Your spine keeps you upright and protects the spinal cord and nerves that send signals from your brain to other parts of your body. It has three major sections: cervical, thoracic, and lumbar, which have different functions. The lowest region, known as the lumbar spine or your lower back, serves as the bearer of the body’s weight. It also allows you to lift and carry heavy objects and bend down. This section of your spine is particularly susceptible to injury and pain.
If you have any pain symptoms in your lumbar spine, seek medical attention for effective relief. Here are general guidelines that can help you determine when you should see a doctor for lumbar spine pain.
Lower back pain may be painful but not dangerous for most people – except for the elderly. Lumbar pain in people over the age of 55 may be caused by a fracture, osteoarthritis, and spinal stenosis. Spinal stenosis, or the narrowing of the spaces in the spine, can cause balance problems and paralysis. Likewise, lumbar spine pain in patients of advanced age may be due to an infection or tumor.
Lumbar spine pain and a fever could be signs of an infection, especially when the pain and fever do not subside with rest. This fever may indicate an infection of the spine, pelvic region, bladder, or kidney.
Swelling and Redness
When your lumbar spine pain is accompanied by swelling and redness in the back, you likely have an injury. However, it can also be due to herniated discs, a spine infection, or a tumor. A spine doctor can identify and diagnose such issues using an MRI or CT scan.
Tingling, Weakness, and Numbness
When your lower back pain is accompanied by a tingling sensation, numbness, and weak legs, it is likely caused by a pinching of the spinal cord. This may be a result of a herniated or ruptured disc in your lumbar area. Unattended, this condition may worsen and lead to bladder or bowel dysfunction.
Bowel or Bladder Incontinence
Bowel or bladder incontinence may result from nerve irritation and compression from a fracture, herniated disc, trauma, or stenosis. This symptom may occur alongside tingling, weakness, and numbness in the legs. Altogether, these signs and symptoms may indicate a condition called cauda equina syndrome.
If your lumbar spine pain repeatedly comes back – regardless of its intensity – it could be a sign of an underlying issue or injury. If you notice pain coming on often in the lumbar spine, see a doctor for a diagnosis.
Trauma and Injury
If your lumbar spine pain is the result of an accident, like a fall or a vehicular accident, seek immediate medical care. The pain may be from a spinal fracture. Trauma may also cause spinal stenosis or herniated discs. These conditions can worsen when left unattended and may cause further damage to your spine.
Spine Care in Maryland
The spine specialists in the Spine Academy of Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland look forward to helping you find relief from lumbar spine pain. We also offer treatment for your cervical and thoracic spine problems.
We have three clinics in Maryland ready to assist you with your spinal care needs. You may reach us at (410) 644-1880 to schedule an appointment with our board-certified spine care providers. You can also request an appointment through our secure online form. Let us give you the optimal care your spine needs!