The most common back pain symptoms
What Are the Symptoms of Back Pain?
Most people have experienced back pain sometime in their life. The causes of back pain are numerous; some are self-inflicted due to a lifetime of bad habits. Other back pain causes include accidents, muscle strains, and sports injuries. Although the causes may be different, most often they share the same symptoms.
The symptoms for back pain are:
The symptoms for back pain are:
- Persistent aching or stiffness anywhere along your spine, from the base of the neck to the hips.
- Sharp, localized pain in the neck, upper back, or lower back -- especially after lifting heavy objects or engaging in other strenuous activity.
- Chronic ache in the middle or lower back, especially after sitting or standing for extended periods.
- Back pain that radiates from the low back to the buttock, down the back of the thigh, and into the calf and toes.
- Inability to stand straight without having severe muscle spasms in the low back
acute back pain
Almost everyone experiences acute back pain at some point in their life. A trip to the doctor is often an unfortunate result of a spirited soccer match or ambitious afternoon of garage cleaning!
Most sudden attacks of acute back pain are the result of overstretched muscles (strains) or ligaments (sprains). The pain may be most severe immediately after injury, or it may worsen gradually over a few hours. In most instances, back pain as a result of strain or sprain can be resolved following a conservative course of treatment—usually within two to six weeks—provided there are no serious underlying medical conditions. Identifying the cause of the pain, alleviating the pain— either at home or with your physician's help—and avoiding re-injury are key to the healing process
What Caused My Acute Back Pain? Common causes of strains and sprains that can trigger acute back pain include:
- Improper lifting
- Sudden, strenuous physical effort
- Accident, sports injury or fall
- Sleeping position and/or pillow positioning
- Poor sitting or standing posture
- Bending forward too long
- "Hiking" your shoulder to hold the phone receiver to your ear
- Carrying a heavy purse, briefcase or backpack
- Stress and muscle tension
- Acute: lasting less than 3 months. Most people gain relief after 4 to 6 weeks of home treatment.
- Recurrent: a repeat episode of acute symptoms. Most people have at least one episode of recurrent lower back pain.
- Chronic: lasting longer than 3 months.
The term "lower back pain" is used to describe a spectrum of symptoms. Depending on the cause, lower back pain may be dull, burning, or sharp, covering a broad area or confined to a single point. It can worsen gradually or suddenly and may or may not be accompanied by muscle spasms or stiffness.
Leg symptoms can be caused by lower spine problems placing pressure on a nerve to the leg. The symptoms can occur on their own or along with lower back pain. Leg symptoms can include pain, numbness, or tingling, usually below the knee.
Weakness in both legs, along with loss of bladder and/or bowel control, are symptoms of cauda equine syndrome, which requires immediate medical attention.