I’m a doctor and here’s the 10 red flag back pains you must never ignore

BACK pain is a common ailment that many people are likely to suffer.

Poor posture and uncomfortable work stations can all contribute to the problem and while most of the time it's nothing to worry about, one doctor has revealed the red flags you must never ignore.

Physiotherapist and advisor to Deep Heat, Sammy Margo said that back pain is now the single biggest cause of disability in the UK and highlighted that over a third of people don't know the cause of their back pain.

Data shows that 29 per cent of people believe it's down to poor posture, with 21 per cent saying they think it's down to a pulled muscle.

It also found that 17 per cent of people put their back pain down to a sprain or strain.

But if you're one of the people who don't know the cause of your back pain, one doctor has revealed the red flags you must watch out for.

Posting to TikTok Dr Mohan Sekeram said that the first thing to look out for is unexplained weight loss.

If you have unexplained weight loss with back pain then you should see your doctor.

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Unexplained weight loss can be down to many things but you should see your GP to rule out infections and possible tumours.

Dr Merton explained that the other red flags include loss in muscle power, weakness in limbs and progressive neurological weakness.

He also highlighted issues with urinating or passing stools, such as incontinence or retention.

Dr Merton also said other signs to be concerned about would be bowel or bladder dysfunction.

If your back pain is paired with a loss of control over your bowels or urination, then you need to seek help.

These are symptoms of cauda equina syndrome, which is a condition where the nerves in the lower spine have become paralysed.

The 10 back pain red flags you need to know

Here’s a list of the top 10 symptoms associated with back pain that you need to know

  1. Unexplained weight loss
  2. Persistent fever
  3. Bowel dysfunction
  4. Bladder dysfunction
  5. Loss in muscle power
  6. Weakness in limbs
  7. Progressive neurological weakness
  8. History of cancer
  9. Trauma to your back
  10. Prolonged steroid use

This is a rare condition but if it's left untreated it can permanently damage your nerves.

He said, trauma to your back, prolonged steroid usage, a history of cancer and a persistent fever are all red flags.

We all know that a persistent fever is a sign of Covid-19, so it's important that you take a coronavirus test just in case if you have symptoms.

Illnesses like Covid and the flu can leave you with a fever and achy limbs, but if you've already tried over the counter medicines and they haven't worked – then this could be a sign of serious infection.

If you have a history of cancer in your family then it increases your chance of the illness.

Back pain that occurs with cancer usually sits alongside other symptoms and the pain can range in severity.

Official NHS guidance states that it's often not possible to identify the cause of back pain.

"Doctors call this non-specific back pain.

"Sometimes the pain may be from an injury such as a sprain or strain, but often it happens for no apparent reason. It's very rarely caused by anything serious."

The NHS says that occasionally, back pain can be caused by medical conditions such as a slipped disc or sciatica.

If you're concerned about your back pain then you should see your GP.

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