct the anomaly. 


  • Varied positions aggravate pain


If you sit for long hours to work from home or the office, you may not be a stranger to lower back discomforts. Fortunately for you, though, a few stretches with a change in position provides relief. But what if it doesn’t? Any back pain that doesn’t go away after a few days of alternating positions must evoke concern. Avoid putting any more pressure on your back until you have seen a specialist. Moreover, put on hold all exercises (including yoga and Pilates) until you have the medical clearance to do so.


  • Loss of bladder function


A chronic back pain that eventually impacts proper urinary function is not a condition for home therapy. You need emergency care right away. Although the exact correlation is unknown, medical research believes it could be due to sacral nerve injury. These nerves are responsible for excretory functions (stool and urine), and the slightest damage can be life-threatening.

Hopefully, you know now that your back pain can be more than regular aches. That explains why a physician should check out any pain lasting more than three days to rule out the worst.

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