When back pain needs care now
By Pure Matters
Back pain can range from a dull to severe, and most cases of back pain can be traced to stresses placed on muscles and ligaments that support the spine. Acute or short-term low back pain generally lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Most acute back pain results from trauma to the lower back or a disorder such as arthritis. Pain from trauma may be caused by a sports injury, work around the home or garden, or a sudden jerk or jolt such as a car accident that puts stress on spinal bones and tissues. Symptoms may range from muscle aches to shooting or stabbing pain, limited flexibility and range of motion, or an inability to stand straight. Back pain may be treated with limited rest, as well as exercise and education on how to prevent its recurrence, says the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). But there are times when seeking immediate medical care for back pain is a must.
If you have loss of bowel or bladder control, seek emergency help at once. Paralysis of the bowel and bladder could result if not attended to promptly.
For the following symptoms, you should call your health care provider immediately:
- Your back pain is accompanied by a fever
- You experienced a severe blow or fall
- Your back or spine has swelling
- The pain also extends below the knee in one or both of your legs
- You feel weakness, tingling or numbness in your buttocks, thigh, leg or pelvis
- The pain is excruciating, or is worse when you lie down
- You have bladder or bowel problems that did not exist before the back pain
Fortunately, most back pain does not cause injury to the nerves and will get better in a few days or weeks, the NINDS says.
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