; charset=UTF-8" /> When Is Back Pain Serious? | Treatment | Peak Performancenews

Due to hurricane damage, the Havelock location is closed until further notice. Havelock therapists Hannah Zhang, Sarah Hall and Judy Hickes are available to see patients at the New Bern location. Please call the New Bern location at (252) 636-9800 to discuss your care.

When back pain is serious and needs treatment

when is back pain serious

Most people are familiar with an occasional sore or tight-feeling back. This might occur after a long day of hard work or if you’ve been sitting at a desk for hours on end. In these circumstances, back pain usually goes away after a little bit of rest and home treatment.

However, some types of back pain cause more intense pain than usual or linger for weeks, months or even years. In these circumstances, you may have back pain that is serious and needs treatment.

What is serious back pain?

When we describe back pain as serious, it’s almost never in a life-threatening sense. Rarely does back pain exist as a symptom of a life-threatening condition. When we describe back pain as serious, we refer to back pain that hurts so badly that it keeps you from living a normal daily life, limiting activities like:

  • Picking up objects off the floor
  • Bending or twisting your back
  • Changing clothes
  • Taking a shower
  • Playing with your children or grandchildren
  • Enjoying your favorite sports

In the rare circumstances that back pain does represent a potential life-threatening condition, it’s characterized by these factors:

  • Physical trauma prior to sudden pain — A traumatic impact, such as in a car accident or from falling off a ladder, can cause severe injury to the spine. These injuries should be examined and treated by a medical professional immediately to help prevent permanent disability and other issues related to spinal injuries.
  • An unresponsive fever — If you’ve ever had the seasonal flu, you know a little back soreness is a normal symptom. However, if you have a persistent fever and back pain that don’t appear to be the symptoms of the flu, you could have an infection in your spine.

What causes “normal” serious back pain?

Since serious back pain is usually not life-threatening, you may be wondering what normally causes it. Conditions that frequently cause serious back pain include:

  • Strains — Strains are muscle injuries related to the stretching or tearing of the muscles. A strain in your back can be painful and also cause the spine to take on additional strain in supporting your back, which can add to the pain.
  • Herniated discs — The vertebrae in your spine are separated by discs that protect them from force from an impact and from friction. A disc is considered to be herniated when its outer shell bursts, causing its inner fluid to rush out and fill up the space surrounding your spinal cord. This puts painful pressure on the nerves in your spinal cord.
  • Arthritis — Arthritis can cause the cartilage in your spine to wear down, which leads to an increase of friction and pain in the spine when bending or twisting your back.
  • Spinal stenosis — Spinal stenosis causes the spinal column to grow narrower, which puts painful pressure on the nerves running through the spinal cord. 

Visit Peak Performance Sports & Physical Therapy for back pain treatment

Do you have back pain that you would consider to be serious? If you’re tired of your back pain preventing you from enjoying your life, it’s time to talk to a professional about your treatment options. At Peak Performance, our physical therapists provide personalized treatments that help you reduce and prevent back pain. Contact our team today for more information about serious back pain or to schedule an initial appointment.