Serious causes of back pain are not common
Less than 1% of low back pain is due to more serious causes. Most low back pain clears up with a few days.
Symptoms of serious causes of low back pain:
- Pain that is constant no matter what position you are in, you can’t get any relief.
- Pain that gets worse and worse over days or weeks
- Numbness in both legs at the same time
- Numbness around your bottom
- Incontinence of the bowels or bladder
- Weakness of both legs
- If you have a temperature, fever and feel generally unwell
- Pain in the chest or higher in the back behind the chest
- Back pain after trauma such as a fall from height or road traffic accident
- If you have been on steroid tablets long-term
- If you have a history of cancer
These symptoms may mean there is a more serious cause for your low back pain but they need to be taken in the context of the whole picture of your symptoms. Seek medical advice if you are experiencing these symptoms.
There are many reasons for severe low back pain, if you are concerned you should see your GP, osteopath, physiotherapist or chiropractor all of whom are trained to look for serious causes of low back pain.