For many of us, back pain a fact of life–the student recovering from marathon study sessions in an unforgiving library chair, a young professional burning the midnight oil and under stress, parents or grandparents hauling babies around, or simply an active, happy person enjoying any number of favorite activities. Stress, poor posture, heavy lifting, and overexertion are all common back pain culprits.
Most of our movements cycle through the back one way or another–and when it’s in pain, the quality of life impact can be devastating. Worse, a achy back can be a sign of a more serious problem. If you experience any of these warning signs, please contact a medical professional immediately.
No Improvement After 72 Hours of TLC
Take time to treat back pain as soon as it starts. Use basic at home remedies. These include rest, pain relievers like ibuprofen, lots of water, and alternating hot or cold treatments. Moderate exercise may be indicated if you suspect your pain is related to stress or a sedentary lifestyle. Listen to your body and give it the care it needs. After three days of R&R, if your symptoms have worsened or failed to improve, schedule an appointment with a medical professional ASAP. Don’t take chances when it comes to your spine!
Pain Extending to The Leg
Sciatica, or back pain that extends down the spine to the leg, is a sign to seek health care immediately. Sciatica is often caused by a herniated disc pressing on the central nerve of the spine, the sciatic nerve. Other signs of sciatica include a sharp pain that makes it difficult to stand or walk, pain that it worse when sitting, and numbness or weakness in an lower extremity. Generally, the pain is experienced in the spine and radiates down one side of the lower extremities. Fortunately, permanent damage to the sciatic nerve is rare. Reduce your risk– and get relief–by seeing a specialist immediately.
Any Other Accompanying Symptoms
Pay attention to other symptoms accompanying your back pain. Back pain occurring in conjunction with a fever, loss of bladder or bowel control, and back pain when coughing is cause to seek medical attention.