BACK pain is common and usually isn’t the sign of anything serious, as it tends to improve within a few weeks. But there are some circumstances where your back pain could be something more severe or serious. If you experience back pain along with one of these nine symptoms, you should contact your GP or NHS 111 immediately for medical advice.
Back pain, particularly in the lower back, is common, but other places people experience it include the upper back, and on their left and right hand side.
In the majority of cases, the pain isn’t caused by anything serious and will usually get better over time.
A GP can examine your back and discuss possible treatments.
But there are a number of circumstances where your back pain could be the sign of something more serious, and you should seek immediate medical advice.
The NHS Choices website states you should contact your GP or NHS 111 immediately if you experience back pain and any of the nine symptoms below.
Back pain along with numbness or tingling around your genitals or buttocks could indicate a more severe health problem.
The other eight symptoms include: difficulty peeing, loss of bladder or bowel control, chest pain, a high temperature (fever) of 38C or above, unexplained weight loss, a swelling or a deformity in your back, if it doesn’t improve after resting or is worse at night, and if it started as a serious accident, such as a car accident.
If back pain is your only symptom, the health body recommends staying active, doing back exercises and stretches, and taking painkillers, but other health experts say certain supplements can help.
Nutritionist Dr Josh Axe’s website states turmeric (1,000mg daily) can help aches and pains in this area of the body.
The site says: “Tumeric contains curcmin, which is the active ingredient that has powerful anti-inflammatory abilities, anti-ageing effects and reduces pain.”
Vitamin D, capsaicin, glucosamine and chondroitin have also been either proven or recommended to offer relief.
A deficiency in this vitamin could be responsible for making your pain worse. A study published in Pain Physician in 2013 found severe pain was associated with a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in people with lumbar spinal stenosis, a condition with lower back pain as a symptom.
This has a long history of being used for medicinal purposes. While it comes from food, it is not a nutritional supplement, and instead comes as a cream.
A review published in the Journal of Pain Research in 2011 showed capsaicin had a pain-relieving effect in 38 per cent of study participants with musculoskeletal pain.
The relief was also found to last four to eight weeks.
Glucosamine and chondroitin
These are both compounds that occur naturally in the body. Glucosamine is found in fluid around the joints and chondroitin is found in cartilage surrounding joints, according to the U.S.National Library of Medicine.
Dr David Farahmand, an interventional pain management physician with the Brain and Spine Institute of California in Newport Beach, told Everyday Health that while there are not studies on the effectiveness of glucosamine chondroitin supplements for back pain suffered, there have been studies that show a meaningful impact on chronic knee pain.
Many people use it for other chronic conditions such as low back pain. He said: “In my clinical experience it does help some but not all patients.”
Spending all day in front of a computer can make back pain worse, so knowing how to sit correctly gives you the best chance of avoiding chronic back pain.