About 80% of people have at least one episode of low back pain during their lifetime. Factors that increase the risk of developing low back pain include smoking, obesity, older age, physically strenuous work, sedentary work, a stressful job, job dissatisfaction and psychological factors such as anxiety or depression.
A common feature of low back pain is radiculopathy, which occurs when a nerve root is irritated by protruding disc or arthritis of the spine. Sciatica refers to the most common symptom of radiculopathy. It causes a sharp or burning pain that extends down the back or side of the thigh, usually to the foot or ankle. It is associated with tingling and numbness. Occasionally, sciatica may be associated with muscle weakness in the leg or the foot.
Red flag symptoms – you must seek immediate help:
- If you are 70 years or older with new back pain.
- Pain that does not go away, even at night or when lying down.
- Weakness in one or both legs or problems with bowel, bladder, or sexual function.
- If you have back pain accompanied by unexplained fever or weight loss.
- If you have a history of cancer, a weakened immune system, osteoporosis, or have used corticosteroids (eg, prednisone) for a prolonged period of time.
- If the back pain is a result of falling or an accident, especially if you are older than 50 years.
- If pain spreads into the lower leg, particularly if accompanied by weakness of the leg.
- If back pain does not improve within 4 weeks.
If you experience any of these symptoms, stop by any of our clinics. No appointment is necessary at our clinics and you’ll only wait minutes to be seen. We are open on weekends as well. You can call ahead at (855) 9 FOR DOC and let us know you’re on the way or you can check in online.