Lower Back Pain Is More Serious Than You Think!
With our hectic schedules and busy lives, it’s easy to simply IGNORE these messages that our body is trying to tell us that something is wrong. After working with lower back patients for over 15 years, I’ve come to learn that you should not ignore some important warning signs.
I’ve seen some serious back problems in the clinic and most every patient I met would tell you, if they could “Don’t ignore it.”.
Here are some classic warning signs that your lower back pain is more serious than you might think:
1. SITTING BOTHERS IT.
Many serious back problems start this way. It seems harmless enough to not be able to sit very long before the pain forces you to stand up. Recent studies conclude that sitting is the number one worst thing for your back.
The main problem with sitting too much is that it compresses the discs of the spine that act as shock absorbers. Many serious problems occur as discs become too brittle. I’m not trying to scare you (actually I am sort of), it’s just that many back problems begin with difficulty sitting.
WARNING: Don’t sit more than 1 hour at a time without taking at least a 60-second break. Even if you exercise, it doesn’t take away the negative effects sitting has on your body and health.
2. WHEN GETTING OUT OF BED, stiffness.
Many blame “getting old” as the reason for why they are experiencing stiffness/soreness when getting out of bed in the morning. In many cases, it’s not old age. If you are younger than 40, especially.
Some people can lose over an inch in height throughout the day!
Many serious back problems start this way. And when you lie down to sleep, the water fills back up, and the volume refills and it can put pressure on the structures of the back thereby causing discomfort.
RECOMMENDATION: Get an examination by a professional (ie. Physical therapist, etc.) who can determine exactly what’s causing your problem.
3. Difficulty getting in/out of the car.
If this is a regular thing for you than it can indicate a bigger problem.. Sometimes the pain will get better (especially if you are adapting your body to avoid the pain) but if you are experiencing prolonged pain with this activity, you should seek help.
If you recently strained your lower back playing weekend warrior or doing strenuous activities (ie.. sex, golf, etc.), it’s understandable to have some discomfort getting in and out of the car. If it lasts more than 3 days, there could be something more serious going on.
IMPORTANT: Back pain often subsides on it’s own but usually does not mean the root problem is gone. The body has a way of adapting to pain but in response it could result in bone growth (hypertrophy and arthritis) or even worse the soft structures are hardened. The pain might go away, but worse problems later could be imminent.
4. Buttock muscles getting smaller or shrinking.
This is a serious sign. It means the nerves flowing out of your lower back are being constricted. Causing less energy to get to those buttock muscles.
If your jeans are not fitting quite the way they used to (meaning kind of baggy), it could be a red flag there is something going on with your back and it’s affecting the nerves.
Your buttock muscles getting smaller is justified if you simply stopped doing those squats in the gym like you used to or are trying to lose weight. If that’s not the case, it’s a sign.
5. Soreness or pain that lasts more than 3 days.
Occasional soreness is ok. It means you are being active. If you have a PAIN that lasts more than 3 days, especially if it gets worse or doesn’t improve, you should seek help.
In many cases, a problem is most easily “fixable” when caught early on. The longer you wait, the worse it can get.
Taking Tylenol, advil, or other pain numbing drugs can give you a false sense of security into thinking you are okay. This can lead to you doing things you shouldn’t given your condition. Whereby making it worse.
CAUTION: Many small problems become big problems when taking drugs for a prolonged period of time.
6. Going for the “quick fix” remedies can back fire.
Drugs, injections, and pills are indicated in certain acute situations but I see far too many people taking drugs making the root cause of their problem worse.
Many quick fixes are potentially dangerous and temporary to the body. Deaths have been recorded by those regularly taking drugs such as Celebrex, Bextra, Vioxx, and more.
Masking the symptoms can make it easy to accidently do something to further damage injured tissues.
RECOMMENDATION: See a physical therapist to determine what the best solution is for you.
7. Pain and/or Numbness in the saddle region.
This is a serious sign. Call a doctor or physical therapist immediately.
8. Loss of sensation or power in the lower feet or legs.
This is a serious sign.Call a doctor or physical therapist immediately.
I hope this guide helps you on your road to stopping lower back pain.
Spectrum Spine & Sport Physical Therapy specializes in lower back pain!
We are the premiere physical therapy in Gilbert, AZ. We are recommended by top physicians in the East Valley. Call us today to see how we can help you! (480) 963-2400
If we are too far from you, you can also search a directory of physical therapists specializing in lower back pain.