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When most people experience back pain, they usually take over-the-counter medicine and wait for the pain to disappear. But, sometimes, back pain is more serious and might require a visit to the doctor or other healthcare provider.

Back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability, a leading contributor to missed work, and the second most common neurological ailment — only headache is more common.

Common types of back pain include:

Back pain can be felt anywhere along your back. It’s most common to have pain in your lower back.

Acute back pain comes on suddenly and usually lasts for a short period of time. The pain may be severe, but it typically goes away within a few days or weeks.

Sciatica is a type of nerve pain that affects the sciatic nerve, which runs down your leg. It’s caused by problems such as a slipped disk in your spine, and it can be quite painful.

Chronic back pain can arise due to poor posture that takes a toll on the joints and muscles over time. Correcting your posture will remedy the problem. It could also be due to ageing, where your joints suffer wear and tear.

You could get a back strain or sprain that is causing your back pain. This is caused by overstretching or tearing the muscles or ligaments in your back.

 It is important to know when back pain is serious and when you should see a doctor for help.

Some common signs that back pain is serious are:

There has been a recent change in your bowel or bladder habits. This could be a sign that something is seriously wrong.

If you’re having difficulty breathing, chest pain, or a rapid heartbeat, it’s important to seek medical help right away. These could be signs of a serious medical emergency

Numbness in your limbs, chest pain, or rectal bleeding, then it’s definitely time to see a doctor.

If your pain is moderate to severe and doesn’t seem to get any better with rest or hot/cold treatments, you may want to seek medical attention.

Bulging disks, though maybe painless is also a serious spine condition.

Unexplained weight loss is a possible sign of a serious underlying issue and should not be taken lightly.

If you notice any difficulty standing or walking, your back pain might be serious. This could be due to nerve damage, slipping disks, or a tumor.

Osteoporosis is a health condition that weakens bones, making them fragile and more likely to break. It develops slowly over several years and is often only diagnosed when a fall or sudden impact causes a bone to break (fracture). People with osteoporsis could have broken spinal bones (vertebrae).

If your back pain is accompanied by a fever, it’s a sign that the pain might be due to an infection. This is something you’ll want to take seriously.

Source: Within Nigeria


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