When is Back Pain Bad?

April 23, 2017 Joseph Hernandez 0Comment

A common condition that affects many people at one point in their lives or another is back pain.

Common triggers can include awkward bending, incorrect lifting, or bad posture. Other causes include muscle strains, sports injuries, and accidents, among others.

Treatment options are diverse. However, to accurately diagnose the condition and to get the most apt treatment, a visit to a back pain specialist would be recommended.

Possible Causes

  • Sciatica – compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve resulting to numbness, tingling, and pain that travels down one leg
  • Whiplash – neck injury resulting from sudden impact
  • Slipped disc – One of the discs in the spine is damaged and ends up pressing on the nerves
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis – condition that causes stiffness and pain

Common Symptoms

  1. Localized and sharp pain in the upper back, neck, and the lower back. The pain will often manifest after doing strenuous activities or lifting heavy objects. In some instances however, upper back pain can also signal heart attack or other fatal and life-threatening conditions.
  2. Persistent stiffness or aches anywhere along the spine.
  3. Chronic pain in the lower or middle back especially after standing or sitting for extended periods.
  4. Inability to stand straight without experiencing muscle spasms or pain in the lower back.

It is recommended that you schedule an appointment with your doctor or back pain specialist if the following alarming symptoms manifest:

  1. Weakness, tingling, and numbness in the arms, legs, or groins. The following symptoms may signal spinal cord damage.
  2. When the pain from your back extends until the back of the leg, it can be a telltale indication of sciatica.
  3. When pain intensifies when you bend forward or cough, this can be a clear indication of possible herniated disc.
  4. If you experience problems controlling your bladder or bowel movement, seeking immediate medical attention is a must.
  5. If the pain is accompanied by frequent urination or fever, you most likely have an infection.

Other “red flags” that could indicate more serious back problems can include the following:

  • Sudden weight loss
  • Consistent pain lasting for more than a month
  • Pains at night
  • Trauma history

Preventive Measures


To keep your back supple and strong, ensure you do not put too much pressure it. Also, keep in mind that how you stand, sit, and lift will have an impact on your back’s overall health.


Exercises like swimming and walking are considered excellent choices to prevent back pain. Other recommended disciplines like yoga and Pilates can also enhance flexibility and effectively strengthen the back muscles.

Treatment options

In most cases, given its nothing serious, back pains will eventually go away on its own. However, if you want to hasten healing and alleviate the pain, the following tips will be beneficial:

Take over-the-counter medications. Painkillers like paracetamol or ibuprofen are often recommended to ease the aches.

Stay active. Remain as active as possible and aim to carry on with your daily routines.

Make use of cold or hot compression packs. You can easily purchase one from your local pharmacy.

If back pain will persist for weeks, a visit to a back pain specialist should be in order. Apart from providing accurate diagnosis, a medical professional may also recommend other effective treatment options such as:

  • Manual therapy – this can include osteopathy and physiotherapy
  • Exercise classes – classes that teach exercises designed to improve posture and strengthen muscles might be prescribed.
  • Stronger painkillers
  • Acupuncture

While some back pains will last only for a few days and will eventually go away, others might need immediate medical attention. This is especially true if other alarming symptoms manifest and the condition has lasted for weeks already.

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