Do you have low back pain and is deciding whether to seek immediate treatment? Well, you are not alone. Low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide. Over 30 million Americans experience low-back pain at any given time. Most causes of back pain are not an emergency but there are symptoms you should know that warrants an ER visit.
If you experienced an accident which directly caused your back pain then an ER visit is necessary. You might experience symptoms such as numbness, tingling or leg weakness. The doctor will use X-rays or CT scan to check for any fractures or spinal injury.
Losing bowel or bladder control is another symptom that requires emergent care. Incontinence and/or numbness in the groin and buttocks may indicate compression or injury to your spinal cord. The doctor will determine if you have cauda equina syndrome. If left untreated, cauda equina syndrome can result in paralysis, loss of sensation below lumbar spine and loss of bowel/bladder control.
Low back pain with unplanned weight loss, nausea, vomiting, fever and chills can indicate cancer. These individuals present with back pain that does not decrease with rest or weakness in the arms or legs. Severe abdominal and low back pain can indicate symptoms of an abdominal aortic aneurysm. The pain can be so severe that it can prevent you from being able to stand up straight. Abdominal aortic aneurysm is a medical emergency if the blood vessel ruptures or internal bleeding occurs.
After receiving emergent care for your back pain your physician may recommend physical therapy to strengthen your back and prevent reoccurrence of symptoms.
Dr. Jack Wong
Leading Physical Therapist In The Houston Area