When Back Pain Goes from Nuisance to Medical Emergency
Back pain is extremely common. Everyone is bound to experience back pain at some point, and much of it is generally harmless. Unfortunately, because back pain is so common, patients may think that their back pain is normal and miss symptoms that indicate something more dangerous.
As chiropractors, it’s important to speak with patients who visit for back pain treatment about when back pain could go from being a nuisance to a true medical emergency. Before utilizing any Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) techniques, patients should divulge any symptoms they’re experiencing aside from muscle, joint, or nerve pain to provide a fuller picture of their physical health. Part of Ideal Spine’s approach to chiropractic also includes patient education, so they can make informed decisions to seek medical help as needed.
Patients should be aware of the following dangers involving back pain to potentially avoid more severe consequences for their health.
Symptoms that indicate it’s more than back pain
Back pain in and of itself can be quite debilitating; however, most people know what is “normal” for their pain, particularly if they suffer from a chronic condition. In the cases of acute pain, patients often find relief with rest or activity modification relatively quickly.
However, when back pain is accompanied by other symptoms unrelated to the musculoskeletal system, they may be experiencing a significant medical emergency. Patients must monitor their pain and any additional symptoms to ensure they’re seeking medical attention early enough.
One symptom to look out for is incontinence, or the inability to control one’s bladder or bowels. In many cases, incontinence occurs alongside weakness in the legs that gets progressively worse, as well as numbness in the legs and pelvic area. Combined with back pain, these symptoms might indicate cauda equina syndrome, caused by severe nerve compression in the lumber spine. This condition could result in paralysis if not treated quickly because it may cause permanent nerve damage.
Another key symptom is a fever that does not respond to fever reduction methods. Back pain in combination with a persistent fever may be related to an infection in the spine. If unidentified or untreated, spinal infections may lead to permanent loss of motor function.
Back pain accompanied by stomach pain is also a concerning combination. Generally, back pain will not radiate to the abdomen, but rather up and down the back or to the buttocks. If a patient experiences a sudden onset of severe pains in the stomach, as well as the lower back, they could be at risk for internal bleeding.
Additionally, intense back pain that does not subside with rest should be evaluated by a professional as soon as possible.
Patients who complain of any of these symptoms or other severe, acute symptoms should visit their primary care physician or the emergency room as soon as they can to ensure prompt care. If they don’t, the health of their spine and their overall wellness may be at risk.
The Ideal Spine team urges chiropractors to have these discussions with their patients and help them understand the differences between minor back pain and back pain that presents an emergency in order to protect their bodies.
Chiropractic BioPhysics® corrective care trained Chiropractors are located throughout the United States and in several international locations. CBP providers have helped thousands of people throughout the world realign their spine back to health, and eliminate a source of chronic back pain, chronic neck pain, chronic headaches and migraines, fibromyalgia, and a wide range of other health conditions. If you are serious about your health and the health of your loved ones, contact a CBP trained provider today to see if you qualify for care. The exam and consultation are often FREE. See www.CBPpatient.com for providers in your area.
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