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City Watch: Four Types of Back Pain You Should Never, Ever Ignore

City Watch recently interviewed Neel Anand, MD, medical director of Spine Trauma Surgery at Cedars-Sinai, about four types of back pain you should never ignore.

“Back pain can bring you down for a few days or a week, but generally, low back pain gets better quickly, and you can get on with your life,” Annand told City Watch.

But, Anand cautions, there are a few specific circumstances in which you might want to, well, watch your back, including back pain with loss of bladder control, back pain with fevers, back pain with accompanying leg pain and upper back pin near the neck.

According to Anand, lower back pain with loss of bladder control is a sign to head to the emergency room.

“This means there’s something in the spinal canal, such as a disc herniation or lesion, compressing your nerves to the extent that it’s affected the nerves of the bladder and bowel, creating temporary paralysis,” Anand said. “If this nerve is compressed for too long, it can be difficult for it to recover and function normally again.”

Back pain with accompanying leg pain could be a sign that a nerve, or collection of nerves, is being pinched.

“Radiating pain that can start anywhere from the butt down through the leg, along with numbness, tingling or leg weakness ― such as dragging your foot when you walk or having difficulty lifting it ― is another sign that a nerve or collection of nerves is being pinched,” Anand said. “This can be caused by a bone spur (small projections that develop along bone edges), disc herniation (a problem with a rubber-like disk between the spinal bones) or stenosis (a narrowing of the spinal canal that happens slowly).”

Read more from City Watch, including what to do if you have pain with fevers or upper back pain near the neck.

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: From Superman to Iron Man After Spine Surgery