Back pain: 5 signs that you should always have checked out by your health professional.
As we get older we might think that aches and pains are just part of life. But if you experience recurring or severe back pain you should pay attention to your symptoms and seek appropriate treatment.
The spine is a very important part of the body. When something goes wrong in this area, it can affect other parts of our bodies as well as the back. The spine is made up of 33 small bones called vertebrae. The top 24 of these are linked together in a flexible way so that we can bend and move our bodies. The nine lower vertebrae are fused together to form a solid column.
As well as supporting the rest of the skeleton the spine also has the very important job of protecting the spinal cord – a network of nerves that runs through the middle of the vertebrae and connects with the rest of the nerves all over the body.
Very often we will find that backache goes away by itself. It may just be the result of overexertion. But there are a few thing you need to look out for to maintain your back health and deal with any problems before they become more serious:
1. The pain doesn’t go away by itself
Rest and over the counter pain killers are often enough to deal with temporary aches and pains. You should soon start to feel it gradually easing off. But if the pain persists for more than a few weeks or, if it is getting worse instead of better as time goes by you should seek medical advice.
2. Does it get worse at night?
Pain that gets worse at night could be caused by sleeping in an uncomfortable position or by a poor quality mattress. But if you have ruled these out, it is important that you discuss it with your doctor in case there are more serious underlying causes.
3. Back pain along with balance or bladder issues
If back pain is accompanied by any problems with bladder control, or if you notice problems balancing, make an appointment with your doctor. If these symptoms are present at all you need to have them assessed. The back pain may or may not be connected with the other symptoms, but you should always mention it to give your doctor a full picture of the situation so that they can make an accurate diagnosis.
4. Unusual sensations in the arm and legs.
If you experience any of the following – shooting pains, tingling sensation or numbness in the arms and legs with no obvious reason you should see your doctor. This can indicate a number of different underlying causes which need to be checked out by a medical professional.
5. Fever and losing weight
If back pain is accompanied by fever and losing weight it needs to be investigated. It could be that the two are unconnected, but unexplained weight loss should always be a cause for concern. When you discuss that with your GP make sure you also mention any back pain you have been experiencing in case there is a connection.
This list is, of course not exhaustive. If you are worried about your backache or any other health issues it is always best to speak to your doctor sooner rather than later to get the best possible advice and treatment.