8 signs your back pain is actually an emergency
A few things to consider before you pop an aspirin and tell yourself it’s nothing.
You recently injured your back
This one’s obvious: whenever you directly injure your back – say you fall, get in a car accident or something hits you on the back – you’ll want to see a professional. “You very well could have a spinal injury,” says Dr Troy Madison, an emergency room physician on the podcast ER or Not. “That’s a very serious thing.” Madison recommends going to the ER. There, you’ll probably need an X-Ray or CT scan to assess the injury.
Check out these five simple strategies to prevent and ease back pain.
You’re losing weight
Rapid, unexplained weight loss is never a good sign. And when it’s accompanied by back pain, it could be a sign of a tumour in the spine. “A tumour can weaken vertebra, leading to fracture and pain, and it can also compress the spinal cord or its branches, leading to weakness, incontinence, and many other problems,” write Drs Christopher Kelly and Marc Eisenberg in their book Am I Dying?!. If you have a known history of cancer or are a frequent smoker, get an evaluation ASAP. Some tumours start in the spine, but more often they spread there from another location, such as the lung, breast, kidney, and prostate – which makes getting treatment fast even more crucial.
For other more obvious signs of cancer, if you have this mark on your nail, you should get checked immediately.