Back pain is one of the most common aches and pains experienced in modern society. Often caused by a pulled or weak muscle, back pain typically goes away with a few stretches and some rest.
But sometimes, back pain can be an indication of a much rarer and more serious condition. The back pain symptoms below should be taken seriously and discussed with a medical professional as soon as possible.
Common Causes of Back Pain
Back pain is a generalized condition with many possible causes. Acute pain is usually caused by a specific trigger, often injury or strain. Chronic pain, which lasts longer than 3-6 months, is much less common.
According to the Mayo Clinic, causes of back pain include (1):
- Muscle or ligament strain: Repeated heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement may strain back muscles and spinal ligaments. If your muscles are weak, straining them regularly can cause painful muscle spasms.
- Bulging or ruptured disks: Spinal disks act as cushions between the bones (vertebrae) in your spine. The inside of these disks is soft and can bulge or rupture during injury. This, in turn, may apply pressure to a spinal nerve. Oddly enough, it’s possible for this to occur without you experiencing back pain. An x-ray is all you need to diagnose the condition.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis can affect any bone in your body, even the spine and pelvic bone. This causes pain in the lower back.
- Skeletal irregularities: Scoliosis, a condition causing spinal curvature, is a possible cause of chronic back pain. Scoliosis is treated by wearing a specialized back brace and may require corrective surgery.
Chronic back pain can also be the symptom of a dangerous or even fatal disease.
6 Back Pain Symptoms that Aren’t Caused by Sore Muscles
These back pain symptoms aren’t as straightforward as a muscle knot and should be taken seriously. Don’t be afraid to call the hospital or your family clinic for an in-depth examination if experience any of the symptoms below.
1. Losing Control of Your Bowels and Bladder
The bladder is located in the lower abdomen, so it can be affected by nerve disorders such as cauda equina syndrome.
Cauda equina syndrome is an emergency medical condition that calls for urgent surgical intervention, often within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. Thankfully, this rare disorder only affects about 1 in 33, 00 people.
“Cauda equina syndrome (CES) is a rare but serious condition that describes extreme pressure and swelling of the nerves at the end of the spinal cord….The cauda equina is responsible for sensory and motor innervation to the pelvis and lower limbs, as well as bowel and bladder function. If the cauda equina is damaged by inflammation or compression in the low back, symptoms may be severe and may develop quickly,” writes Spine-Health (2).
These are the most common causes of cauda equina syndrome include (3):
- A herniation (bulging) of a spinal disk in the lumbar area that presses on the nerves (the most common cause).
- Narrowing of the spinal canal (stenosis).
- A spinal lesion or tumor.
- A spinal infection, inflammation, hemorrhage or fracture.
- A complication from a severe lumbar spine injury such as a car crash, fall or another traumatic injury such as a stabbing.
- A birth defect such as an abnormal connection between blood vessels (arteriovenous malformation).