5 Signs Your Back Pain Might Signal A More Serious Problem
It could be cauda equina syndrome, a rare disorder—it affects only about 1 in 33,000 people—in which the nerve roots in your lumbar spine become compressed, cutting off all sensation and movement. "I've only seen two patients with back pain who had it in my entire 24-year career, but both needed surgery within the day," says Matt Likins, PT, owner of 1st Choice Physical Therapy in Detroit. If you don't get surgery ASAP, it can lead to paralysis, complete loss of bladder and/or bowel control, and sexual dysfunction.
It's normal to have some aches and creakiness in the AM, but if it lasts longer than 30 minutes and gets worse when you aren't moving, you could have a form of inflammatory arthritis like ankylosing spondylitis, which affects about 1.4% of the population, says Chen. If you don't treat this condition your vertebrae may actually fuse together, making it hard for you to move around. Ankylosing spondylitis also increases your risk of heart disease and stroke, so you really don't want to ignore it. Treatment usually includes over-the-counter or prescription NSAIDs, as well as a "biologic" drugs (like infliximab or etanercept) that work to inhibit inflammation.
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Video: 5 Signs Your Back Pain Might Signal A More Serious Problem
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