Back pain and related medical conditions are some of the most common health problems faced by today’s populations. By one estimate, as many as 80 percent of us – that’s four out of five persons – will be forced to deal with back or spinal issues at some point during our lives. Pain symptoms can range from relatively mild to severe and even debilitating. The causes of back conditions vary, from physical injury and arthritis, to osteoporosis, and hereditary or degenerative factors. Though a major source of disability, back conditions, with proper care, often can be successfully treated and prevented from reoccurring.
Symptoms of a medical condition of the back or spine include:
Muscle achiness or tightness
Shooting pains in the back, especially when performing certain motions
Pain radiating into the leg
Loss of flexibility or range of motion
Tingling or numbness in the legs, feet, or toes
In rare cases, back pain may indicate an emergency medical condition. Cauda equina syndrome, a compression of the spinal nerve roots, is marked by severe lower back pain, loss of sensation in the lower body, and bladder or bowel dysfunction. Persons with these symptoms should seek immediate help at an emergency medical facility.