Many people come to chiropractors seeking treatment for low back pain. While the pain these patients experience is sometimes nothing more than a mild lower back strain (which requires rest and strengthening to heal — that’s why physical rehab is important), some types of back pain are spinal injury symptoms that should be taken very seriously. Here are some signs that you should seek treatment for back pain as soon as possible:
- Chronic Pain
In general, you should seek treatment for any kind of back pain that lasts longer than three days. If it hasn’t healed on its own by then, it’s likely it never will; a study published in 2003 by the European Spine Journal showed that people who did not seek treatment for their pain were still experiencing it a year later.
- Radiating Pain
Pain that radiates from the spine and down the limbs (either arms or legs) is often a sign of a herniated disc. This means that a disc is protruding out of its protected space between vertebrae and pinching a nerve in the spinal column. The pain is then likely to radiate the length of the nerve.
- Numbness or Tingling
Numbness or pins-and-needles feelings in the extremities can be caused by pressure or damaged nerves in the spine.
People get headaches for more than one reason, so an occasional headache shouldn’t get you worried that you’ve injured your spine (though spinal misalignment might be at play in causing even minor headaches). But a headache can also occur when there is damage to the dura matter, the spinal cord’s covering.
- Loss of Control
Loss of bladder or bowel control, or trouble regulating everyday movements such as walking, are spinal injury symptoms that require immediate attention. When these symptoms come on suddenly, they sometimes (but not always) indicate a life-or-death situation.
Have you gotten spinal injury treatment from a chiropractor or another kind of medical practitioner? Do you have any more spinal injury symptoms to add to this list? Chime in!