When Back Pain is a Sign of a Serious Health Problem

One common complaint of drivers is back pain especially after long hours of driving. In my case, every time I have a back pain, it gives me discomfort especially when sleeping at night. But I just don’t give too much attention to it since the pain will just go away after a complete rest.

However, there are back pains that could just be masking a potential serious health condition. You may feel lower left back pain or right side back pain, but in reality, it may already be a symptom of kidney, bladder, gallbladder or pancreatic problem and even cancer.

Sometimes, the organs of the body will send pain signals to different parts of the body, most notably the back in a process called referred pain. This is one of the reasons why some patients would complain about a persistent back pain which in reality is a problem with other organs of the body. Most notably, many patients diagnosed with pancreatic problems first experienced persistent back pain. According to Dr. Steve Pereira who is a consultant gastroenterologist from the Royal Free Hospital in London, it is estimated that up to 30 percent of pancreatitis patients see a general physician about back pain before they were properly diagnosed.

Additionally, back pain could also signal other types of cancers including advanced stage colon, lung and ovarian cancer when the tumors become very large that they start to press the nearby organs or nerves.

But how would you know if your back pain is already a symptom of a more serious health condition? I am also curious about the answer to this question.

If your persistent back pain is also accompanied by swelling, fever, heat, redness, neurological problems, or changes in the normal functioning of your body, you should already think about visiting your doctor. A normal back pain normally goes away in an hour or after a couple of days, even if the pain is severe. And the pain normally alleviates with massage, rest, medication and exercise. So if you are still feeling the pain for several weeks despite different treatments, it may already be a symptom of a serious health problem.

Moreover, there are other guidelines on when to see your doctor for back pain:

  • Back pain that you feel after a trauma or as a result of an accident such as falling from a ladder
  • Back pain that remains constant or becoming worse
  • Back pain that goes on for more than one month
  • Back pain that becomes worse at night
  • Back pain accompanied by abdominal pain
  • Back pain accompanied by altered sensation or numbness in the groin area, upper thigh, genital or buttocks
  • Back pain associated with neurological problems that include tingling in the legs or arms and weakness
  • Back pain that is disabling bodily movement

Many people including myself experience back problems from time to time. But we must realize that back pain may also be a referred pain in your body. It could be something serious and you should know when to see your doctor about it.