As a trusted Decatur chiropractor, Dr. Stephanie O’Brien is no stranger to handling chronic low back pain cases. Some patients had relatively simple common back problems, while others had a few accompanying health concerns like chronic neck pain and muscle spasms. This is not surprising given that low back pain can stem from a plethora of health concerns ranging from everyday wear and tear to sciatic nerve compression. So, we thought of tackling everything you need to know about low back pain, especially the red flags that might indicate you need urgent medical attention.


Potential Non-Emergency Reasons Why Your Lower Back Hurts

The back consists of several muscles, bones, and nerves, and sometimes, these structures can become compromised due to wear and tear, previously sustained injuries, and debilitating inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Sometimes, it can also develop due to repetitive motion injuries, posture problems, and even pregnancy. Let’s help you get acquainted with these different factors so you have a better understanding of how low back pain works.

Posture problems

A vertebral subluxation can affect the integrity of your spinal column. Sadly, it can quickly happen or develop when you have a poor posture or engage in things that force your spinal bones to shift away from the body’s central axis. Unfortunately, this can lead to muscle spasms and nerve compression, especially in the areas around the waist, hips, and even the buttocks and legs.

Repetitive motion injuries

Some employees, like truck drivers, hairdressers, and assembly line workers, can develop repetitive motion injuries. If you happen to be in the same field or have tasks that require repetitive movements, like lifting things from one place to another, it will help to practice safety tips such as the following:

  • Take advantage of anti-inflammatory treatments like paracetamol or even topical analgesics
  • Build your core strength and body flexibility with the help of exercises like shoulder rolls, crunches, planking, and hollow hold
  • Relax the tense or inflamed muscle fibers with the help of cold and hot compress
  • Watch your posture while you move your body, especially when carrying a heavy load

Traumatic spinal injuries

Concussions, whiplash, and other similar traumatic injuries can affect your spinal bones. They can force your bones to slide away from their original position or even fuse with adjacent bones. These can leave the rest of your body parts at risk of nerve compression.


A bulging belly can affect your overall posture and cause your spinal bones to misalign and tug on your muscles and joints. It can also lead to an irritated sciatic nerve and chronic low back pain.

Inflammatory diseases and other back pain-causing conditions

A lot of health conditions can trigger back pain problems. Some of the most notable ones include osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, ankylosing spondylitis, scoliosis, and fibromyalgia. It would help if you worked closely with your doctor, physical therapist, or a Decatur chiropractor. This way, you can manage your risks and find necessary oral medications or specific procedures that can alleviate your pain.


Top 6 Indicators of Back Pain Problems That Require Emergency Care

Now that you’re well acquainted with the usual causes of low back pain, let’s help you pinpoint vital red flags you need to look out for. You must pay close attention to these because they can save you from additional pain and life-threatening complications.

1. Urinary or bowel problems

Being unable to control your bowels and urinary bladder might indicate spinal infection issues and cauda equina syndrome.

2. Paresthesia in the groin

A prickly sensation in this area is a critical indicator of a nerve or spinal problem.

3. Burning or radiating sensation

Burning pain is often a sign of neuropathic pain. It can be your body’s way of telling you that you have a compressed or damaged nerve that needs immediate attention.

4. A sudden sharp pain

Dull aching is a usual sign of muscle strain. On the other hand, sudden bouts of intense and unexplainable stabbing sensations can indicate torn muscle fibers or connective tissues. If you have these symptoms, we recommend calling for help right away.

5. Loss of sensation or muscle weakness in the lower extremities

A lot of things can indicate sudden and unexplainable muscle weakness or numbness. Some of these include spinal stenosis as well as stroke.

6. More than six weeks of persistent back pain

Do you know how long since your back pain problem started? If it has been around for more than six weeks, we suggest working closely with a physician.

Life-threatening Causes of Back Pain

Did you happen to tick two or more of the back pain red flags we enumerated above? If you have, you likely have any of the following life-threatening low-back pain-associated conditions:

  • Malignant tumor growths
  • Intra-abdominal bleeding
  • Vertebral osteomyelitis (Spinal infections)
  • Spinal epidural abscess (SEA)
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Pathologic or traumatic fractures
  • Spinal metastasis with cord compression
  • Herniated disc with spinal cord compression

If you have risk factors for these conditions, like genetic predisposition, we suggest getting screened for them as soon as possible. You can also look out for the symptoms of these health concerns, so you know when to call in a specialist.


Call a Decatur Chiropractor For Non-emergency Low Back Pain Care

We hope our discussion on everything low back pain-related can help you find a suitable source of relief. If you have determined that your back pain doesn’t stem from an emergency health problem, we recommend working with our Decatur chiropractor, Dr. Stephanie O’Brien. This way, you can have your spinal bones checked for vertebral subluxation.

It will also help you learn actionable tips to prevent you from experiencing significant low back pain from poor posture practices and previously sustained spinal injuries. Let’s help you jumpstart your journey towards improved back pain management with the help of careful and precise Specific Chiropractic adjustments. Call us at Chiropractic For Everybody at 404-370-8050.


To schedule a consultation with Dr. O’Brien, call our Decatur office at 404-370-8050. You can also click the button below.

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