Watch Your Back! Back Injury Warning Signs

back pain treatment options spine surgery back pain prevention Bon Secours Orthopaedic InstituteYour spine, an intricate chain of bones, muscles and ligaments, can lift you, support you and if injured or damaged, knock you flat.

Back pain is the most common ailment and accounts for the most missed work days (exceeded only by the common cold). Injuries can happen dramatically, on a sports field or in an accident or as innocuous an over-twisting of the spine.

Depending on the severity of the injury, patients may be treated with drugs, exercises, physical therapy, alternative medicines or surgery. Physical therapy exercises and stretches may be recommended to specifically target areas of pain.

While a back injury can happen to anyone, there are some factors that increase your risk:

  • Age
    Aging spines are increasingly susceptible to injury as you age.
  • Pregnancy
    Pregnant women are at increased risk due to the strain of carrying the baby.
  • Family History
    Those with a family history of back pain are much more likely to experience back pain
  • Congenital Disease
  • Degenerative Disease
    Diseases like arthritis or osteoporosis can deteriorate the back.
  • Working Conditions
    A job that requires sitting or standing for long periods without change, heavy lifting, driving extended periods of time, or excessive twisting of the spine can increase your risk of back injury.
  • Being Overweight
  • Poor posture
  • Stress and Depression
  • Chronic Coughing
  • Action/Adrenaline Sports
  • Running
    Jogging on hard surfaces without proper equipment can harm the spine.

Many back injuries are painful but manageable with physical therapy and lifestyle changes. However, if you experience any of the following early warning signs, please call your doctor immediately as they may be indicators of a more serious condition:

  • Difficulty walking or the inability to walk
  • Pain during urination or the inability to urinate
  • Severe back pain
  • Numbness in your lower extremities
  • Fever over 101 degrees
  • Weakness in the legs

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