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10 Symptoms Indicating that your Back Pain is Serious

April 13, 2022

Updated May 2023

Home » 10 Symptoms Indicating that your Back Pain is Serious
how do I know if my back pain is serious - black lady in red blouse sitting on the bed holding to her back and grimacing

How do I know if my back pain is serious? Sometimes it’s in the nature of the pain or the time it happens, but this post has ten clues that will guide you.

Back pain is a common occurrence, which is not considered a serious health issue most of the time. Bad posture, poor ergonomics, and sports/gym injuries are frequent causes of back pain. Back pain is experienced by 8 out of 10 people at least once in a lifetime.

However, in some cases, back pain can be an emergency that requires professional medical attention. If you notice any of the following signs, consult your doctor immediately:

1. Persistent and excruciating pain

Standard back pain caused by fatigue, cramps, or stiffness can be described as a dull ache, which improves drastically or disappears within a few days.

Home remedies or OTC (over-the-counter) medication usually cure normal pain. However, if the pain persists or gets worse after 48 hours, it should not be taken lightly.

It could signify a range of underlying health problems or an internal injury.

2. Fever and Chills

If the back pain is accompanied by a fever, you could be suffering from a spinal infection.

Other symptoms to look out for include:

  • rapid heartbeat,
  • nausea,
  • vomiting,
  • sweating,
  • chills,
  • and clamminess.

Swelling and throbbing pain along the vertebral column may confirm the condition.

In addition, another problem where you may have back pain with fever and chills is a urinary infection. In this case, you may also experience frequent and painful urination.

Pregnant lady with serious back pain

3. Numbness in the lower body

If lower back pain spreads out into the abdominal region, stomach, and below, it could be a spinal fracture, internal bleeding, cancer, or abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Numbness (loss of feeling) in the legs and pelvic region may occur. After this, you may experience other problems such as balance issues, genital dysfunction, or minimal movement.

4. Sharp or stabbing pain

Sharp or stabbing pain that is recurring or constant can be life-threatening. Do not silently tolerate the agony under such circumstances, as it may indicate a failing organ.

For example, a burst abdominal aorta or injury to the nerves of the lower back may happen with serious back pain of this nature.

5. Excretory Problems

If your back pain is interfering with bowel movement and/or urination, it could be a sign of multiple sclerosis, nerve damage, a severe infection, or certain types of cancer.

Get an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to arrange the necessary tests or specialist referrals.

6. Interference with Sleep

If your back pain wakes you up in the middle of the night or causes insomnia, it is very alarming indeed. You may have a serious medical condition that is contributing to a sore and painful back.

Possible health issues include degenerative disc disease and inflammatory arthritis.

7. You have been diagnosed with Osteoporosis

If you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis and suddenly experience severe back pain for no particular reason, you should get it checked.

Osteoporosis instigates bone loss, which ultimately increases strain on the backbone. The chances of a bone fracture with very little injury are high in this instance.

young african lady in gold dress and jacked seating at a workstation with serious back pain in her upper back

8. Recent Accident or Trauma

If you recently experienced a traumatic incident, such as a fatal car accident, make sure to seek proper medical attention.

Even if the pain seems tolerable or negligible at the beginning, do not be careless about it. The injury may develop over time and become severe if not treated immediately. 

9. Lightheadedness and Weakness

Back pain accompanied by lightheadedness and weakness in the body may owe to compressed nerves or a condition called spinal stenosis.

It could also mean a tumour in the spine if there is noticeable weight loss.

10. Pressure in the Chest and Upper Body

Back pain that comes with pressure/stress in the chest, neck, shoulders, and arms could be a sign of an incoming stroke.

If you also have heart conditions, visit the hospital emergency immediately.

In conclusion, a big range of problems can lead to serious back pain. Take back pain more seriously if it’s getting worse or failing to improve after a short period.

In addition, new or worsening back pain may relate to a pre-existing medical condition. In all cases, seek medical advice to check the problem carefully.

Author Bio

John Adams is a lifestyle blogger who concentrates on health, fitness, and self-development. He encourages readers to fight their fears and overcome obstacles holding them back. John believes that every person can improve the quality of his/her life by thinking positively and making better choices. He loves to share his insight on life experiences and contributes to various online platforms in the same niche.

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Editing by AskAwayHealth Team


All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising  Medical Practitioners on various healthcare conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and help promote quality healthcare. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified healthcare practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly

Image Credit – Canva

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