6 Types of Back Pain You Should Never Ignore

Dr. Constantine Toumbis

23 November 2020

Back pain is common — so common that many people think it’s a normal part of life and tend to ignore all types of back pain. And while mild aches here and there are not typically cause for concern, there are certain types of back pain that should never go ignored. Typically, these types of back pain are accompanied by distinct symptoms or have a significant impact on your ability to perform daily routine activities.

Although it’s easy to chalk up back pain as a natural sign of aging — especially if you’re young and under the age of 55 — you should visit an orthopedic spine specialist, or even emergency care in some cases, if you are experiencing any of the types of back pain below.

1. Back Pain Accompanied by Numbness or Tingling

Numbness or tingling down your arms or legs, in addition to your back pain, could be an indicator of a spinal issue, like a pinched nerve. There are many types of back conditions that can cause this “pins and needles” sensation through the limbs, like sciatica, spinal stenosis or disc herniation.

If you are just beginning to experience this symptom, visit your primary care physician who should be able to determine whether you need specialized care. On the other hand, if you have been experiencing this symptom for a while and it’s become progressively more severe, then you may want to visit an orthopedic spine specialist directly. 

2. Back Pain After a Traumatic Event or Injury

After a traumatic event like a fall or a car crash, the body undergoes a lot of stress. Sometimes individuals are able to walk and resume activity right after an accident, but develop pain later and shrug it off. While the cause of your pain may not always be visible to the human eye, that doesn’t mean that it is any less urgent. If you feel any changes — aches, pinching, strain, weakness — in your body after a traumatic event, visit a doctor as soon as possible. 

3. Back Pain That Persists for Months

There are two broad categories of back pain: acute and chronic. Acute back pain lasts anywhere from a week to three months, while chronic back pain lasts for longer than three months. If you are experiencing chronic back pain, it may indicate a back condition like Degenerative Disc Disease. Regardless of the cause, experiencing that level of persistent pain can truly affect your quality of life and warrants a visit to an orthopedic specialist or your primary care physician.

4. Back Pain With the Loss of Bladder or Bowel Control

Spinal nerve compression can have an effect on the organs that control bladder and bowel function, leaving individuals to suffer with incontinence. This is a very severe symptom that should never be pushed aside. If you are experiencing a decline in bladder or bowel function, you should immediately seek emergency care, as this symptom signals that something is very wrong. 

5. Back Pain Accompanied by a Fever

If you’re experiencing a fever alongside back pain, this is a sign that your body may be fighting a serious infection that needs immediate medical attention. In cases like this, the fever is likely not a typical fever caught from a virus. Instead, when accompanied with back pain, this fever could be your body’s response to a spinal infection, like an epidural abscess. 

6. Back Pain That Prevents You From Performing Routine Tasks

Lastly, if you’re experiencing back pain that prevents you from living your life as usual, then you should consult a physician. Tasks like sitting up, bending over to reach an object or low-impact exercise, should not cause back pain, and you shouldn’t feel unable to perform these actions because the pain may be too intense. If at any point your back pain has this kind of impact on your day-to-day, it’s time to make an appointment with a back pain specialist who can get to the root of the problem and walk you through a variety of options for back pain management.

Contact Citrus Spine to Discuss Your Back Pain

If you are experiencing these distressing types of back pain, contact the specialists at Citrus Spine today. Our board-certified healthcare providers will listen to your concerns and review non-surgical or surgical treatment options with you to create a plan suited to your needs.

If you are experiencing back pain symptoms, you should never ignore or try to suffer through the pain. Always consult your doctor and have open conversations. If you are not satisfied with your doctor or require specialized care, it is recommended to get a second opinion from a back pain specialist.

Dr. Constantine Toumbis

Dr. Toumbis is a board certified, fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in cervical, thoracic and lumbar surgery. He received his undergraduate degree in Biology from New York University in 1987, then continued on to receive his Masters in Natural Sciences as well as a PhD in Experimental Pathology from State University of New York at Buffalo. He completed his medical degree at Wayne State University School of Medicine with a distinction in Biomedical Research. After moving to Florida to complete his internship and residency in orthopedics at the University of Florida Shands Hospital, he went on to pursue a fellowship at Cleveland Clinic's Florida Spine Institute. He moved to Citrus County and has been in private practice since 2005.

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