Back pain, that annoying little thing, or not so little, that affects most people at least once in their lives. For the most part, back pain is just that, annoying, but not serious or life-threatening. Yet, there are cases in which what seems like a harmless backache, can actually be quite alarming.
So, when lower back pain a sign of something more serious?
Cancer. A tumor in, or near, the spinal cord can cause pain that grows. And though not affected by position or activity, can worsen at night or when bearing weight. Usually, cancer is accompanied by other symptoms and not just back pain.
Autoimmune disease. Ankylosing Spondylitis, or AS for short is a chronic medical condition in which the vertebrae gets inflamed. The most common symptoms of AS are intermittent pain flare-ups and stiffness.
Cauda Equina Syndrome. The pinching of the lowest part of the spine caused by a ruptured disc, cancer, an infection or trauma. It can cause a series of side effects, like numbness or dificulties urinating.
Spinal Infection. An infection in or near the spine can begin with pain or tenderness in a well-defined cause, followed by deep and constant pain, sometimes accompanied by fever and a rigid spine.
Spinal cord damage. A fracture, trauma or a progressive disease can all be culprits of spinal cord damage, but if you have an accident with enough force to may have fractured your spine, you should seek immediate medical attention, including an X-ray.
Abdominal aneurysm. The ballooning of a large artery next to the spine can cause a throbbing pain that is in sync with your pulse. Heavier, older people, smokers, and diabetes patients are at higher risk.
If you are experiencing any kind of numbness around the groin or buttocks, bladder failure, or loss of bowel control, do not wait to see if it goes away. See your doctor, discuss your symptoms, as they may be an indicator of something else.