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Is Your Lower Back Pain a Sign of Something More Serious?

Is your lower back pain a sign of something more serious? Lower back pain is common but how do you know when it warrants a visit to the ER? Use the following guidelines to determine if your lower back pain requires an ER visit.

Are you experiencing lower back pain, stiffness, or discomfort that’s interfering with your daily activities?

If so, you’re not alone. More than 31 million Americans experience lower back pain in their lifetime.  

Lower back pain can develop for a plethora of reasons such as your lifestyle, whether it’s sedentary or active, from a chronic health condition, or injuries as a result of a car accident, work, or a slip and fall.

We underestimate our lifestyle and the amount of stress it can put on our lower back, often leading to severe conditions, posture problems, and in more serious cases, a trip to the ER. Although lower back pain is a very common problem that plagues the majority of adults, it’s important to know when your lower back pain warrants a visit to the emergency room. 

Keep reading to learn the 5 most common signs when you should go to the ER for lower back pain.  

5 Signs Your Lower Back Pain Is an Emergency 

You should immediately seek emergency care if your lower back pain is so severe that you cannot wait for a visit with your primary care physician. However, if you are not certain, medical experts advise you to use the following guidelines to determine if your lower back pain requires an ER visit. 

You should go to the ER immediately if your lower back pain is a result of or accompanied by any of the following conditions:  

  • Any recent injury or trauma

Were you in a recent car accident? Did you slip and fall at work? And are you suffering from lower back pain as a result? Sometimes your back pain just can’t wait and it’s important to seek emergency care if your lower back pain is persistent and continues to get worse over time. Unrelenting lower back pain can be the sign of an underlying spinal injury. Spinal injuries are severe and generally do not go away on their own. If your lower back pain has significantly increased over time, go to the ER to prevent it from increasing any further or becoming permanent.

  • Bladder or bowel incontinence

Many people aren’t aware that lower back pain can cause a loss of bladder or bowel control. If you find yourself unable to control your bowels or bladder, it might be a sign of serious nerve compression, spine infection, or even a tumor. Back pain accompanied by bladder or bowel incontinence typically means that there is an infection or tumor that has developed on the nerve sac of the lower spine, which causes severe weakness in the pelvic area. At the ER, healthcare providers can examine your lower back and run tests to identify any problems or clinical conditions.

  • Fever, nausea, or vomiting

Back pain that is accompanied by a fever, nausea, or vomiting is also a sign that you should immediately seek emergency care. Fevers are a sign of infection and are defined as your body temperature reaching 100.4 or higher. If you’re experiencing lower back pain with a fever, it’s often a warning sign that the two could be linked to a spinal or neurological infection.

  • Numbness

Have you recently lost sensation in your arms, legs, or groin, or are you experiencing muscle weakness? Back pain associated with numbness is also another emergency indicator. Seek immediate medical attention if you’re experiencing neurological dysfunctions like leg weakness or any numbness. Numbness in your lower body is generally an indication of an injury to one or more of your critical nerves or something even worse. If your numbness is not treated, it could lead to further damage of the nerves and even total paralysis.

  • Night pain

Do you have lower back pain that wakes you up in the middle of the night? Are you fine during the day, but as soon as you lay down to go to sleep, your lower back pain starts, making it almost impossible to get a good night’s rest? Any back pain that continues to prevent you from sleeping and consistently wakes you up in the middle of the night can be a sign of a disc generation or a sprain. If you’re experiencing night-time back pain, then seek emergency care right away. 

How Can Trusted ER Help You?

It’s critical to know these signs as your lower back pain may be the sign of a serious underlying condition.

If your lower back pain is more severe than a primary care physician can handle, then be sure to seek emergency care at one of our Trusted ER locations near you. We, at Trusted Medical, are here for you and ready to treat any illness or injury. 

We have 8 locations where we provide the best-in-class healthcare to patients in the most comfortable environment with exceptional care. Our ER offers limited wait times, as each of our patients is roomed and seen by our clinical team within a few minutes, and we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

Trusted ER is “Doing the right thing. Every patient. Every time.”