When you get an ache and pain, could it be possible that a ‘serious’ disorder exists? We term this ‘serious’ because it is typically not managed by your therapist or in primary care and generally requires a referral for further and specific assessment and treatment. Pathologies can often include cancer, inflammatory disorders, fractures, neurological disorders (central nervous system), vascular and visceral disorders.
With spinal pain it is very rare that a serious pathology can exist and can often be excluded with the assessment. So what should we look for? Here are some simple questions to ask yourself, before making this decision.
Did a recent trauma exist, car crash at high speed?
Is there severe pain with only a minor trauma, when there typically should be no pain at all? This should further be checked if the person is over 50 years of age.
Does night pain exist and not relieved with rest?
Have you started developing a fever with the spinal pain?
Is the pain constant and severe and is progressively increasing in intensity?
Do you have a history of cancer, even if this is over 20 years ago?
Does IV drug use occur?
Is there shortness of breath or chest pain especially on the exertion part of the breath?
Have you started developing bowel and bladder problems?
Have you noticed that you have a constant fever, malaise, ill health, no appetite, constantly fatigued and have unexpected weight loss?
Is there altered, muscle, sensory, reflexes, gait patterns that generally doesn’t exist?
Have you developed diplopia, dysarthria, difficultly swallowing, drop attacks, dizziness, nausea, altered balance and co-ordination?
If you feel like you present with any of these please consult your nearest GP or therapist for further evaluation.