What You Should Know About Spine Pain Red Flags

simple back stretch

Back pain remains one of the most common conditions suffered by Americans. For many of us, the pain caused by muscle strain, injury, and degeneration can be treated with rest and medication. But more severe pain may require physical therapy or interventional treatment. Some pain may require surgery or more serious treatments. And then there are red flag symptoms of back pain that may be an indication of a serious underlying condition that warrants immediate medical care. With this range of treatments and severity, how can you tell when your back pain is simple strain or something more serious?

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    What Are the Red Flags of Back Pain?

    If back pain is associated or combined with one or more of the following signs and symptoms, this may be a red flag that medical intervention is necessary:

    • Fever: Could indicate an infection in your spine
    • Incontinence or bladder problems: Could indicate cauda equine syndrome or spinal cord compression
    • Numbness or loss of sensation in the pelvis or sphincter area: Could indicate cauda equine syndrome or spinal cord compression
    • Major motor weakness: An indication of nerve root compression
    • Tenderness to touch or pressure: Could indicate fracture or infection

    If you are in need of evaluation for any of these conditions, please call our medical center and clearly discuss the seriousness of your symptoms. Or, if in doubt, please proceed to an emergency room or call 911.

    More About Spinal Infection

    Where a spinal infection is concerned, it is very important to get a quick, accurate diagnosis in order to treat the infection effectively. Without prompt treatment by a doctor, symptoms can potentially get worse, leading to serious complications. Treatment will focus on eliminating the infection, relieving pain, and maintaining overall health.

    More About Cauda Equine Syndrome

    Cauda equina syndrome is a rare disorder that usually is a surgical emergency. In patients with cauda equina syndrome, something compresses on the spinal nerve roots. You may need fast treatment to prevent lasting damage leading to incontinence and possibly permanent paralysis of the legs.

    CES affects a bundle of nerve roots called cauda equina (Latin for horse’s tail). These nerves are located at the lower end of the spinal cord in the lumbosacral spine. They send and receive messages to and from your legs, feet, and pelvic organs.

    Is My Back Pain an Emergency?

    If you are experiencing neck, back, arm or leg pain, numbness, or tingling without the red flags we noted above, then your pain is likely caused by one of many disc disorders, spinal injuries, or musculoskeletal conditions. A same-day appointment at SpineOne can help you identify the cause of your pain and determine a treatment plan for long-term benefit.

    SpineOne offers sophisticated, effective, interventional pain management for conditions such as spinal stenosis, herniated or bulging discs, facet joint pain, sciatica, and many other health conditions.

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