At some point in your life, it is likely you will experience some type of back pain. It is one of the most common reasons people seek the help of a chiropractor. Back pain can be located anywhere on your back from the neck area down to the pelvic area, although low back pain is the most common ailment. Often the pain symptoms will last for only a few days or weeks, but in some cases the pain can linger for months or years. Pain that lasts longer than six months is considered chronic.
Symptoms of back pain can include:
- Persistent aching or stiffness anywhere along your spine, from the base of the neck to the tail bone
- Sharp, localized pain in the neck, upper back, or lower back — especially after lifting heavy objects or engaging in other strenuous activity; (pain in the upper back can also be a sign of a heart attack or other life-threatening conditions.)
- Chronic ache in the middle or lower back, especially after sitting or standing for extended periods
- Back pain that radiates from the low back to the buttock, down the back of the thigh, and into the calf and toes
- Inability to stand straight without having pain or muscle spasms in the lower back
Call Your Doctor About Back Pain If:
- You feel numbness, tingling, or weakness in your arms or legs; this may signal damage to the spinal cord. Seek immediate medical help.
- The pain in your back extends downward along the back of the leg; you may be suffering from sciatica.
- The pain increases when you cough or bend forward at the waist; this can be the sign of a herniated disc.
- The pain is accompanied by fever, burning during urination, or strong-smelling urine; you may have an infection.
- You begin to have problems controlling your bowels or bladder; seek immediate medical help.
Other “red flags” that could point to a serious back pain problem include:
- A history of cancer
- You have been losing weight without trying
- You have been on steroids or medication that weakens your immune system
- A history of trauma (car accidents, slip/fall, or work injuries)
- Pain that is getting worse and does not get better after you rest
- Pain that has lasted more than a month
- Nighttime pain
- Unresponsive to earlier back pain therapies
- A history of IV drug use
Back pain can be mildly annoying, or keep you in bed for hours a time. Symptoms can range in intensity from a simple ache along the spine, to a sharp, piercing sensation, and in some serious cases, back pain may cause difficulty with standing or sitting. Some people experience back spasms, which happen when the muscles in the back begin to contract repeatedly. If this happens near the spinal cord, it can be very painful.
Some people with back pain feel that it becomes worse with activity, and feel the need to lie down. Other people feel that sitting or riding in a car for long periods of time makes the pain worse. Whatever your symptoms, it is always best to get a professional diagnosis. Call us today so we can help you with the back pain you may be experiencing.
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