What Symptoms Associated with Back Pain Should Prompt You to See a Doctor?

Millions of people live with symptoms of back pain each year. While there are a variety of causes, some of the most common reasons for lower back discomfort and muscle spasms include minor injuries and bulging spinal discs. Medical conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis can also contribute to tension and a lack of mobility.

tense man holding back

You can even get recurring back pain from chronic stress or lifting heavy objects. With so many conditions that affect the back, how do you know what symptoms associated with back pain should prompt you to see a doctor? Learn more below about which signs and health issues are concerning, as well as how laser therapy for back pain can help you find relief.

Numbness

Sensations like tingling and numbness are two common symptoms associated with back injuries. They also affect people with conditions like shingles and fibromyalgia. While a dull sensation may indicate that the nerves in your back are irritated, moderate to severe numbness deserves a second look from your doctor.

Seek emergency care immediately if you are experiencing numbness or tingling sensations after an accident or upon suffering a fall. This could be a sign of spinal trauma. A feeling like pins and needles that radiates down the back and thighs could be a sign of spondylolisthesis, a condition where one or more spinal vertebrae fall out of place. Another possible cause of numbness is a spinal cord tumor, so do not hesitate to make an appointment with your primary care physician or a back specialist if you have any questions.

Fever

Another concerning symptom that you may see with back pain is fever. According to Spine Health, it is a medical emergency if you have a fever with pain that does not respond to over-the-counter fever-reducing medications. Some possible causes of discomfort or tension accompanied by a high temperature include spinal tumors and a spinal infection.

It does not matter if you were previously feeling well, are recovering from back surgery, or have a chronic health condition—call 911 or tell a physician if you have pain in your lumbar area and you have a body temperature above 100.4 degrees. It is especially important to get to the emergency room if your fever is above 103 degrees and has lasted over 48 hours.

physician checking patients back

Bowel/Bladder Problems

Unfortunately, bowel or bladder incontinence can also result from conditions associated with back pain. This combination can be the sign of a serious medical problem, so it is important to see your doctor. One of the most common reasons for bowel or bladder issues is cauda equina syndrome (CES). When a patient develops CES, nerve roots located in the lower spine become compressed, potentially disrupting both sensory and motor function. Along with tingling in the lower extremities, it is also possible to have problems when going to the bathroom.

Other reasons for both back pain and incontinence to occur together include a spinal tumor or an abscess located in the lower back. In rare cases, an epidural during childbirth can cause a buildup of blood on the spine, which presses on the nerves. This is known as an epidural hematoma.

Caring for Serious Back Pain

It is always a good idea to have moderate, severe, or long-lasting back pain checked out by a doctor. Once you work with your physician to handle acute symptoms and create a treatment plan, you can add helpful pain-relieving therapies at home. Our Curavi™ laser therapy belts are an excellent choice because they are a non-drug option and have no known side effects. They also use a therapy known as photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT), often referred to as low-level laser therapy (LLLT). PBMT is gaining steam because it safely penetrates the skin to modulate pain and inflammation in a gentle treatment that only requires 30 minutes per day.

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