How to tell if your lower back pain is serious?

There are many causes of lower back pain.

Serious lower back pain would require a visit to a doctor or a specialist.

But how will you know if your symptoms are severe enough to warrant medical intervention?

what-is-lower-back-pain

Non-serious pain: Sprains and Strains

The first thing you need to know is that the type or level of pain (sharp and intermittent or achy and constant) is not necessarily a good indicator of a serious problem.

Strains and sprains can feel unbearable, but the pain typically subsides within days (and disappears within weeks) and can be relieved with rest and other forms of self-care.

Serious pain

Time is usually the stronger indicator of a serious cause of lower back pain.

If your lower back pain has not subsided at all within 2 weeks and has remained the same or become worse, you should visit a medical doctor.

Some people may decide to treat serious lower back pain with self-care or alternative medicines even after the pain has persisted for several weeks. However, this can risk making the symptoms worse. Long-term pain can cause you to:

  • Reduce your normal activities
  • Change your posture
  • Reduce the quality or quantity of sleep
  • Further injure yourself
  • Reduce your appetite

A doctor can provide you with an accurate assessment and recommend a rehabilitation and treatment plan.

Medical Emergencies

If your lower back pain is accompanied by more severe symptoms, it may require immediate medical attention. The list of emergency-level symptoms is not exhaustive and can include:

  • Numbness around the groin or buttocks
  • Pain that radiates from the lower back to the buttocks or legs
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Inflammation along the spine or around the hips
  • Bowel or bladder problems

Self-care First

The vast majority of cases of lower back pain fall under non-serious pain, so try self-care and rest first. The first things you should try are:

  • Bed rest
  • Change or avoid aggravating activities
  • Correct your own posture
  • Reduce intake of inflammatory foods

You can also try exercises and stretches that promote rehabilitation of the back and supporting muscles.

  • Stretching the lower back, buttocks, hips and legs
  • Strengthening abdominal, hip and gluteus muscles
  • Low-impact cardio to increase blood flow and support healing process
  • Pilates and yoga for overall strength and mobility

If you have any questions about rehabilitation for lower back pain, do drop us a line. Contact us for Physiotherapist advice & Pilates for your overall strength and mobility.

Recommended read: Simple guide to learn everything about lower back pain.

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Physiotherapist & Pilates Instructor

Jun Xian work with clients on pain management, regain and progress them to higher fitness level with combination of Physiotherapy and Pilates.

He love sharing his knowledge around topics of lower back pain, hip and knee problem.

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Lower your risk of injury trying higher intensity training, build foundation strength and strong core control. Our Physiotherapist & Pilates Instructor are ready to bring you from rehab to fitness, with aim to prevent you falling from fitness back to rehab.