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Red Flags of Back Pain


August 7th, 2023

I must admit, 99.9999% of the time back pain is not linked to any serious pathology. Usually its just a traditional form of back pain that can be treated within a few weeks. But in very rare cases it can be something more serious behind the back troubles. So, with that said, today we’re going to go over a few red flags. These red flags are just a few characteristics I get during questioning of my clients to rule out serious pathology. By knowing what these things are we can get help that much faster if there’s a serious problem.

There are a few big “serious” problems I look for when conducting an interview. I like to rule out signs that point to possible fractures, infections, cancer, and so on. Today we’re going to just cover the red flags that are most commonly seen with cancer.

Here is a list of things that can point towards a more serious problem in the case of back pain:

  • Past history of cancer
  • Non-mechanical back pain (cannot be altered by change of position or movement)
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Older than 55 years of age
  • No improvement with conservative treatments (>1 month)
  • Night pain (non-mechanical)

A lot of those factors tied in together can point towards a more serious issue such as cancer. Research shows the strongest factor of them all though as been the past history of cancer. And if a person has a good bit of those above factors its wise to make an appointment with their physician.

I always tell folks that knowledge is power, and that’s very true in the case of more serious cases of back pain. It’s good to know some more information to help in those rare circumstances. But again, I will emphasis that having back pain from Cancer is extremely rare, and not to worry too much if you have back pain.

The smartest move is to just get treatment for the back troubles, and more often than not if the correct conservative approach is given the pain will disappear within weeks. And even better than that, stay away for good!

That’s it for today everyone, remember knowledge is power!

P.S. Have you had back troubles for way too long (a few months or even a few years!)? If so, you’re not alone. In our back-pain practice of Montross we specialize in the treatment of back and sciatic pain. If you’re in a similar boat as mentioned above, then shoot us a call at (804) 493-0002 to set up a free 20-minute Discovery session. We offer a limited amount of these sessions (1-2/wk) due to current demand. During the session I look at the back myself and determine a likely cause of the problem. And even better discuss possible treatment options to get you back to exercise, hanging out with family/friends, and finally off all the medication that you know is bad for your health!

P.P.S No back troubles but looking for a fun way to relax? If this is you then we have the perfect service for you! Try our signature Hot Stone Massage, it’s a fun way to lose the stress, anxiety, loosen up, and improve your health in a fun way.

During the service our massage therapist will use hot stones to loosen up knotted muscle, and pair up the heat treatment from the stones with different types of deep or light touch massage work to loosen the body’s tissues and remove stress.

We currently have a few slots opened in our membership program (3-4). Each member will get a discounted rate on their massages and can opt out of the membership at anytime (no additional fee). Call today at (804) 493-0002 to get your slot while you still can!