Lower Back Pain - Symptoms
Last Updated on Friday, 05 August 2011 09:18
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Lower Back Pain Symptoms
Lower back pain typcially falls into one of two categories. Sudden onset (acute) and persistent (chronic) back pain. Symptoms are similar and overlap between the two.
Sudden-onset or acute back pain symptoms
Acute lower back pain persists for a few days to a few weeks. Most cases of acute back pain have mechanical origins such as the result of injury to the lower back or a medical condition such as arthritis.
The lower back is very susceptible to injury during sports, sudden jolts caused by car accidents, or other stress on spinal bones and ligaments. Symptoms may vary from a dull ache to a more severe pain, restricting flexibility and range of movement.
Chronic back pain symptoms
Chronic bac pain develops gradually, usually worsens over time, and lasts for over three months. It may be linked to long-term health problems and the exact cause may be difficult to determine.
A range of symptoms may be present in patients with lumbago, depending on the cause.
The pain may begin gradually with an increase in intensity over time, or develop suddenly.
The pain may vary in intensity from a dull ache to a more severe and unbearable pain, sometimes radiating into the buttocks, the back of the thigh, or to the groin.
Lumbago typically worsens on moving, and may result in a spasm of the muscles of the back, thereby altering posture.
Movement may become restricted, with limited flexibility. Low back pain may also be associated with pain, numbness, or tingling of the leg, often extending below the knee. These symptoms are generally a result of nerve compression.
When to see a doctor
You should seek medical attention urgently if you notice any of the following.
Sudden loss of bowel or bladder control
Recent weakness of the legs
New numbness or tingling in the buttocks, genital area, or legs
Moderate to severe pain following an injury to the back
These may indicate spinal cord compression, even in the absence of a history of injury to the back, which requires prompt treatment. If your back pain interferes with your everyday activities, call your doctor. Seek medical advice if you have had mild to moderate low back pain despite two weeks of home treatment.